Man in black mask, blue shirt and tan pants holds small brown dog who's high-fiving a human in a dog suit.
Sanzu and roommate, FOLBA officer Tom Hanberg, seem delighted to make the acquaintance of FOLBA’S new mascot. The quirky canine will make an appearance at the one-year anniversary of the Los Altos Pet Supplies Plus on Saturday, May 1 (see May bouquet for mutts and moggies) where attendees can suggest names for the mascot. Photo by Kate Karp

Tonight, Friday, Long Beach’s longest-lived animal-welfare nonprofit will celebrate 33 years of storied community service with a glitzy casino night (see Great furballs of fun—there might be a couple of tickets left). The organization will also honor three of the organization’s leaders, one posthumously.

It’s been a long journey, for Friends of Long Beach Animals, conveniently and acronymically called FOLBA. It’s is the longest-lived animal-welfare nonprofit in the city. Its list of accomplishments since its establishment in 1989 would fill a small phone book (remember those?). To run off some highlights, FOLBA has sponsored the spay/neutering of over 18,000 pets, thanks to their signature SNIP effort (Spay/Neuter Incentive Program); introduced humane education to the schools and community, led by author Deborah Turner and animal advocate and my former co-writer Judy Crumpton; helped Long Beach Animal Care Services’ residents with medical procedures, and donated special oxygen masks for animals to the Long Beach Fire Department and digital cameras to all animal control officers. They built and supplied an animal shelter to sister city Long Beach, Mississippi, during Hurricane Katrina and commissioned a veterinary facility for the shelter so the vets wouldn’t have to operate in a closet-size room. I’m leaving a lot of stuff out.

They also had the bright idea of putting cats from the shelter in large kennels in front of the now-shuttered Nona’s Framing and Gallery on Second Street in Belmont Shore. Yes, there was a Nona, and she’s not shuttered by any means. She was also FOLBA’S vice president for 25 years. We adopted two great cats there back in the last century—a tux we named Oaf and an orange kitty we called Eugene. That’s how I first got involved with FOLBA—I loved those cats and wanted to return the favor.

I helped with their WALKs for the Animals, which then Press-Telegram columnist Tim Grobaty would lead—or be led by his dog, Jimmy; I sold raffle tickets at their fundraisers at the Long Beach Playhouse fundraisers; I helped gather signatures supporting the city’s proposed mandatory spay/neuter legislation, which became legislation in 2015; I pleaded with people to spay and neuter their own pets. Later, when I became a Long Beach Post columnist, I wrote about all the stuff they did.

Crowd of humans and a couple of goats enjoy a walk for animals.
Goats participate with their humans in a FOLBA WALK. Photo courtesy of FOLBA.

I also met the other two legs of the triumvirate of FOLBA machers, Margo Carter, FOLBA’s treasurer, and the board president, Shirley Vaughan. Margo met Nona when she and her husband were helping to trap and fix stray and feral cats in the field where the Aquarium of the Pacific now stands. Margo desperately wanted to help get some of the cats adopted, and someone turned her on to Nona and the frame shop. The two became friends, and FOLBA gained a tech-savvy treasurer with a background in finance.

Back then, FOLBA had its office in the old shelter on Willow Street. The members were looking forward to new digs when the shelter moved to its new and present location in the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, with spcaLA. Inexplicably, they were given a kick. Margo said that the new shelter asked them to pay for a security gate, which they did. They then learned that not only would they not get a gate key but they would also not be permitted to hold meetings there or maintain a file cabinet.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Margo said. “We opened our own office on Atlantic, which is still FOLBA’s office.”

Margo, Shirley and Nona have retired from the board—Shirley sadly and suddenly died in January. She had been FOLBA’s president for over 20 years; one of her life’s purposes was to help animals.

Woman in red Christmas sweater and another in red Santa jacket holding a christmas outfit sit on a float in a Christmas parade.
Nona Daly, left, and Shirley Vaughan smile at onlookers during Belmont Shore Christmas parade. Photo by Kate Karp.

FOLBA will honor Nona Daly, Margo Carter and Shirley Vaughan at tonight’s anniversary event. The three leaders and all the volunteers who took part in creating and furthering the organization’s mission fully deserve it.

You can help FOLBA further its mission of furthering responsible pet ownership, reducing the shelter population, and making lives better for animals in every city that the shelter serves. Donate here, and find out more about FOLBA as well.

Virtually pets

Meet some of the Long Beach Animal Care Services pets that you can take home, care for, and love and be loved by. This month, LBACS has joined NBCUniversal Local’s 2022 Clear The Shelters pet adoption and donation campaign through Aug. 31, LBACS has held adoption specials throughout the month and will bring its Adoption Waggin to Benny the Cat’s fifth birthday party (see Great furballs of fun!). To encourage responsible, mindful adoption, LBACS is offering adoption specials including $25 adoption fees for adult animals 7 months old and older and no adoption fees for long-term-stay animals (over 90 days) and bunnies. As always, they encourage the community residents to get involved through volunteerism, donating and, of course, adopting and fostering pets. Please be a Friend of Long Beach Animals by making our shelter your first stop for adoption or fostering. It’s one way to be sure that every healthy pet can get out alive. You can schedule an appointment to meet any of the pets featured below or in the shelter at [email protected], or stop by Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sometimes, pets that aren’t so healthy or have been lingering in the shelter can also get as long a life as possible—sometimes, a full span—with help from a living, willing human. First, in brilliant black and white, we have a herd of little cows.

black cat with white splotch on nose, a white chest and paws, and a crabby expression looks at camera while sitting on an alphabet-print blanket.
Miranda (ID#A673873), a 6-yr-old domestic shorthair, was admitted to LBACS early in May. She’s been at the shelter for nearly four months now. She had a heart murmur, but it’s now resolved. She currently has allergic dermatitis, chronic soft stools and periodontal disease, which may be treatable. She also has a sweet, mellow nature and would be a perfect lap cat. Staff and volunteers urgently request rescue or a committed adopter to take over her care. Her adoption fee will be sponsored by a generous donor.
black and white cat with a black splotch on nose bridge and white legs and chest sits up in kennel, looking at ground.
Siblings Katy Purry (ID#A674829) and Meowsie (ID#A674827) were also found on the street. These kittens look beautiful together (and so, please take them together!).
black-and-white cat sits on a volunteer's lap. Cat has a Charlie Chaplin mustache.
Ms. Purry really rocks that ‘stache!

And a hospice request.

sad-lookng orange cat sits in an enamel enclosure with a green cats-head toy.
Shelters and rescues sometimes request hospice—not necessarily adoption, but that certainly is an option—for animals who are chronically or terminally ill and need someone willing to let them spend their remaining days, weeks or even years in comfort. Bridgerton (ID# A677850) is such a cat. He was found at 12 years old, wandering the streets in apparent kidney failure and wound up in the shelter. His present foster can no longer care for him—she referred to him as a sweetheart who sat on her lap every morning as she had coffee and them spent the rest of the day on the catio. The perfect hospice would be someone who can follow a similar pattern, particularly one with a protected outdoor area or room where it’s easy to clean up after any accidents (he does use a litter box but sometimes will go outside). If you can help Bridgerton, please contact the shelter.

The more you get to know Bebita (#A656328), the more you’ll adore her, just as every LBACS dog volunteer does. She’s a 5-year-old pint-sized pittie who’s about the longest resident—17 months, for heaven’s sake. The volunteers make her feel at home, but a crowded shelter, no matter how loving the atmosphere, is not a home. Bebita’s waiting for her special someone to find her and take her home for cuddle time, walkies and movie nights on the couch. She’s a strong, compact little ball of fun with a huge smile that goes from giant ear to giant ear! She loves people but can be protective of them in the home environment. She’ll need a patient owner to help teach her to trust new people. She will flourish in a breed experienced home where she is the only pet.

Meet our wonderful little “Frogman,” Hemsworth (#A662968)! He’s so ready for any adventure in a real home. Hemy’s a champagne-beige midsize pittie, and his backstory is anything but bubbly. He was abandoned at someone’s house and found himself at Long Beach Animal Care Services at only a year old. He’s now 2, meaning that he’s been here for nearly an entire year! The volunteers adore him and have nicknamed him Frogman because of his resemblance to the animal! He’s affectionate toward most people and is medium-active—he’s playful and then settles down nicely to rest. He’d thrive with patient humans familiar with this breed in a home with adults and mature kids. Wanna hop around with Hemsworth?

Great furballs of fun!

FOLBA’s 33rd Anniversary Celebration and Casino Event: Friday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m., The Modern, 2801 E. Spring St., Long Beach, tickets $50, $75 and $100, see details and purchase tickets here

The most venerable animal-welfare organization in Long Beach is celebrating 33 years of helping our city’s pets: funding surgical procedures at the shelter, paying for countless spay/neuter procedures, giving grants to animal rescues for their operations, funding special projects for clinics and shelters—too many to count on the toe beans of four paws. As you can tell by the continuing need in our community and communities everywhere, Friends of Long Beach Animals is nowhere near done working; however, they have lots of good stuff to celebrate! To combine the two, FOLBA is proud to present a night of casino games and fundraising (dress to impress!). Enjoy a full bar, participate in raffles, stuff your face with food, meet some adoptables and two beneficiaries of FOLBA’s efforts, and have a chance to be on Pawz TV. All money raised will help fund FOLBA’s good works.

Benny the Cat’s 5th birthday party and fundraiser: Saturday, Aug. 27, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Marina Community Center, 151 Marina Drive, Seal Beach, tickets $20, children 10 and younger free

Benny, the brave little cat who nearly lost his life to domestic abuse, is now living the life and is ready to celebrate his fifth birthday. He wants you to come to the party! He promises games, raffles, live entertainment, vendors, food, party favors and kittens for adoption. Of course, he’ll be the guest of honor. Purrrr-chase your tickets here! All money raised at Benny’s fifth birthday party will help his fellow kitties at Helen Sanders CatPAWS, the organization that paid for his surgery. That’s the only birthday present he’s asked for!

12 months of pets!

 The pet calendars are getting an early start! Enter your own calendar grrrls or purrrrls and help fund rescues and their good works!

Show Us Your Kitties!, Helen Sanders CatPAWS, votes $5 each, reserved days $15 each, closes Sept. 3, deadline extended.

Help Helen Sanders CatPAWS raise money to save cats from public shelters! Submit a photo of your kitty, or vote for your favorite feline in the contest. You can also submit a kitty photo for a special day on the calendar. The top vote winner at the conclusion of the contest will have their choice of month to feature their cat as a pinup pm on the calendar. The next 12 top-vote recipients will become Helen Sanders CatPAWS Calendar Cats for each of the remaining calendar months between January 2023 and January 2024. Up to six runner-up photos after the top 13 vote recipients will be featured with larger photos and name on the front cover! Enter now at this link!

Foster for awhile—or furever!

Clear the Shelters ad, with an orange cat and a brown terrier mix lying side by side
Courtesy of Clear the Shelters

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.