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5 Places to Get Your Furry Fix

Maybe you don’t have the bandwidth for full-time pet ownership or your landlord won’t allow a furry friend. Fear not—these organizations will get you up close and personal with dogs, horses, potbellied pigs, and more.



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The San Diego House Rabbit Society | Photo: Jenny Siegwart

The San Diego House Rabbit Society

This nonprofit rescue based in Kearny Mesa is seeking volunteers for clerical work, but if you want one-on-bun time, train with the staff to be a pro-bono groomer. Duties include combing, brushing, cutting nails, and gently cleaning scent glands. They also run Bunny Yoga—the next sessions are July 27 and August 31—a 50-minute vinyasa flow while adoptable bunnies scamper between the mats. Classes are $25, with proceeds benefiting the rescue.

 

PAWS Workshops

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo hosts quarterly events for kids age 7–18, with topics ranging from taking and reading X-rays to understanding the nuances of different species. Their next session ($40) on August 8 is an interactive experience with exotic reptiles, birds, and rodents.

 

Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center

Part of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, the center leads recreational riding lessons for children and adults with special needs to teach verbal communication, core strength, balance, coordination, and socialization. Volunteers can assist in lessons, feed horses, and clean stalls. Those with riding experience can exercise them before lessons. 

 

Grazin Pig Acres

This Ramona animal rescue and sanctuary has horses and one sheep, but the focus is their 95 potbellied and mini pigs, with cheeky names like Mia Hamm and Kevin Bacon. Married owners Martin and Nancy Koontz do the bulk of the maintenance and care, but they need volunteers to help with basic husbandry, like feeding, cleaning, and yes, poop scooping.

 

San Diego Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Reserve

Launched in May 1971, this team of staff and volunteers helps care for animals during wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters before reuniting them with their owners. Training is extensive, spanning over 5,000 hours a year for the whole team, and about 60 members are ready to respond at all times. Past calls of duty saw them rescuing a horse trapped in a pool and a dog stuck down a well; they also evacuated and secured animals during last year’s Lilac Fire.

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