Above & Beyond

We’re not just animal people, we’re people people.


Community Engagement program at Marin Humane
Pet Care Assistance client, Elizabeth, and her dog, Honey.

From kids to seniors, over the last 30 years, thousands of people in Marin have been touched by our Community Engagement program. And it all started with a bright, sunny-natured girl named Erica Ettinger.

From an early age, Erica recognized the invaluable love, support, and companionship that pets offer, especially to someone who’s ill or isolated. When she visited a convalescent hospital with her dog, Marcy, it made a big impression on her.

When a tragic bicycle accident in September 1987 took her life at age eight, Erica’s family set up a memorial fund to continue her dream of making the world a better place for animals. In 1988, the fund grew enough to allow it to evolve into a successful program.

Today, Community Engagement consists of four programs that strengthen the bond between people and animals and provide healing to those who need it most.

Animal-Assisted Therapy
Marin Humane volunteers and their trained animal ambassadors bring joy to those in senior communities, comfort to patients and families in hospitals and under hospice care, smiles to children in our community facing challenges, and much more.

Humane Education

Humane education is more than just learning about pet care or preventing neglect or abuse. It raises awareness and respect for both animals and people, and it engages kids by empowering them to make their own humane choices.

Pet Care Assistance
Low-income seniors and others in need receive free pet food and veterinary care.

Share a Book
Kids learning to read build confidence and improve literacy skills by reading in a non-judgmental environment to a great audience – dogs!

Community Engagement is also a resource for many other organizations and people. We regularly work with nonprofits, schools, hospitals, and more.

As Erica’s story shows, one person really can make a difference. Today, Marin Humane’s Community Engagement programs continue to thrive through generous donations, grants, and the support of volunteers.

Watch an inspiring video about a young girl who gained confidence reading thanks to the help of some four-legged friends!