Interested in adopting a new furry friend? There’s no better place to visit than Rancho Santa Fe’s Helen Woodward Animal Center. More than just a pet adoption facility, the Center puts on weekly events and programs, hosts an annual conference, and offers a variety of quality services – all for the love of animals.
Founded by Helen Whittier Woodward, the Center has been around for over 40 years. Helen was committed to making the world a better place for people and animals. In 1972, she and a group of friends envisioned a facility that would encompass comprehensive animal care and public education programs.
Today, her dream has been fully realized. The facility is located on 12 acres that include the adoption kennels, a therapeutic riding area, an equine hospital and a boarding home. The nationally recognized Center commits itself to the philosophy of “people helping animals and animals helping people.”
Education was an important part of Helen’s vision. Today the Center offers class field trips to the facility, involving hands-on animal encounters and themes such as animal welfare and local wildlife. Classroom outreach is also available to the schools and programs that want the animals to come to them.
The Helen Woodward Center’s influence, however, has extended beyond the borders of the Rancho Santa Fe community. The Center boasts several international programs that are aimed to change the world of animal welfare for the better.
One such program is Remember Me Thursday, held annually and worldwide to raise awareness for orphan pets in need of families. Each year, on the fourth Thursday of September, pet adoption organizations, celebrities and animal lovers unite to increase awareness of the many available healthy, adoptable and loving pets, encouraging adoption and decreasing euthanasia.
The first Remember Me Thursday took place on September 26th, 2013. 139 countries united to support the movement, with over 100,000 individuals around the globe holding candle-lighting ceremonies of their own, spreading the message through social media.
Another international program the Center hosts is the annual Animal Welfare Conference. The next conference is to be held from February 5th to February 7th of next year, with discussions ranging from business practices and fundraising, to adoptions and finding forever homes for beloved pets. Shelter directors, managers volunteers, and care providers are all invited to attend and learn something new to use back at their organizations.
Of course, the Center’s main priority is adoption. The Center has an ever-shifting list of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens available through the San Diego pet adoption program. The website is updated daily.
If you’re an animal lover who already has pets or are unable to currently adopt, the Center has tons of volunteer opportunities in different departments. Volunteers can be as young as 14 years old.
You can also volunteer by becoming a foster parent. Fostering animals provides more room at the Center, allowing the adoptions department to help other shelters by taking in more animals. The Center provides all the supplies – all you need is to provide the love and care that the animals need! See the Helen Woodward Center’s website for more information.