Best Friends’ Love Large campaign encourages big bowser adoptions

“From huskies to shepherds, terriers to mutts, animal shelters and rescue groups all over the country are currently inundated with dogs over 40 pounds,” stated Julie Castle, chief executive officer of national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society. Same here in Long Beach.

Best Friends’ 2021 data collection indicated a nationwide a setback in saving shelter animals’ lives for the first time in five years, with euthanasia increasing from 347,000 to 355,000 dogs and cats. Castle noted that the numbers are “especially dismal” for big dogs, whose intake increased by nearly three times the rate of adoption.

Long Beach Animal Care Services has a very good total save record of 86.08% (Best Friends’ No-Kill Benchmark is set at 90%). But like other shelters, there are big dogs aplenty in the kennels and in fosters. At this writing LBACS has 115 dogs under its protection, either in kennels or with fosters; and 75 are larger dogs, between 40 and 70 pounds.

To help these hefty hounds find homes, Best Friends is sitting up, rolling over, and stopping short of begging to encourage their adoption and fostering. Their Love Large campaign, which began Oct. 1, waives adoption fees for big dogs in Best Friends facilities and in selected shelters and rescues across the country. LBACS and Long Beach rescue LiveLove are the local beneficiaries.

The campaign also educates people about big dogs, debunking “myths” that they’re too large for apartment dwelling, are dangerous, or make too much noise. Castle said that big dogs actually tend to bark less than do smaller dogs, can live happily with kids and other pets if properly introduced, and will do just fine in apartments if properly exercised. They’re less likely to charge around the floor and bug the downstairs neighbors.

“Pets are individuals with their own unique needs,” Castle said. “We are excited to dedicate an entire month to showcasing that big dogs have big hearts and can make the perfect pet.”

LBACS manager Staycee Dains stated that any dog would feel comfy in an apartment, and she oughta know because she has a big fella in hers. However, whether you live in a studio or a 20-room mansion, all dogs, big ones in particular, must be exercised. A yard is a great place to exercise your dog with a ball, a Frisbee or a silly chase, but Dains said that no dog should be left alone in a yard—just like us, they need a coach to get them to move their muscles. Large dogs, she said, also need at least two walks a day—15 to 20 minutes at a quick pace and 30 to 60 minutes for a stroll.

“Dogs, large and small, have varying degrees of handling,” Dains said. “I adopted an 80-pound dog, and he is very easy to walk; yet there is a small dog in my office that pulls quite a lot on the leash.”

Whatever size pet you bring home, Dains advises taking the time to get acquainted with the animals at the shelter or rescue where you want to adopt or foster from and make a deliberate decision. If you have other pets at the house, it’s especially important to make sure that you can handle the introductions correctly.

“Whenever you bring a new pet home to other pets, it is important that every pet has a safe, comfortable place away from each other,” Dains said. “We don’t think it’s a good idea to ‘let them figure it out’—that could cause lasting trauma for everyone. We can help coach people on the best ways to introduce their pets. There are a lot of factors: size, age, breed, health conditions, species, training level, length of time in the home, and so on.”

If adoption sounds too “scary,” Dains said, fostering is always an option. To make room in shelters, fosters are needed as much as adopters are. This is particularly true for the big guys, and not because they take up so much room—there are just so many of them.

“Our goal is to get as many big dogs as possible out of shelters and into homes this October,” Castle said. “Shelters are really struggling right now, so we urge those who can open their hearts and homes to a big dog, please do so as soon as possible. Not only will you be saving a life but you’ll be also part of the movement to make America a no-kill country by 2025.”

Virtually pets

LiveLove Animal Rescue has always lived up to its name: readers will recall the times they scrambled for fosters to place LBACS dogs during the Fourth of July fireworks season and the COVID-19 pandemic, and the heartrending freeway chase by a volunteer to rescue two German shepherd mixes from the back of a pickup truck. The volunteers want you to meet The Big Four, who are among the rescue’s beneficiaries of the Love Large campaign’s waived fee. LiveLove provides everything you need to know about adopting a dog on their website. Adoption application and information about every dog in their care are available here. All dogs have been vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

LiveLove, Love Large—kind of trips off your tongue.

tan pit bull lies in grass holding a partially deflated yellow ball with black stripes.

Wilson is a 5 ½-year-old, 64-pound pittie mix looking for his forever home. Once settled in, Wilson is an affectionate and goofy guy with so much love to give! He loves playtime, especially with his soccer balls, and enjoys chasing the bugs and butterflies around the garden. He approves of all your pets and belly rubs. Throw in a neck massage and watch him melt! He’s a smarty pants and eager to show you all he knows: commands, impeccable manners, walking well on a leash; nudges to ask for permission for things. He’s crate and potty trained, knows how to use a doggy door, and will stay off furniture unless invited. A perfect gentleman!


beige dog with white nose and paws lies in a doggie bed holding a brightly colored flannel toy

What a perdy girl! Perdy, a 2-year-old, 50-pound shepherd mix, is a happy mama dog who recently had a litter of seven puppies. She’s a most lovable and sweet dog, and now that her puppies are in great shape, Perdy is ready to find a loving forever family and have a puppyhood of her own! LiveLove rescued Perdy from a rural shelter just two days after she gave birth. She was malnourished, full of fleas, and terribly underweight. Despite all this, however, her spirit shined bright. We can’t get over how terrific she is! Her favorite thing is to cuddle up on the couch next to her foster humans. Perdy does great with all kids and dogs provided they are respectful toward her. She would be a wonderful family dog. She’d do best in a home where her family is ready to provide her with love, stability, and endless belly rubs. She deserves nothing but the best from here on out!

husky with black back and mask and white cheeks and legs stands looking into camera with lolling tongue

Damon is as dashing as he is intelligent! He’s a curious guy and can be timid at first, but don’t let his sensitivity fool you—he loves a good adventure and makes fast friends! Damon is fully potty trained and has made great strides with his crate training and manners. As a young dog, he’s always learning and looks to his humans for the positive direction. Hearing “Good boy!” lights up his face and makes his whole day. It’s a great way to break up a workday taking a stroll with Damon and getting a nice dose of fresh air together! Damon is friendly with all people he meets, and other dogs, too! He’s not been around cats or kids just yet, but with slow introductions he would likely handle that just fine. Remember, Damon’s a husky, gentle and affectionate but needing lots of exercise and a good eye to prevent escapes—familiarity with the breed is highly recommended!


smiling fuzzy dog sits with mouth open and eyes closed. He looks as if he's having a laugh!

“T” is for “terrific,” and “T” is also for the terrific “Tom”! Tom is a Labrador/shepherd mix, and he embodies the best qualities of both breeds: loyal, loving, intelligent and amicable. Tom is an exceptional dog for any family, he loves children and other animals, too. To judge by his photo, he also has a great sense of humor. Tom’s favorite activities include swimming, hiking, car-riding, walking (he’s great on leash), playing fetch, and spooning with a human. If you lie on your side, he will lie down against you as the “little spoon.” He’s got a gentle demeanor, gently accepting food and toys. He’s an incredible gentleman—very eager to please and listens well to all commands. He is happy to come to you when called and is a real snuggler, although he isn’t clingy in an anxious way. Tom has a cute, expressive face and an interesting multitextured coat. He tends to carry his tail somewhat high even when relaxed, giving plenty of opportunity to admire the fox-like white tip at the end of his tail. He is indeed a foxy 4-year-old, around 50 pounds!


A helping paw

Pet License Amnesty extended to Dec. 31

 The city of Long Beach has extended the fee and penalty waivers for pet licenses to Dec. 31. Anyone living in the highlighted Community Development Block grant neighborhoods, as shown on the above map, may request a waiver by phone at 562-570-7387, by applying by mail at 7700 E. Spring St., or in person at the shelter. The waiver program is not available online. Visit this link for license requirements. Call 562-570-7387 for additional information.

Great furballs of fun!

LBACS volunteer Patti with her favorite goofball. Courtesy photo

LBACS volunteer Patti and her BFF, shelter alumnus Griffin. Courtesy photo

Blockhead Brigade’s Pit Bull Appreciation Day: Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Marina Vista Park., 5355 E. Eliot St., Long Beach, free event

Anyone who lives or has lived with a pittie and has dealt in any way with bad rap against the breed knows that they all deserve recognition. The Blockhead Brigade, a local pittie-advocacy organization, will hold an appreciation day for this often-maligned group of dogs and their humans. The event will feature some pretty pittie-centric groups, including a pack-walk group, a Day of the Dead pet-memorial altar, a canine-home wellness check group, merch, food and, of course, some of these goofy canines for adoption. The Blockhead Brigade is requesting no dog intros, 10 feet of space between dogs, and all dogs on six-foot or shorter sturdy leashes. The event is free to the public, but the organizers want to know how many to expect, so click the register balloon on the event page.

CatPAWS’ Le Chic Chat Soiree fundraiser: Saturday, Oct. 15, 5:30 p.m., Navy Golf Course Seal Beach: Bldg. 800, 5660 Orangewood Ave., Cypress, general admission $175, VIP tickets and full tables also available

 Slip on your fanciest cat suit or your tie and tails—tails in particular—and join Helen Sanders CatPAWS at their most glamorous! Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet and dessert, silent and live auction items, and a presentation featuring an overview of CatPAWS programs, lives saved and lives changed, and salute to adopters. Guest emcee Meg DeLoatch will preside over the fur-stivities. All funds raised will go toward saving so many more! Buy tickets and see details here.

Strut Your Mutt

Best Friends Strut Your Mutt: Saturday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m.–11 a.m., Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, or virtually at this link from 8 a.m.–4 p.m., $20 registration fee.

Put on your walking shoes or strap on a virtual pair, and get ready to step up, step out and save lives! Strut Your Mutt, the fundraising walk that saves lives of dogs and cats across the country—is back in the flesh and fur in select cities after an interruption by COVID-19 last year. Although live events were canceled virtual Strut Your Mutt participants raised $1.45 million for homeless pets! Your participation helps to reach Best Friends’ goal of becoming no-kill nationwide by 2025. Registration includes an official 2022 Strut Your Mutt event T-shirt, and the money you raise, including your registration fee, goes directly to Best Friends’ adoption candidates—cats and dogs, of course, and also horses, birds, rabbits and pigs—or to your favorite local participating animal welfare organization. Fundraising runs through Oct. 31. Access this link for details.

Courtesy photo

Howl-o-ween Event: Saturday, Oct. 29, 5–7 p.m., Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St. (at entrance to El Dorado Park), Long Beach, free event, parking free to shelter visitors

RSVP here for LBACS’ inaugural Howl-o-ween event! Put on your costume, grab a bag of treats, and come to the shelter for adoption specials, fun family activities, Bark-O-Treat, Best Cat Room Contest, costume contests and raffles. Remember your fur angels with our Day of the Dead Pet Memorial. Note: For safety’s sake, please do not bring your pets to the shelter.

A dog is dressed as Cruella during the 20th annual Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade at Marina Vista Park in Long Beach on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade: Sunday, Oct. 30, 12:30–4:30 p.m., Marina Vista Park, 5355 E Eliot St., Long Beach, $5 to reserve a chair, otherwise free to spectate; free for costumed humans in parade; $10 for dogs paid in advance of event; $20 for dogs that day.

Halloween in Long Beach wouldn’t be Halloween in Long Beach so much without the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade! Dogs and their humans engage in a whimsical competition—all tongues and no fangs—to win prizes in several categories. Enjoy vendors, food and rescue pets, in case you need a candidate for next year or a buddy for your boo baby! Sponsors include Port of Long Beach and Red Barn Premium Pet Products. To enter your dog and maybe yourself, visit this link.

 Foster for awhile—or furever!

woman in denim jacket holds little white cat with tabby ears. kennels with kittens are in the background.

Long Beach Animal Care Services has expanded adoption hours as follows: Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests are welcome to browse until closing. To speed up any adoption process, email [email protected]. To foster, email [email protected].

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

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.”