Santa Claus’ Christmas delivery to pets has to begin a few days early because, unlike some humans, all animals are good. The ones in shelters and rescues are especially deserving—unlike your cat happily climbing the Christmas tree or your dog snitching the last snickerdoodle when your back’s turned, few of us know what any of these pets have been through.
In this spirit, Justin Rudd and his Community Action Team brought on the 18th annual Operation Santa Paws to deliver goodies to appreciative animals. The piles of good things come from good people who donate them to collection centers around the city or bring them to the event itself.
Someone’s been awfully good.
On Saturday, Dec. 22, S.P.’s “elves” gathered at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park. The Village houses the city shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) and the privately funded nonprofit rescue spcaLA. Later, in “sleighs” still full, the group visited Seal Beach Animal Care Center and Orange County Animal Care at its new address in Tustin.
LBACS adoption coordinator Jill Prout said that many of the pets at LBACS and spcaLA were up for adoption and that others were on mandatory wait to see if their owners would show up. She said that sharing any photos on social media would help with both adoptions and finding missing owners—the Village had 23 recent adoptions attributed to the photos and videos taken by staff and visitors.
LBACS and spcaLA staff along with Rudd gave a few ground rules: small dog toys can get stuck in drains so they shouldn’t be tossed into the kennels, stuffed toys will likely be destroyed and possibly ingested, fingers must stay out of kennels in case an overly enthused pet mistakes it for a treat—toss the treats into the kennels instead, and that cages with more than one dog be given a goodie for each dog so that there’s no fighting over the food. Prout said to make sure that treats aren’t overdone.
Justin Rudd, front at right, readying Santa Paws with staff members from LBACS and spcaLA.
“[Shelter staff and volunteers] don’t want to pick up runny poop all day,” Rudd said.
“It’s important that you bring these animals joy today,” he added. “Spend time with them. Say hello to them, talk to them. That’s the best thing that you can do today.”
And that’s just what happened.
Nestled all snug, and all Christmased out.
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