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What Is Pets for Life?

The HSUS's program builds humane communities by helping animals and the people who love them

  • A Pets for Life client and her pooch at a community event in Atlanta. Andres Salazar.

By comprehensively addressing the lack of accessible, affordable pet care in under-served communities, Pets for Life keeps pets in the homes they already have, improving their quality of life and elevating the human-animal bond.

Pets in poverty

Here’s a snapshot of the U.S. in the 21st century: One in six Americans lives in poverty, one in five Americans speak a language other than English at home and 6 out of 10 U.S. households include at least one pet. As our cultural landscape changes, so must our approaches to addressing animal welfare in our communities.

There are tens of millions of people living in poverty with their pets—and our research shows that 87 percent of pets in these communities haven’t been spayed or neutered. To respond effectively to this, we must reach out to people who have the least access to animal wellness information and services. Pets for Life is creating transformational change for dogs and cats by going into these communities and staying there for the long haul, closing the service gap that exists for pets in under-served neighborhoods.

Helping people and pets

Building trustful relationships with people and establishing an ongoing presence in the community is critical to making a real impact. Experience has shown us that when we extend our compassion to human beings as well as animals, we can create long-term and meaningful social change.

Pets for Life embraces the human component of the human-animal equation by approaching people in a respectful way and recognizing that people’s love for their pets transcends socioeconomic circumstances and cultural differences.

Working within communities

Pets for Life conducts in-depth community assessments, provides ongoing neighborhood outreach and offers free services such as dog training, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, pet supplies and general wellness care. We strive for partnerships with animal welfare organizations and other important community leaders and service providers, including faith-based entities, social service programs, health care agencies and local businesses. We also develop tools for and offer training and mentorship to other animal welfare organizations.

We’ve combined the valuable lessons our program staff have learned over time with extensive data collection and innovative strategies for reaching new audiences. We are meeting people where they are instead of waiting for them to come to us—building relationships and giving people and pets life-changing resources.

Want to learn more or help out?

Contact the team » 
Volunteer in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles or Philadelphia »

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