A one-year-old Chihuahua mix was found wandering the streets of Phoenix, Arizona during a warm summer evening. Barely able to see the brown dog in the blowing, sandy wind, the woman swerved as to not hit the small canine standing in the middle of the street. Her old Toyota screeched to a halt almost hitting a pole as the dog just stood staring at the bright headlights. Opening the door, the woman jumped out to see if the small dog was okay. As she approached, the little dog started wagging her tail so hard she almost blew away. The pup then ran right over to her rescuer, jumping into the open car door. Unsure what to do, the woman Googled her local animal control agency, called the emergency number and waited for the truck to arrive.
Within the hour, the pup was at the shelter clinic and had been examined by the veterinary team. She had some scrapes and bruises indicative of a dog living outdoors and was severely underweight. Otherwise, she was in fairly good shape for a homeless dog. She received her intake vaccinations, deworming and was placed in a kennel with a warm blanket and a bowl of food. She sat there waiting for someone to come claim her. No one did. She waited for someone to adopt her, but families walked right past her, adopting other dogs. She sat in a kennel for 20 days.
On the morning of the 21st day, a worker came and put a leash on her neck and walked her towards the door. Some of you might be thinking the worst right now, but actually it was the first day of the rest of her life. Placed in a crate and loaded on a truck, a volunteer drove this young dog five hours across the state border into California. She arrived at her final destination, the Pasadena Humane Society. The staff at the shelter gently unloaded her, set her up in a kennel with a warm blanket, and gave her a name. The stray dog from Arizona was now called Clara.
Clara, along with the 30 other dogs transported from Maricopa County Animal Control to the Pasadena Humane Society that day, are part of the Society’s transfer program. The transfer program is where animals from high intake shelters in California and surrounding states are transferred from one facility to the next in the hopes of finding them homes. Collaboration amongst animal organizations towards a unified goal of pet adoptions has helped thousands of animals like Clara. Although each animal organization is separate with different philosophies and processes, transfer helps us all come together for a common cause of saving lives.
Sometimes just a change of scenery goes a long way to help these animal get adopted. For example, one facility may have 30 brown dogs like Clara. In another facility, there may be none. Much like a store marketing program, analyzing inventory and moving animals from one place to another makes a big difference for their adoption possibilities. And that is exactly what the Humane Society saw with the dogs transferred from Maricopa County that day. Almost all were adopted within two days of being available in Pasadena.
The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA has increased its transfer program throughout the past year. Hundreds of animals that may have never found a home in their original location are now saved because of collaboration. Animals have come in from the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Ventura County, Northern California, Arizona and beyond. Pasadena Humane is proud to be part of a community that is creative and focused on a mission of animal welfare. The organization will continue to work to decrease homeless animals in its community, region and beyond.
As I write this column, Clara is still waiting for her forever home. We are confident she’ll be adopted soon, making room for more homeless dogs in need.
To learn more about the transfer program, to adopt one of the available pets, or to donate to make this program possible, visit www.pasadenahumane.org.