Daughter of Owners of Nino's Italian Restaurant Continues with Devoted Customer Service

Virtually Pets

Bless every member of the animal community. They all work their wagging tails off to match cats, dogs, rabbits and everything else with humans they should have been with instead of the ones who treated them cruelly or abandoned them at the shelter, where they’re subject to euthanasia if they aren’t adopted.


Carina Cristiano is one of these good people. When she was a kid, her father, who’d incidentally owned the much-missed Nino’s Italian Restaurant in Bixby Knolls, would say in frustration, “No more cats and dogs, Carina!” as he likely waved a marinara-dripping wooden spoon around in the air. But like the old softies both he and Cristiano’s mother are, they matched their daughter’s lifelong compassion for saving innocent lives and gave in countless times.


Cristiano match-makes pets with people the way Yente from Fiddler on the Roof did, personally meeting up at Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) with friends, neighbors and near strangers who may have some trepidation about going into a shelter and personally escorting them in, with full support of shelter staff.


In January, six Rottweilers were brought to ACS. They had been left behind in the yard when their family lost their house and moved. Cristiano went to visit them and wound up taking one of them home. One other had already been adopted, and three more went home recently. This leaves Brutus.


“I loved them all,” Cristiano said of the Fabulous 6, as they’d been dubbed. “They were raised with small kids, cats, dogs and birds. They love everyone they meet. [The dog I adopted] is patient—I haven’t seen anything faze her, and I haven’t heard her bark yet. And Brutus is a 5-year-old puppy-like male dog. He’s easily trainable and loves to respond to treats and positive reinforcement. The shelter staff and volunteers have many wonderful comments.”


And then there’s Dutch, who’s irresistible. Dutch didn’t come in with the Rotties, but he seems to be considered an honorary member of the Fabulous 6, sort of like the “Fifth Beatle.” Dutch, Cristiano says, has won everyone’s heart—he’s a 2-year-old Rottie mix who loves to walk and fetch toys, leaving them soaked with psyched-up slobber. And if there's ever any delight in running a disclaimer, it's here: I met Dutch in person (or in doggon) and walked him at the shelter and again at an adoption event. He’s the second dog I’ve fallen in love with, which says a lot because I am, incorrigibly and staunchly, a cat person.


“These dogs were left behind in such a cruel way," Cristiano said. “The shelter is no place for a family dog. Please consider opening your hearts and homes.”


Carina Cristiano, thanks for extending the family. Your forebears would be proud.


A picture is worth any number of words.





Dutch 2

And videos showing who these guys really are, are worth any number of photos.

Here’s Brutus happily at play

And here’s Dutch, proving that rainy days don’t put a damper on his spirit

Please visit the shelter at 7700 East Spring Street near the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter guests) and take home Brutus, Dutch and/or any one or ones of the cats and dogs that deserve a happier ending. If you’d like Carina Cristiano to accompany you, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Mark Your Calendars (the People Way)

Music for Mutts

Music for Mutts (and Cats)

Friday, March 31, 9:00PM, Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill, 17296 Beach Boulevard, Long Beach

No cover, drink prices apply; bring donation for shelter

Enjoy live sounds from great bands and donate items that will bring comfort and happiness to the pets at Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS)—food, toys, towels, treats and money.

Cat Adoption Center - Copy

Pet Adoption Event at PFE

Saturday, April 1, 11:00AM–3:00PM, Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach

Adoption fees apply

Find your new BFF and everything that he or she could ever want or need, in one place. Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) and other rescues will be bringing some wonderful dogs ready to go home with their new people. Everything is high quality at Pet Food Express, and that includes the adoptive pets! Check out the Cat Adoption Center, featuring fine felines from Long Beach Animal Care Services and Stray Cat Alliance.


Build Loveland Farm Sanctuary Spring Fundraiser

Sunday, April 2, 3:00PM–6:00PM, Newland Barn, 19822 Beach Boulevard, Huntington Beach

Tickets $25–$50

This spring, you have the chance to change the fate of neglected and abused farm animals everywhere desperate for a new beginning. In the past year and a half, the groundwork has been laid to expand the effort out into the community. Come to help collectively create a better world for these animals waiting to be rescued. Enjoy a vegan dinner (included in price), a kids station, a photo booth, music, a silent auction and additional opportunities to support farm animal rescue efforts. Guest speaker Alexandra Caswell, animal advocate and former sanctuary manager at Farm Sanctuary, will present. Tickets and more information are available here.


spcaLA Fundraiser—Dine & Donate at Chipotle

Wednesday, April 5, 10:30AM–10:00PM, Various Chipotle LA County Locations (available here)

Prices vary according to menu

Mention "spcaLA Fundraiser" and 50 percent—half!—of your bill will be donated to help homeless shelter pets. A delicious way to raise funds!

Fix Long Beach logoHope for Paws

Fix Long Beach Free Spay/Neuter Clinic

Saturday, April 8, 7:30AM–4:00PM, Houghton Park, 6500 Atlantic Avenue (near Jordan High), Long Beach

Free to qualifying residents; free microchips; low-cost shots ($10 each); $10 flea med doses

The grassroots free spay/neuter organization Fix Long Beach invites you to make an appointment for your unfixed dog, or get vouchers for free procedures for your dog or cat! These clinics are generously sponsored through Hope for Paws and Eldad Hagar.

Visit this link for qualifications and an application for your appointment. There is also a donation button to help Fix Long Beach continue their efforts. Click the organization’s Amazon Wish List link to donate items, or bring them to the event if you find a better deal!

Let’s continue to help make Long Beach no kill, one pet at a time!

CatPaws Bowling

CatPAWS Bowling Fund-Raiser

Saturday, April 29, 3PM–5PM, Westminster Lanes, 6471 Westminster Blvd., Westminster

$40 per person

LET’S GO BO-O-O-OWLING—and help some kitties. The ticket includes a combo food basket and soft drink;  two hours of bowling, including shoes; and an opportunity drawing. Prizes for lowest and highest score for a guy and a gal! All proceeds help continue Helen Sanders CatPAWS rescues from shelters, providing medical needs and foster care.



spcaLA Friends for Life Summer Camp™ Registration!

Begins April 17, 10:00AM on this link 

$350 for each camper

spcaLA Friends for Life Summer Camp is for kids 8 to 13. At camp, kids learn the basics of pet care and responsibility, respect for all animals, and the beginnings of dog training, all while making new friends! There are eight Monday through Friday sessions, running June thru August.

Shelter Shots

Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) Information for Low-Cost Vaccinations and Spay/Neuter Clinics

7700 East Spring Street at entrance to El Dorado Park (no fee for shelter visitors), Long Beach

Prices vary

Vouchers that take a big bite, so to speak, out of the cost of spay/neuter procedures are available at ACS during their public hours. Visit this link for information on clinics that accept the vouchers and for other spay/neuter assistance.

For low-cost vaccines, visit this link. Note that 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. Vaccination and microchip services are provided for pets residing in any city. Licensing is provided for residents within our jurisdiction at Saturday clinics; please bring your renewal notice and rabies certificate with you.

Deb Turners Humane Education

Humane Education Presentation Signup

Throughout year, various school classrooms


Humane educator and writer (How Willy Got His Wheels, How Willy Got His Wings and others) is available to teach students about responsible pet ownership and kindness to all living beings. Turner also presents to adult groups as a special event for school parents. If you are a principal, a teacher, a librarian or other school official in the Long Beach Unified School District, reserve a date. See graphic for information.


Registration for Team spcaLA for the LA Marathon

Saturday, March 18, 5k; Sunday, March 19, Marathon; Dodger’s Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Avenue, Los Angeles

5k, $40; Marathon, $175

Join Team spcaLA for the LA Marathon or LA Big 5K and help stop animal cruelty with each step. Visit link for details

Free Pet Food Distributions

Food for Pets in Need

Food for Pets in Need provides pet food to senior, homeless, low-income and homebound residents in Long Beach who otherwise may not be able to afford adequate food to take proper care of their pets. 

Pet food bank

The Pet Food Bank is sponsored by Christian Outreach in Action. See flyer for details.

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