A literary holiday gift for rescuers, volunteers and shelter staff

Please send any Long Beach or Seal Beach pet-related events or projects to [email protected]. Posting subject to approval.

Here’s a holiday gift for rescuers, fosters, shelter workers, vet techs, spay/neuter activists, volunteers, and anyone else who’s spent every penny and ounce of spirit on the never-ceasing effort to get every homeless, dumped, unwanted and abused animal into a loving home, or at least a forever rescue. The gift is a book, Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelt (New York: Minotaur Books, October 2016). Because I can’t afford to give everyone a copy, you’ll be happy to know that you can borrow it absolutely free from the Long Beach Public Library. You can buy it from Amazon as well.

Twelve Dogs is the 15th in Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter mystery series. The books feature a New Jersey lawyer who would fit right in here in Long Beach. He’s a dog lover and often takes the part of pet activist in a few cases: A dog who was ordered euthanized by his owner, who turns out not to be his owner and who’s been murdered; a dog owner charged with murder; a homeless man who was attacked along with his dog and is now accused of murder. All the books give a big part to Carpenter’s golden retriever, Tara—she’s a rescue,of course. Tara blessedly acts like a dog and doesn’t usually fetch clues that solve the crimes—she’s allowed to be the dog that Carpenter needs.

The fictional Tara was named after Rosenfelt and his wife’s beloved retriever. The couple set up a foundation named for Tara, which takes in dogs on their final days in shelters and find them good homes. The Tara Foundation saved a lot of retrievers, some who weren’t retrievers, and quite a few seniors. The Rosenfelts themselves found themselves repeated foster failures. To some of us, this will have a familiar ring, whether dog tags or kitty bells.

Of course, volunteers, shelter staff and pet rescuers are on Rosenfelt’s good list. He also has experienced the crap they go through and put themselves through for animals. In Twelve Dogs, Martha “Pups” Boyer goes through a lot of it herself, spending her time and about $60,000 annually visiting the shelter in Passaic County to rescue dogs.

“Pups’s house rarely has fewer than 25 dogs in it, but it’s clean,” reads a descriptive passage. “It’s an excellent way for these dogs to come into what might otherwise have been a cold and uncaring world. As you might have guessed by now, I am a big fan of Pups. … She does not bullshit. Ever. She says exactly what’s on her mind.” I’m imagining everyone I volunteer with nodding their heads and saying, “Yep, that’s …” and the name of someone who’s spent an entire paycheck on food and vet bills and takes in a desperate case anyway.

The neighbors are also fine with Pups, except for one person who makes an anonymous complaint to the zoning board. Andy represents Pups in court, where, against counsel, she blurts out the name of the person she suspects of complaining. When he’s murdered and Pups is suspected, Carpenter set out to prove her innocent.

A glance at the back flyleaf will tell you that Pups didn’t do it, and that’s not a spoiler. But you’ll enjoy finding out who did do it, how they did it, and why. If you are one of the thankfully many animal heroes in Long Beach or anywhere, your heart will warm and you’ll feel heard. That’s my gift to you, but it was Rosenfelt’s in the first place.


“The animal shelters in Passaic County leave quite a bit to be desired. They’re not as bad as shelters in some areas of the country, but that’s pretty faint praise. They’re overcrowded, and animals that aren’t adopted can get put down …

“That’s where Pups steps in. She takes the puppies from the shelter, along with their mothers, and she nurses and cares for them until they’re ready to be placed in homes. For a long time now, she has been so well known that people often bring the puppies directly to her. And if instead they bring the puppies to the shelter, the manager … gently advises them to take the puppies to Pups. He knows that puppies have a much better chance that way.” (Andy Carpenter in The Twelve Dogs of Christmas)

Our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) isn’t perfect, either. Few are. It gets overcrowded because of strays; abandoned cats, dogs and rabbits; dumped companion animals; and myriad other human-caused problems. But the saving grace is a hardworking staff and volunteer base, all overworked and all doing their best to make the pets there adoptable and letting rescuers know about difficult cases.

The holiday season, said Andy Carpenter, is a particularly busy time at the Tara Foundation because people want to get a dog as a Christmas present. “We are not enamored of this type of adoption because dogs are not ties or sweaters or tennis racquets,” he said.

Sure, but it’s guaranteed that a pet will be on someone’s Christmas list. So, last week, Pet Projects featured a gift certificate to pay the adoption fee for a rescue or a shelter pet, and LBACS had a voucher worth $50 toward an adoption fee for a friend or family member’s pet adoption at their facility. You, of course, would go with the person to find the new friend, and they’ll be gifts to each other.

Two of LBACS’s shelter staff, Jill and Mike, produced these living greeting cards with adoptable pets available at LBACS, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors) and at Pet Food Express’s Cat Adoption Center, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach.

Nothing like curling up with a furry buddy and a good book.

Do you love super fluffy cats as much as we do? If that's the case, meet Lew Lew #A504055. This kind hearted furball has nothing but love to give. Bring him home for the holidays. He's available from our partner Pet Food Express. 🐾😍 #LBadoptapetLew Lew's Info: https://bit.ly/2UF09dI

Posted by City of Long Beach Animal Care Services on Friday, December 14, 2018

Do you love super-fluffy cats? If you do, here’s the answer to Little Lulu: It’s Big Lew Lew (ID#A504055), about 5 years old. This kindhearted bundle of fur has nothing but love to give. Bring him home for the holidays—he’s available from our partner, Pet Food Express.

Flower #A613542 has nothing but love 😍 to give this holiday season. This sweet girl is looking for her forever home. She's adoptable from our shelter. 🐾🐶 #LBadoptapetFlower's info: http://petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=LONG.A613542

Posted by City of Long Beach Animal Care Services on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Flower (#A613542) has a few gifts for a new friend: a waggy tail, a playful nature, a wet tongue and a loving spirit. Watch her and volunteer Ricky having (and tossing) a ball! She’s a pit bull terrier, about 5 years old. She’s waiting at LBACS.

Hoppy Holidays from Bunny Barn Park. Interested in adopting a rabbit? We have them in all colors, shapes and sizes. Adopt one today. 🐰😍 #LBadoptapet

Posted by City of Long Beach Animal Care Services on Saturday, December 15, 2018

Oh, Rudolph the gray-nose American shorthair, with his fluffy best bud Frosty … LBACS’s Bunny Barn has rabbits of more colors and types than ornaments on a tree. Meet them all! Frosty’s ID is #A618604, and Rudolph’s is # A618605. The Bunny Barn is on LBACS’s Krampus—uh, campus.

Things to do, pets to support

Haute Dogs’ Operation Santa Paws: Saturday, Dec. 22, 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., Long Beach Animal Care Services, 3950 Cherry Ave, Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

Santa Paws himself (you may know him as Justin Rudd) and his helpers (you) will bring toys and goodies to all the good cats, dogs and bunnies and cleaning supplies for the staff in three shelters: Long Beach Animal Care Services, spcaLA, Seal Beach Animal Care Center and Orange County Animal Care. (See the wish list here.) Participants will meet at LBACS’s parking lot, pass out items at the Long Beach locations, and either caravan to the other shelters or just do Long Beach, if preferred. If you or a business or organization you’re connected with wants to start an independent collection, download a poster here and follow the instructions on the Santa Paws website. All information is readily available there. Happy holidays to all critters and those of us who love them!

CAT CLINIC! Fix Long Beach Free Spay/Neuter Clinic, sponsored by Friends of Long Beach Animals (FOLBA): Saturday, Feb. 23, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Cherry Park, 1901 E. 45th St., Long Beach, free spay/neuter for qualifying Long Beach residents; free microchips; shots, flea-med doses, dewormers and nail trimmings $10 each.

It’s the law to fix your pets in Long Beach and many Southern California cities. To add to this, cats can go into heat at 6 months old and have three litters a year, with an average of four kittens per litter. And those kittens have kittens. Who wants to do the math? Fix your cat instead! To provide this costly service to our Long Beach residents who otherwise couldn’t afford it, Fix Long Beach offers this service free of charge. Make an appointment through IM or email at [email protected]; include (1) your name, (2) address, (3) phone number, (4) pet’s name, (5) age, (6) sex, (7) breed, and (8) weight. Standby available at 8:30 a.m. Vouchers are provided through Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) Spay/Neuter Assistance Voucher Program for pets without appointments or dogs too large to fit on the vehicle—they may be used at specified veterinary clinics. For both spay/neuter and vaccinations, all dogs must be on sturdy leashes and all cats must be in dedicated carriers


The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. If you’re a Long Beach-area rescue and don’t see your adoption event listed here, please email [email protected].

Petco Animal Supplies, Marina Shores, 6500 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

Unleashed by Petco, 600 Redondo Ave.

PetSmart, Long Beach Exchange, 3871 N Lakewood Blvd., Long Beach

PetSmart Signal Hill, 2550 Cherry Ave., Signal Hill

PetSmart Cerritos, 12741 Towne Center Drive, Cerritos

PetSmart Compton, 1775 South Alameda St., Compton

PetSmart Garden Grove, 9835 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove

PetSmart Seal Beach, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach.

Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach:

 Gelson’s Market, 6255 E. Second St.

Chase Bank, 5200 E. Second St., Long Beach

Long Beach Shelter forgives license penalties: through Dec. 31

Merry Christmas! Long Beach Animal Care Services is forgiving all past license penalties and fines for Long Beach residents. If your pet’s license has lapsed, bring it, visit: 7700 E. Spring St. Long Beach, CA 90815, call: 562-570-PETS or online at: www.longbeach.gov/acs

Long Beach Little Paws Project needs donations

The most vulnerable animals in the public shelter system are kittens under two pounds. These fragile babies, especially those not yet eating on their own, are typically euthanized on intake at most public shelters. In an effort to change the fate of far too many kittens, two non-profit rescue organizations, The Little Lion Foundation and Helen Sanders CatPAWS, have launched a joint effort to create and operate a kitten nursery. This nursery will give kittens too young to be adopted or those who need medical care a safe place to heal and grow. Newborn kittens are fragile and vulnerable. You can tell by those photos—if you look closely, you’ll see the beautiful cat that each of them will grow to be. Please read all about them here, and please, please donate.

2019 Pet Calendars!

Deck your walls with vows to rescue! We have a growing list of calendars that feature rescued pets who’ve found great homes! Your purchase of a calendar will help each rescue continue its quest to provide the best possible world for animals! All proceeds go to the rescue, not to mention paying for the printing. These are nice calendars!

Ordering information is on the links.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS “Show Us Your Kitties” calendar

Jellicle Cats Rescue Foundation

Low-Cost Pet-Vaccination Clinics: For schedule, visit this link

Pet owners must be 18 years or older, all pets must be on leashes or in carriers, and only healthy and non-pregnant animals will be vaccinated. Please bring prior vaccination information with you to the clinic.

Free Pet Food Distributions

Pet food is available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 439 West Anaheim St., Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. A dog-washing station with a stainless-steel tub is also available onsite at these hours. Donations and supplies such as shampoo, flea control meds and pet food are always gratefully accepted.

The Pet Food Bank is sponsored by Christian Outreach in Action, located at 515 E. Third St., Long Beach. Hours are Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Pets of the Homeless provides many collection places across the country to help homeless people to feed and care for their animals. Please support them through a cash donation, or bring pet food to the Long Beach-area drop-off center, Trendi Pawz Grooming, 3726 E. Seventh St., Long Beach. Access this link for resources and donation areas in SoCal and across the country.

Shelter-enrichment supplies requested for ACS’s cats, dogs and rabbits: drop-off Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., shelter side of P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach

Creamy peanut butter, yogurt, beef and chicken broth, pipe cleaners, toilet-paper and paper-towel rolls, catnip, canned pet food, wine-bottle corks (for cat toys) and ice cube trays all are needed. Donations are tax deductible.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”