Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Support both ends of the leash

Dr. Gary Weitzman

Special to the Village News

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 enrolled her beloved pets in the 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 at San Diego Humane Society, they are working to change it. Every day, across all its campuses, pet families are in need of assistance, and the society's goal is to help.

At San Diego Humane Society, they know 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. The society offers 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 our 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.

The Community Veterinary Program is an all-encompassing effort to make veterinary care more accessible to pet families in need. Through this program, the society hosts an on-site clinic at the San Diego Campus, as well as mobile clinics that take veterinary services into the neighborhoods that need them most. It also offers vaccine and microchip clinics at the 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 the society sees animals surrendered to the shelters, it offers the community a wide range of behavior and training resources. In addition to a free Behavior Helpline, the society offers an online resources library and dozens of affordable live and on-demand training classes.

Learn more at

Dr. Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA, is an author, veterinarian and passionate animal welfare advocate. He has served as president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society since 2012.


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