Founded in 1897 as the Riverside Humane Society, Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center has been caring for the community’s animals and their people for over 100 years. Today, the organization is a limited-entry adoption center and clinic that strives to eliminate the suffering of homeless cats and dogs.

Pets that are accepted into the center pass health and behavior evaluations and stay under the organization’s care until they find loving permanent homes no matter how long that takes. Animals at the Pet Adoption Center are evaluated daily to ensure they have proper physical, emotional and mental health. Utilizing this “stress reduction” approach, staff adjust individual care and animals that are not comfortable living onsite stay with foster families in their homes.

Animals that are too young to be adopted also stay with foster families. Currently, the Pet Adoption Center has 150 kittens in its foster program. The organization has seen a 7% increase in intakes and a 17% decrease in adoption in the last year due to the economy, according to the organization’s Executive Director, Carrie Ridgeway. This has coincided with an increase in the number of homeless kittens in Southern California

It is a lot of work bottle-feeding kittens every 2 hours, but it’s a meaningful way to volunteer, Ridgeway said. She was reminded of this recently after taking home some bottle-feeder kittens.

“I hadn’t done it in a long time, and it was really fulfilling,” she said. “Ultimately they were adopted, and it was so cool. I think it’s an incredible experience and people are absolutely saving a life.”

The number of animals MSRPAC can assist is only limited by the number of foster families. Interested foster families can apply through the organization’s website. The Center will reach out when there is an available animal, let volunteers know the duration of the animal’s stay and send them home with all the needed supplies. There is no cost to the volunteer. The organization just asks for their time and to bring their foster animal in for checkups and vaccines.

The organization also has volunteers on site. Currently the program has 300 volunteers who commit to 6 hours a month and is always looking for new ones. Volunteers pay for a t-shirt and name badge, receive training and then get started helping the animals.

Recently, the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center received a grant from the Henry W. Coil and Alice Edna Coil Donor Advised Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization does not receive government funds and depends on grants and donations to serve the community.

“We rely 100% on the goodness of people,” Ridgeway said.  “Anyone can give at any level and make a difference even if it’s just giving $10.”

The community can also help the Pet Adoption Center by participating in Silent Night, a drive to have all animals out of shelters between December 23-26, 2022. Interested community members can sign up in advance and will be matched with an animal to take home over the holidays, bringing them back after. This gives staff a break and the animals the opportunity to share the joy of the season with a family. The event was very successful last year. Ridgeway hopes those who participate may decide to foster, adopt, support and find out more about the work of the Pet Adoption Center.

“We’re not just an animal shelter,” Ridgeway. “We provide programs that teach people like our humane education and kids camp as well as low-income support with surgeries and providing food. We want to do everything we can to help people and animals.”

More information: https://www.petsadoption.com/ or (951) 688-4340

This article originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, November 2022.

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