The Coast News Group
Cat owner Jessica was able to keep her beloved Itzy, pictured, and Ash thanks to the San Diego Humane Society’s Safety Net Foster Program, which kept her pets safe while she got back on her feet. Courtesy photo
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Supporting both ends of the leash

The only thing more devastating to Jessica than losing her housing was the thought of giving up Ash and Itzy, her two most treasured companions. Without a place to live, she thought she would have no choice but to surrender her cats — a heartbreaking prospect.

Thankfully, Jessica contacted San Diego Humane Society. The nonprofit organization was able to enroll her beloved pets in its Safety Net Foster Program while Jessica worked to get back on her feet. After spending three months with temporary foster families, Ash and Itzy were reunited with their guardian and ready for a fresh start in their family’s new home.

Although Jessica’s story had a happy ending, many other community members have found themselves in similar situations with nowhere to turn — and often feeling as though the only option is to relinquish their animal to a shelter. But San Diego Humane Society is working to change that. Every day, across all of its campuses, they see pet families in need of assistance, and their goal is to help. 

San Diego Humane Society knows that animals are happiest in homes, and one of the best ways to prevent overcrowding in shelters is to provide resources to pet families who love their animals but may have limited means to afford the rising costs of pet care. They offer a variety of services to support pets and the people who love them, from help with pet food and supplies, temporary fostering during times of crisis, and access to affordable veterinary care.

The Community Pet Pantry program at their El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego campuses allows pet guardians to pick up food, cat litter, flea medication and other essential supplies free of charge.

Their Community Veterinary Program is an all-encompassing effort to make veterinary care more accessible to pet families in need. Through this program, they host an on-site clinic at their San Diego Campus, as well as mobile clinics that take veterinary services into the neighborhoods that need them most. They also offer vaccine and microchip clinics at their shelter campuses and spay/neuter assistance. These services are vital to keeping pets healthy and serving under-resourced communities.

And because behavioral challenges are among the most common reasons they see animals surrendered to their shelters, they offer the community a wide range of behavior and training resources. In addition to a free Behavior Helpline, they offer an online resources library and dozens of affordable live and on-demand training classes.

San Diego Humane Society is proud of its work to keep pet families together, but they also recognize that sometimes surrendering an animal is the only option. This is usually an incredibly difficult decision, and they are there to help in those situations, too. 

They believe that creating a more humane world means extending compassion to both ends of the leash, and through their variety of services, they are working to do just that. Learn more at 

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