Skulldoggery (and Fun with our Familiars) • Long Beach Post


If I don’t squeeze in something for Halloween now, I never will. I need a little Samhain sport, as we all do, as a break from the heavy text I last posted and the following one about declawing, the nth-degree manicure. In the Pet Projects section are events taking place in our town, there are three ghostly gatos who need a home (kind of negative doppelgangers to the creature above, who’s actually my friend Heather’s cat, Guinness, who is stout indeed), and some tips for a safe Halloween for your pet:

  • Candy is not dandy for pets. When the kids bring the bags home (or when you give your own goodies out), keep them out of your pet’s paws. Dogs can become horribly ill from chocolate, and artificial sweetener can be toxic as well. If your cat or dog ingests something bad for him or her, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, (888) 426-4435 or our own pet emergency clinic, Long Beach Animal Emergency, 4720 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, (562) 735-5200.
  • Keep anything that your cat or dog likes to chew on—decorations, those little wiry things that they put on the little ghoul figures, spider webs, and especially electric cords—out of their way. Shock value is for late-night horror flicks, not your pets.
  • Similarly, use a flashlight in the jack-o’-lantern instead of a candle. Frankly, unless you’re near the pumpkin at all times, that’s a good idea whether you have pets or don’t.
  • Costumes are cute, but if your dog doesn’t want to wear one, respect his or her wishes. Cats? Many of them will teach you a lesson you’ll never forget if you try to dress them up. Now and then there’s some odd feline who doesn’t mind, but it’s rare. I remember feeling sorry for screeching toddlers at Christmas whose parents were insisting that they sit on Santa’s lap—they were getting a photo even if the kid turned blue with terror at this weird dude in bright red. Also, if you decide to dye the fur, use food coloring. Please, no ink pens of any sort.
  • If your pet does wear a costume, make sure that nothing impedes his or her vision, breathing or free movement and that there’s nothing toxic to chew.
  • Most importantly, all the doorbell ringing, knocking and opening of doors could cause your pet to hide, become aggressive or, worst case, beat it out the door. Confine your pet to a safe place, provide toys, food, water and a place to relieve himself. If, Bastet forbid, an escape is made, you have, it is hoped, furnished your pet with an ID tag and a microchip.
  • And keep your cat indoors. It’s uncertain how frequently this happens, but cats, especially black cats, can be victims of what are gently called pranks. (For more about this, check out “Black Cat: Devil or Angel?” that I wrote a couple of years ago.) And leave your dog home during trick-or-treating unless you’re sure that you can safely watch both him or her and the kids. Visit “PetsGuide” for more hints for your pets, and thanks to them for suggesting these.)

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place your sight can knock on, echoing; but here within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze will be absorbed and utterly disappear.

~ “Black Cat,” Rainer Maria Rilke

Virtually Pets


Duke and Duchess

Baron, Duke and Duchess

Here’s the ghostly trio I just told you about. This started out with one starkly white, beautiful cat who was picked up six weeks ago near the waterfront by a kindly soul, who subsequently plastered the East Division Bluff Park and Belmont-everything with “Is This Your Cat?” photos. They came to the attention of Long Beach Spay and Neuter (LBSN). Recognizing the cat as not only a white Norwegian Forest cat but also as a sibling of a couple of others, they went after the second cat and brought them home for treatment, care, kindness, and they hoped, potential adoption. They were fittingly named Duke and Duchess (see bottom photo).

The fellow in the first photo fell into the water when a kind person attempted rescue, and he was believed to have drowned. But cats can swim (don’t try it with yours), and he was spotted last week. He was rescued in a drop trap after four long days of trying

“He was skinny, dirty and had a nasty bite to his tail,” said LBSN rescuer Joanne Kwast. “We immediately took him to the vet where he had blood work, dental work and the abscess lanced on his tail.” They named him Baron, of course.

“Baron is rather timid but is enjoying having a soft place to rest,” Kwast said. “As you can, see he is gorgeous—has one green and one blue eye—and he is a gentle soul. He will blossom when he realizes he is safe and he will never be dumped again. He has been through a lot. Poor, poor cat. He deserves a second chance.”

If you want your own royal family, e-mail [email protected].

Pet Projects

Saturday, Oct. 19, spcaLA October Mobile Adoption, PetSmart, getLong Beach Towne Center, 7631 Carson Blvd., Long Beach, 10AM–3PM

Can’t make it to an spcaLA Pet Adoption Center? We’ll come to you! Meet our adorable adoptables at the Town Center PetSmart!

Fix Long Beach

Fix Long Beach Free Spay/Neuter Clinic, sponsored by Friends of Long Beach Animals, Saturday, Oct. 26, 1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach, 7AM–approximately 3:30PM

We’re at our tenth clinic, and we seem to be making headway, with over 300 pets spayed or neutered and an exponentially (gad, I love that word) number pets not being born—animals who’ll wind up dumped, mistreated and/or euthanized. The clinic’s appointment list is filled for this session, but there is a waiting list at 7AM. No appointments are necessary for low-cost inoculations for dogs and cats, microchipping, deworming and defleaing meds, and nail trimming.

“The demand is so high that we can’t keep up!” founder Claudia Hoffman proclaimed in a Facebook post—and how encouraging is that?

These mobile veterinary clinics can cost up to $3,500, and donations are needed and appreciated. To donate, visit Fix Long Beach’s Facebook page or their website.

Saturday, Oct. 26, spcaLA’s Sixth Annual Howl-o-ween Spooktacular, spcaLA Marketplace at the Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, 1–3PM

Join the fun! Win prizes for the best, scariest, funniest and best homemade pet costumes. Pets will have their own trick-or-treat as well as bobbing for “apples” and hide-a-treat games (a pet’s answer to geocaching!). There will be free agility play with equipment like jumps, tunnels and the A-frames and, of course, vendors, giveaways and prize drawings.

Sunday, Oct. 27, Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade and Fair, Marina Vista Park, 5335 Eliot St. (by E. Colorado Street and Santiago Avenue), 12:30–4:30PM

After your pet has recovered from all the partying on Saturday, bring him or her to the world’s largest Halloween event for pets, with an expected attendance of over 500 pets and even more gawkers. Be your buddy a zombie, a political figure or a transspecies dresser, he or she is eligible for great prizes and a bagful of fun! There will be vendors, games, awards for best costumes for humans and pets and for floats, and a bulldog-kissing booth. Best of all, funds from the event go to spay/neuter programs, adoption/rescue groups, Operation Santa Paws and other Long Beach service projects. Registration is $10 per pet ($35 for VIP, which gives you and your pet placement in the parade’s forefront. Halloween will be here before you can say “Boo,” so click here to register your pet.

…and if you like Dr. Doolittle and how he talks to the animals, join Friends of Long Beach Animals at the Howl’oween parade!

Sunday, Nov. 10, Pet Foster Class, P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 East Spring St., Long Beach, CA, 10AM–noon

Help a pet better his or her chance at adoption! SpcaLA is looking for foster parents for pets of all ages and needs. Potential foster parents must fill out and submit an application, available here, prior to attending a foster class. We provide the food, materials and pet—you provide a temporary loving home! For more info, call (323) 730-5300 x300 or e-mail [email protected].

Sunday, Nov. 17, Third Annual Holiday Bone-Anza Event, Presented by Friends of El Dorado Dog Park, Good Neighbor Park, 2800 Studebaker Rd., 10AM–4PM

Join the Friends of El Dorado Dog Park for an afternoon of shopping, eating, music, opportunity drawings and playing in the snow (curb your dog). Click here for links to information and forms about the Draw Your Dog Contest for kids, vendor space and registration. The park is scheduled to open soon, so enjoy this great fund-raiser for it!

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