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Pets for Life

The Pets for Life (PFL) program reaches out to people in underserved communities to extend free pet care resources, services, and information. The PFL model incorporates strategic door-to-door outreach, builds a consistent community presence, and uses an extensive follow-up process to build solid relationships and trust within a segment of the pet-owning population that has largely gone untouched by animal service providers. The HSUS operates direct care PFL programs in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and provides mentorship and training to other organizations who want to incorporate community outreach into their work and create sustainable change.


Pets For Life - Helping People Helping Pets

  • Tools to bring Pets for Life to your community

    The Pets for Life Community Outreach Toolkit is a product of The HSUS' Pets for Life program, supported by PetSmart Charities. This step-by-step manual guides animal care and social welfare advocates through development and implementation of a pioneering community outreach program.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Pets for Life

  • Blog Post

    Reaching outside the shelter walls

    Implementing Pets for Life means taking free medical care, services and information to people and their pets in areas of our community where access to resources are limited due to the systemic challenges of poverty

    While some pets are at shelters for reasons beyond anyone’s control, many have loving homes and their surrender is preventable.

    When I signed the contract as executive director of Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter (PAAS) in Vinita, Oklahoma, my goal was to save thousands of dogs and cats through local adoptions.

    We had a brand new, beautiful facility, and within the first 60 days, we realized we had more than 50 dogs and 50 cats in the shelter and an owner-surrender waiting list of more than 150 dogs and 175 cats.

    The number of adoptions? Four.

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  • Magazine Article

    Walking a mile in the other veterinarian’s shoes

    Public health veterinarian Tamerin Scott, right, a frequent volunteer at the Amanda Foundation’s quarterly Wags for Wellness in Watts clinics in Los Angeles, delivers a pooch into waiting arms.

    Shelter vets and private practitioners can save lives through collaboration

    Ideally, all veterinarians would work in harmony to ensure animals in their communities receive the medical attention they need. Unfortunately, relationships between shelter veterinarians and private practitioners are often marked by misunderstanding or mistrust. The persistent, misguided stereotypes—private vets are greedy, shelter vets provide inferior care—can make cooperation difficult. In Southern California, the veterinary community is trying to improve communication between the two camps—with the goal of greater understanding and partnerships to benefit animals.

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  • Blog Post


    How will you re-evaluate your shelter’s RTO policy to tell a different story?

    I was about 8 years old as I stood with my dad and his friend and toddler-age son. We were watching the Chicago Blackhawks warm up, the players flipping hockey pucks up into the stands. We must have gotten caught up in the excitement, because when my dad’s friend looked down, his son was nowhere to be found.

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  • Blog Post

    Getting it right in L.A.

     Los Angeles residents were not taking advantage of the free spay/neuter certificate program because they didn't know it existed.

    Improvements to city’s low-income spay/neuter program are worth the wait

    I’ve managed the HSUS Pets for Life (PFL) program in East Los Angeles since January 2012, and from April of that year through August 2016 I also served as a volunteer commissioner of the Department of Animal Services for the City of Los Angeles (LA Animal Services). My dual roles gave me the opportunity to shape the policies and protocols that I championed while I served on the commission.

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  • Blog Post

    Creating community connections

    How are you and other animal welfare providers fostering relationships with new organizations?

    After helping to develop the Pets for Life model with The HSUS, Annie Pruitt launched her own Charm City Companions assisting families with pets in Baltimore city.

    In 2008 I was introduced to the world of animal welfare work through my work with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). I learned quickly about the overpopulation of cats and dogs in our country and beyond. While it was unsettling and upsetting to hear the stories and watch the videos, I was greatly inspired by the people I was working with and their selfless acts on behalf of animals. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have worked on numerous projects with The HSUS, but the work that I am most proud of is the work I’ve done with Pets for Life (PFL).

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  • Magazine Article

    Driving change

    In Detroit and underserved neighborhoods around the country, Pets for Life is bridging gaps

    Pet owners in impoverished, isolated communities face hardships many people fail to comprehend. Until the past decade, their challenges have been largely overlooked by the animal welfare movement, but the HSUS Pets for Life (PFL) program has been working to change that. In Detroit, where the staff of All About Animals Rescue bring the PFL approach to underserved neighborhoods, they face some challenges that are unique to the area—and meet clients who embody the Motor City’s great heart.

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