Long Beach shelter revives its volunteer program; seeks applicants

It hasn’t been the best of years—in fact, the past two have been pretty crummy, but the Scratching Post is wishing creatures of any number of legs a holiday and a new year that’s as good as it can get. Speaking of new years, access your 2022 calendar right now and mark Jan. 5, 7 p.m, for the revival of Long Beach Animal Care Services’ volunteer program!

Even if you don’t make resolutions for the new year because you think they’re a waste of time and you’ll break them anyway, you won’t toss this one aside if you’ve been impatient for the shelter to emerge from the pandemic isolation, get the program going, and rebuild the volunteer base. The present volunteers, who are virtually Manx from working their tails off, would like that, too.

“I think the volunteers have gone above and beyond the status of enrichment and extras to being a solid foundation of care when LBACS has experienced a profound lack of staff these past months,” said Dee Glick, one of the lead volunteers. It’s been really hard for the few that have hung in, and I for one look very forward to having some fresh faces around to give us some backup.”

The city has been working on filling 15 vacant positions in the shelter, and the present staff members have been reliant on volunteers to fill in gaps so that the animals will receive the treatment they deserve. Such a mutual admiration society has formed between volunteers and staff that it would be safe to say that they comprise a seamless team.

Wanna be part of that team? There are all kinds of ways to do it—going down to the facility next to El Dorado Park at 7700 E. Spring St. and being a dogfella, a cat tender or both is the best, and so are picking up some office duties and using social media to publicize pets and events. First, though, access this link to sign up for the new-volunteer orientation to be held Jan. 5 via Zoom. That way, you’ll find out what’s involved in volunteering without having to drive anywhere or mask up. Former volunteers and those presently volunteering are encouraged to come as well to brush up on their skills and to answer questions from the potential newbies.

There will be a couple of other events during January, but hopefully, the Zoom room will have multiple facial grids filled. Offer to share your session with someone you know who is enthusiastic about volunteering at a shelter but who might not be comfortable with Zoom or have a computer at all. Such folks are still around.

Scroll down to Help wanted, help given for more details. In fact, keep scrolling—there are all kinds of things animal to know about and a full list of rescues and shelters. Please contact [email protected] if you know of anything that should be added. Mostly, if you’re concerned about shelter animals, volunteering is one of the best ways to better their lives.

Virtually pets

Another excellent way to help shelter pets is to adopt one or more and take them home. Here are a few candidates all dressed up in their holiday schwetters and other finery. Adoptions are still conducted through appointment only, so call 562-570-PETS or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment. More information about shelter pets along with their adoption forms can be accessed here.

two mastiffs in Christmas scarves flank Santa Claus. Gifts and tree in the background.

Meet Emma (ID#A665727) and Elizabeth (ID#A665731), two dowagers working to maintain their dognity after their owner unceremoniously booted them out. They’re listed as 12 years old, but they might be younger. These gentlewomen are mellow and loving to anyone coming their way, whether kids or adults. At the moment, they’re considering the position of pulling Santa’s sleigh, but they’d much prefer it if they could spend the remainder of their golden years at one of the homes they stop off at. A large yard would be a bone-us.

Litttle brown dog sits on a white rug, turning to face the camera. She's wearing a sweater that says "I ate Santa's cookies."

If you look up ”serene” in the dictionary, you’ll find Olive‘s (ID#A666042) photo. Olive is a quiet, 10-year-old girl who would love nothing more than a stroll in the park and laying down at your feet. She has a sense of calmness about her and resembles a wise, experienced mentor that dishes out life advice. If you’re looking for a relaxed friend or know someone who, she’ll be a great fit with, please apply make an appointment to meet Olive!

little white dog in red Christmas vest stands on cement looking out into the world.

Lilliana (ID#A668049) is a 4-year-old who was reticent at first but more comfortable now. She loves to be held and to stroll around. She enjoys the song “Lean on Me” but keeps singing the wrong words—“lean on you.” Because that’s what she loves to do.

white dog wearing Santa hat and red vest stands on grass smiling at camera.

Reese has lived at the shelter longer than have any of the dogs—since March, in fact. That’s definitely not considered an accomplishment by volunteers and staff. Reese is a 3-year-old cattle dog/pit bull mix—a combination of curiosity, work ethic and tenacity. She’s an energetic girl that loves to play. She never had that kind, loving family to teach her the life skills she needed, but she’s relaxed, happy and loves attention from the many adoring volunteers that she knows. She was never properly socialized or trained before she came to us, so she is unsure of strangers, especially men, and can also become possessive of the toys she loves so much. One of her volunteer friends has set up a fund for her to attend a board-and-training program; if you’d like to contribute, access this link. Of course, if you think that you’re the person Reese needs in her life, please apply to adopt!

Festivities featuring fur friends

Graphic by Feline Good Social Club

Tinsel is for wrapping trees and gifts, and not intestines

 The staff and volunteers at Feline Good Social Club—the best playroom and event space ever for people who need a kitty fix—sent out the above Christmas cat caveat. Know that this applies to dogs as well, who probably won’t climb the tree but sure as sugarplums chew on everything. Tinsel is for wrapping around trees, and not on intestines.

Speaking of the Feline Good Social Club, they’re selling gift cards, which would be a great gift for someone who loves to interact with cats, even if they have their own at home (you can never have enough). Fur-thermore, many of the kitties are adoptable, so again, shlep a deserving human who wants a cat forever along with the aforementioned coupon. Way to celebrate!

Help wanted, help given

Long Beach Animal Care Services volunteer program resumes!

Save the Date! The shelter will have its first volunteer orientation in virtual form on Jan. 7–8! Anyone wanting to help animals become adoptable—and adopted—as well as returning volunteers wanting to brush up on their skills are invited to register here.

Volunteers of many stripes needed at Helen Sanders CatPAWS

Want to spend a few hours playing with cats? How about brightening the day of a bunch of senior citizens with kitten visits? Fostering cats because you aren’t sure you want to keep one but wish you could have one ever so briefly in your life (and yes, you could change your mind and keep them forever). Delivering pet food to needy shelters? Assembling do-it-yourself newborn-kitten-care kits, and maybe bottle-feeding a few? Kennel cleaning (whee!)? Lend a paw to CatPAWS—fill out the volunteer application at this link.

Volunteer walkers needed for senior citizens’ dogs

Ida’s Walkers is a program of The Heart of Ida, a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving the older-adult population in and around Long Beach. Ida’s Walkers offers dog-walking services to low-to-moderate-income seniors who are hospitalized, have limited mobility, or are at risk of falling. If you want to help senior citizens keep their beloved pets as long as they are able to live at home, call (562) 370-3548.

Fix Long Beach low-cost pet-services clinics: selected days and times, 1749 Magnolia Ave, Long Beach, services available by appointment at www.fixlongbeachpets.com.

Fix Long Beach is taking appointments for low-cost spay/neuter, dental, vaccines and other vet needs for cats and dogs. Vaccination clinics take place on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Visit their webpage or Facebook page for details.

DIY Kitten Care Kits available free at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Kitten season is still in bloom, and shelters and rescues are scrambling to save little lives, get them fixed, get them adopted. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. It is a natural reaction to want to help, to save them. But before you jump in, consider these steps outlined here. If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Spay/neuter vouchers available at shelter

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.

Spay/neuter appointments available at SNP/LA

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) offers free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. The San Pedro clinic will give shots between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. every third Thursday at 957 N. Gaffey St. Call (310) 574–5555 to see if you qualify for services.

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag

Pets of the Homeless’s 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 Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach; and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

In-furson events, etc.

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m.–7 p.m. .Sundays., Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

This adoption center is a much-needed satellite operation of Long Beach Animal Care Services. Julie and her team pull adoptable cats—”adoptable,” to these guys, means any cat in a shelter kennel! The team socializes the kitties until they’re adopted, which takes less time than you could imagine!

Helen Sanders CatPAWS adoption centers: viewable daily during store hours, playtime Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 3 p.m., PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach; Petco Marina Shores, 6500 Pacific Coast Highway, third Saturday of every month between 1 and 3 p.m., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

Window-shopping’s a neat pastime and likely has become more common during the pandemic. Helen Sanders CatPAWS has applied window-shopping to cat adoption; you can peer at several of the fine felines through the windows of the PetSmart adoption center in Seal Beach, and now, you can finally visit with them, scratch their little ears, and rub them under their chinny-chin-chins on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. Visitors to Petco Marina Shores every third Saturday of the month can see them running around their playpens and cuddle them, too. Volunteers will answer questions and provide you with adoption information! Be sure to wear a mask. You can find adoption applications and all the kitties here.

Fosters are needed everywhere!

blonde woman in blue shirt holds four kittens of various colors on a background of cabinetry.

Want a Kindle for Christmas? Jules Britton, who volunteers nearly everywhere there’s a cat, lovingly holds the foster kittens. Photo by Kate Karp

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. Fosters are needed for kittens as well. 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.”