Friends in deed indeed: Long-established pet-welfare organization comes to the literal rescue

Virtually Pets

When Long Beach Animal Care Services closed its doors to the public and two rescue groups—Live Love Animal Rescue, which fosters and adopts out mainly dogs, and the cat rescue The Little Lion Foundation—immediately leaped forward to ensure that every healthy pet was safe in a foster home, one of the most venerable pet-welfare groups gave each a cash grant to jump-start the purchase of food and any medicine and veterinary care.

Two groups have essentially emptied the kennels at Long Beach shelter

“Grants are a surefire way to help animals,” said Lauren Campbell, president of Friends of Long Beach Animals, or FOLBA, as it’s called to save keyboarding time and energy. “We offer them on a case-by-case basis.”

Campbell has a personal relationship with Live Love’s founder, Emily Ann Peters. They had previously met to see if FOLBA could help them with their annual Foster the Fourth effort, which clears out shelters of dogs to make way for the yearly influx of terrified animals who run off after being frightened by fireworks and other holiday carousing.

“That obviously was put on hold because of the pandemic,” Lauren said. “So, we decided to do the grant on a smaller scale. Then, Claudia [Little Lion’s founder] contacted me—I’m actually a cat lady—and I know that she does a lot of fabulous work. We had the money available to help, and we got an approval vote across the board. We realized how valuable this was going to be.”

FOLBA has three decades of a rich history of helping pets and their people in Long Beach and Signal Hill. Its growth as a furlanthropic organization whose function was to assist and help to adopt out animals at the shelter, then operating mainly as animal control. The members filed to change its name to Friends of Long Beach Animals in 2002, and now FOLBA supports both the shelter and the Long Beach community at large to help them care for their own pets and perhaps prevent them from winding up in a shelter themselves.

At age 30, FOLBA may not be ancient enough to have whiskers, but (you know this is coming) many critters who do have them and live in Long Beach and Signal Hill have done well by them for decades. It was the first animal-welfare organization I joined after moving to Long Beach 25 years ago after adopting two great cats grace of the efforts of longtime vice president, Nona Daly. Daly used to pull cats from the shelter and show them in front of Nona’s Framing and Gallery, her now permanently shuttered eponymous shop on Second Street. We got two great cats from her—Eugene and Oaf. FOLBA isn’t a rescue, but they’ve facilitated hundreds of shelter adoptions through efforts like Daly’s, showcasing cats in veterinary offices and pet boutiques. Their website features pets that are currently available for adoption either at the shelter or in fosters. You’ll meet one presently.

FOLBA continues to provide additional medicine and veterinary care for special-needs shelter pets and brings in toys, kitty and doggie beds, blankies and all the things needed to comfort cats, dogs and rabbits. They’ve shelled out a significant number of biscuits for a number of conference and seminar expenses and for construction projects, including the Bunny Barn commissioned by a Boy Scout for his Eagle Scout project.

Hundreds of spay/neuter vouchers that FOLBA gave to low-income Long Beach and Signal Hill residents through its SNIP (Spay/Neuter Incentive Program), spearheaded by Daly, helped keep the shelter population down. The Humane Education Program, managed by author and humane educator Deborah Turner, provides area students with instruction (often with a dog in tow) of how to promote care and kindness—Turner added that she would like to continue the program with adults. Pets rescued from fires can be treated immediately for smoke-inhalation treatment thanks to special masks that FOLBA donated to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Tim Grobaty, the Long Beach Post’s treasured dog devotee and feline frowner-upon, fondly recalled his late four-legged companion Jimmy’s stint as grand marshal at FOLBA’s second WALK for the Animals lo these many years.

“It was a glorious day, and the WALK went around the Pine Ave Pier or thereabouts,” our pandemic pundit stated. “Ray [Grobaty’s son] was his proud handler for the event, which was marred by some little kid who kept rushing in front of us with his dog to lead the parade, even though there was nothing spectacular about his pet that would warrant such a high honor. James was a great dog and brought up my kids well. We went to a lot of dog events over the years and made a lot of trips to the park around the Korean Friendship Bell, which was his favorite place to go cavorting. But the WALK event  was his biggest—and well deserved—honor.” It takes a wag to effectively describe a dog event.

Former president Shirley Vaughan, who was a pillar of FOLBA since before its nonprofit establishment, remembered Tim’s droll but generous Press-Telegram columns that focused on FOLBA. Vaughan and Daly both recently stepped down from the board, but both of them, along with former and present members, were responsible for three decades of events and contributions that guaranteed that Friends of Long Beach Animals lives up to its name.

“Shirley and Nona are fabulous assets to the board,” Campbell said. “We absolutely value their experience, the great things they’ve done. I hope we can do as good a job in the future.”

In perpetuum, more than likely.

The writer is eternally grateful to past and longtime FOLBA president, Shirley Vaughan, for providing the organization’s historical framework.

FOLBA beneficiaries, available for adoption
scruffy, frightened orange cat on table in shelter

This is Dumpling’s shelter-intake photo. You can see it on the Friends of Long Beach Animals link. He’s 3 years old. He was found on the street in Long Beach, fearful and harboring a skin condition, seizures and a respiratory condition. Shelter staff put out the word for a home rescue or foster that would provide continuing care for his condition.


And here he is in his foster home, and vive la difference! Helen Sanders CatPAWS, which pulls cats exclusively from shelters, took one look and took him home. He’s now recovered from the sneezies and is receiving medication for epilepsy. He’s also made—or at least tolerates—a friend. At 15 pounds, he’s hefty in the stern, so he’s on a diet, which probably is more effective with a dog lurking at a food dish. He’s orange-cat sweet and can live a full, happy life in a home with a human willing to continue his medication. He’s a no-drama pill swallower and will take it, un-catlike, in his food.

It was impossible to pick out a video from the gallery sent by the foster, so you get four.

Sure. I’ll get up and play. Sure.

Dumpling feels his oats. Should eat a few, too.

Not now, and I don’t want to play any reindeer games, either, thank you.

Blecch. But I love him. Enuf, Godric.

CatPAWS is still doing a heck of a job with adoptions, even during the pandemic. If you’re interested in a comfy guy, fill out the adoption application here. If you qualify, Dumpling will be at the foot of your own bed in no time, likely sharing the space with your doggie, if you have one.


These people are part of Little Lion’s Safe-Purr at Home’s shelter pet project. To adopt any of them, who only need the final chapter of a furever home, access this page.


beautiful orange-and-white tabby ongreen planket on bed.there is a dresser and photos on the wall.

This is Sola taking advantage of her foster home. She’s a 2-year-old female who was left in a carrier at the gate of the shelter. She was pretty well shut down at the shelter and is still shy, but she’s loosening up in her foster home.


Tortie cat sits tall by a window in front of a cat bed.

Luna is the tortie girl in the photos. She was surrendered by her owner—at 12 years old! As you can well imagine, she was also shut down at the shelter. But as you can see, she loves to chill and watch “Grey’s Anatomy” with her foster mamma.


brown tabby with tan muzzle stares into the distance, seated in front of white verticle blinds.

Tammy is a 4-year-old female tabby that came into the shelter with a skin infection that is now cleared up. She loves to cuddle and make air biscuits!


COVID-19 tips and updates

An April 22 report from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 , which manifests as COVID-19 in humans, in two pet cats living in two separate households in New York State. This makes them the first pets in the United States to test presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2. The diagnosis indicates that full results are pending but that for all practical purposes, the animals are considered ill.

Two tigers, also in New York State, also tested positive. All four cats are expected to recover fully.

The humans in one of the homes had tested negative for the virus; the other tested positive, with another cat in the same home testing negative. Veterinary experts report that this was likely human-to-animal transmission. As of now, even though there’s no evidence that pets have any part in spreading the illness, it’s wise to exercise caution with the well-being of your own pets. Until we know more about the disease, CDC puts forth the following recommendations:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household [i.e., don’t touch the random dog or cat, and don’t let people touch yours].
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people [which is how one of the abovementioned cats could have contracted the virus].
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect that you are, restrict contact with your pets and other animals just as you would around other people.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering [gloves could help, too] and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Check the CDC COVID-19 page for more information about pets during the pandemic. During the stay-at-home order, make sure that your animals have their food, meds and all their immunizations in case of a disruption of medical-supply delivery for anything they might require.

Stay current with the latest COVID-19 developments on the Long Beach Post’s live blog.

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag…

Fix’n Fidos is a nonprofit established by KTLA reporter Kacey Montoya to provide free spay/neuter to Southern California residents who can’t afford the procedures. Since there’s been a crimp in the mobile clinics’ availability, Montoya has shifted focus to people who may have trouble finding food for their friends. Take a photo of the food you give to your pet, and include your name, contact information and a brief description of your work situation to [email protected]. Fix’n Fidos will deliver the food to you or arrange for you to pick it up at a local pet-supply store. Monetary donations made on the organization’s page will help the effort along.

The Dog Bakery, remaining open for pooch pastries and doggie desserts, will also help people who have lost their jobs and are in financial distress to give their dogs a basic meal. Health-care employees and other essential workers can apply for this During the stay-at-home order, the owners, Rocky Kanaka and Kelly Hannaford will deliver dog food to people who are struggling with job loss, can’t leave their homes, or deserve appreciation. Access this link to fill out a form if you need food for your dog or wish to donate to the effort. Check out this video for further details.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS offers, through specific private donors, e-gift cards for people struggling during the crisis to buy food for their pets. The CatPAWS Spay/Neuter Fund, also privately funded, offers vouchers to cover spay/neuter procedures to anyone living in the five cities in the Long Beach shelter’s service area—Long Beach, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Signal Hill and Cerritos.

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter—(see above)—can telephone the general number at 562-570-7387 to request a voucher.

Pets of the Homeless’ home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following Long Beach businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St., Long Beach

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave., Long Beach

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St., Long Beach

Food and supplies are available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Drag performer with bright-red hair and a long, red sequinned dress holds bulldog mix

Syren and Axel, a 4-month-old English bulldog mix. “I’m doing this out of my love for animals. I was born to a family that already had two big dogs. We then adopted a couple of shepherd/chow mixes and a cat named Pork Chop. My parents started adopting Shiba Inus—all rescues. Before I moved out, we had a spaniel mix, a purebred beagle, and two cats. When I moved out with my husband [likely to give his parents room for more dogs], we adopted a dachshund mix named Freddie, and he’s our little baby. His full name is My Lord Frederick von Stuff’n’things. We won’t get up when the vet calls us unless they pronounce his full name right.” Photo by Andrea Estrada.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions, but 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.

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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.”