All photos attempted by Kate Karp, except where indicated.
This weekend will see the parking lot of the new Knolls shopping center on Long Beach Boulevard and San Antonio Drive taken up by tents sheltering over 125 cats and dogs hopeful of good homes. In celebration of the opening of the new Pet Food Express (PFE) Long Beach, located at 4220 Long Beach Boulevard and in continuing partnership, the store is teaming up with the City of Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) and Stray Cat Alliance (SCA) to get as many pets adopted as possible in one weekend and, even more noteworthy, to unveil LBACS’s new permanent satellite adoption center for cats.
The adoption event will be the largest known to have taken place in Long Beach, according to ACS. About 20 shelters and dog and cat rescues will participate, and for every pet that gets a new home, the adopter will get a $20 gift certificate and the rescue or shelter will receive a $20 donation (see Pet Projects for a listing of participants and links to their pages). Adoptions will begin at 11:00AM and end at 3:00PM both days.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia will cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony at 11:00AM. Besides the adoptions, the event will feature free pet washes in the self-service spa, vendors offering food samples, free vet appointments, Stunt Dog performances at noon and 2:00PM, and 20 percent off the high-quality food and pet accessories sold in the store.
PFE’s self-service pet washes have spa features that include a choice of the store’s exclusive organic shampoos in fragrances of vanilla almond, eucalyptus and fruity mango. One of the washes has a new “sanitize” feature for animals with sensitive skin and as a “skunk wash.” Ah, a dog’s life!
PFE’s Cat Adoption Center is an impressive aspect of the innovative corporation. The Center comprises three stories of comfy condos equipped with litter boxes, food and a high-tech ventilation system that will keep the kitties’ living quarters smelling lovely. Five other PFE locations feature the centers, but the one at the Long Beach location is the largest. Up to 12 cats and kittens brought in through ACS can reside there in comfort, and each will stay until he or she finds a permanent home.
“We hope that the new Center will provide an atmosphere that will allow the cats to thrive and result in even more adoptions,” said PFE Founder Michael Levy.
The Cat Adoption Center is family friendly for both adult and kitten. It has a lovely view of a colorful environment and has full maid and room service. No pet deposit required until someone goes home with a forever friend. Photo courtesy of ACS and SCA.
PFE was established in 1986 in Oakland and now has 57 California locations, including five in Southern California. Like smaller Long Beach pet-supply stores such as LaunderPet and Pussy & Pooch that carry high-quality pet food and host pet adoptions, PFE carries, on a larger scale, choice brands with limited ingredients. The company has a product-safety-insurance program unique to the company, which bans certain ingredients common in pet food but may pose a danger to health and also conducts tests on pet playthings with the same standards for children’s toys. Besides the pet spa, PFE also has an indoor dog park; a separate events room for training classes, adoptions and product testing; and the VIP Wellness Center, which offers yearly physical exams, diagnostic testing of basic illnesses and injuries, nail trim and additional vaccines.
PFE has been honored for its number of fund-raising programs, including the signature My Mutts portrait gallery, PFE has donated millions of dollars—$2.5 million last year—to shelters, rescues, police K-9s and schools and also provide unused, ripped, damaged or returned pet food items to local shelter and rescues and donate items for raffles. The website page also cites more than 125,000 pets adopted through these programs in the last 10 years, around 10,000 of them through the permanent adoption centers like the one in the Long Beach store. Providing both quality products and homes to animals is, as PFE’s Community Outreach Director Mike Murray put it, “the glue that unites our company.”
It was in this spirit that ACS, PFE and SCE also combine as a very good alphabet soup for cats and dogs. Former ACS Outreach Coordinator Kelly Miott of Long Beach Animal Care Services was introduced to Murray about two years ago by way of a relationship with filmmaker Steven Latham, director of the adoption facilitating program Shelter Me. Miott said that Pet Food Express was impressed with the commitment ACS was making to cats in the community through the SNR program, cat transports, increased rescue partnerships, trap/neuter/release groups like SCA, and offsite adoptions.
“For over a year, the shelter volunteers have been making the drive to Pet Food Express in Rancho Palos Verdes to find our shelter cats and dogs homes,” Miott said. “By watching the dedication of our volunteer team and staff, Pet Food Express chose the shelter as their first open-admission shelter in Southern California with whom to partner. There’s no cost to the city, and the Center will be run entirely by volunteers. Pet Food Express will provide all the supplies the volunteers will need to keep the cats healthy until they find their forever families.”
ACS manager Ted Stevens also sees the new satellite as a way of introducing the shelter cats to the community at large.
“This new cat adoption center inside Pet Food Express is an amazing opportunity for the cats that come to our shelter to find a ‘fur-ever’ home,” Stevens said. “With the shelter being located on the east side of Long Beach, this adoption center brings opportunities to the residents in other areas of the city to find new loving pets in a convenient location closer to home.”
All the comforts of a lap—very nearly!
The Cat Adoption Center is accepting volunteer applications to assist with cleaning and adoption. There are two shifts, the first between 8:30AM and noon and the second between 2:00PM and 7:00 PM. For information and requirements, contact [email protected].
“One cat just leads to another.”
~ Ernest Hemingway, inveterate cat lover and by the way renowned American author.
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