Pasadena is one of Southern California's most storied and historic burgs, no doubt about it. And the city has had the necessary time to develop some charming quirks over the years, including many that have become treasured local fixtures.
It's home to the annual Doo Dah Parade, one of the most outlandish struts in this state or any other. And on New Year's Day some truly whimsical vehicles, all covered in flowers, roll down Colorado Boulevard to the delight of people around the planet.
And over at the Crown City's local Humane Society & SPCA? Why that's where Tina has resided for quite a long stretch.
Tina is not a cuddly pooch nor a purring feline; she's all alligator. She just happens to be an alligator who has called the Raymond Avenue pet shelter home for the better part of two decades.
Pet shelters, of course, don't typically house alligators, but Tina has been a special resident, indeed. But her Humane Society residency is now completed: The 7-footer has a new address as of Wednesday, Aug. 10: the Los Angeles Zoo.
Her story, detailed on the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA web site, intrigues. The American Alligator "was one of the many wild and exotic animals that came to PHS in 1998 when a traveling wildlife education program closed due to permitting issues."
The 100-pound reptile lived in an enclosed pond area on the property, soon becoming a "beloved local icon," per the society. People arriving to adopt a new puppy or cat often knew to make a minute or two to visit the center's most singular tenant.
But Tina's "singular" days are done. She was never meant to live forever and always at Pasadena Humane, and a dream of a roomier habitat is a reality: She's settling in at the LA Zoo, alongside enclosure mate Reggie, another rescue.
"Tina and Reggie will be sharing an enclosure," says the society on Facebook. "Reggie has lived with a female alligator before, and LA Zoo staff will closely monitor and take care of the pair."
"(S)afe placement outside of the shelter may have been difficult to obtain," says the shelter, but that goal is now a happy reality.
As is the fact that the alligator hasn't gone too far. Staffers and volunteers of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, as well as visitors who came to expect a Tina sighting, can now make for the Griffith Park destination to admire the reptile in her more spacious home.
As for finding your next furry friend or lending support to the Pasadena-based animal agency, which marked its first centennial in 2003? Tails are a-waggin' this way.