Interfaith Blessing of the Animals is on Sunday, here’s the Long Beach rescues working miracles

This Sunday, Oct. 3, Haute Dogs will present its annual Interfaith Blessing of the Animals, blessedly in person this time and with every animal species that can safely make it. Animals who stay at home or who have left for the Rainbow Bridge can still receive blessings if their human brings a collar, a photo or a favorite toy.

Community leader Justin Rudd (he won in that category of the Best of Long Beach 2021 awards) organizes the blessing every year. Before the animals fortunate enough to have loving homes line up for their humans’ selected minister, Rudd always asks for moments of silence for the souls of every animal, domestic or otherwise, populating the oceans and the wild, left hungry and sick on streets, living on farms and ranches, euthanized in shelters, abused and killed in their homes, and lost forever in fires and other disasters.

Many of the thousands of cats wandering streets, alleys and parks, becoming ill and breeding thousands more unwanted animals, desperately need blessings. Sometimes, they get them in reality in the form of volunteers with unflagging determination, who set out with traps baited with stinky, fishy food and equipped with other trapping accessories. They capture as many cats as they possibly can and any kittens tagging along, get them spayed and neutered, and find fosters and adopters for the sociable ones and release the ones who would rather not.

Getting enough cats fixed to make a difference is like making monthly payments on the national debt—there are too many cats and not enough trappers or support. But cat trappers are like any dauntless human motivated by their beliefs—giving up is not an option. Recently, Zazzy Cats Kitty Rescue’s founder, Roni Naccarato, rounded up a few friends who in turn rounded up almost 70 stray cats and got them all fixed. Of the bunch, 14 were sent to rescues and the others went back to their lives on their own terms, as Roni put it.

Sometimes, blessings border on miraculous. Purr Manor, hospice and group forever home for cats who are considered “unadoptable”—or better said, adoption challenges—is a division of Zazzy Cats. It’s currently under construction, but cats are already taking refuge there. Sunny here is 15 years old and has medical and dental issues. He was left at a shelter outside Long Beach and would likely have died there if Zazzy Cats hadn’t pulled him. Purr Manor is located in Colorado, so Sunny will have the chance to heal and ditch that moth-eaten coat for a thick, shiny parka.

“We saved lives, and there’s not a better feeling than that,” Roni said. “Sending off the ones we can to rescues is a great feeling. On the other hand, releasing them has a roller-coaster of emotions. We know we did right by them fixing them, but at the same time we have to put them back out there. The wanting-to-save-them-all thought process gets really messed up there, but we do what we can, and that’s the best we can do.”

As said, doing nothing is not an option. That is, indeed, a blessing.

Virtually pets

Some of Zazzy Cats’ best are featured right here, ready to go from rags to riches. Follow this link to adopt any of these cats and to view others,. Click here to donate to Zazzy Cats and Purr Manor.

Tortoiseshell cat with light-color chest sits tall and looks upward

This is Doris, a lovely adult about 1 ½ years old. She’s a little shy at first, but after she gets to know you, she’s super-duper friendly and outgoing. She loves attention and petting, and she’s also very athletic and loves to play at her most intense!

 

brown tabby in kennel, sitting on brown shelf, looks at audience

Lovely Luna is another grownup, about 1 ½ years old. She’s sweet, outgoing and affectionate—being petted is her favorite thing! People make her very happy, and she loves to be the apple of their eye and queen of the castle, as she doesn’t like to share her people with other cats. Small dogs might be OK with her, because she doesn’t consider them quite the challenge!

 

big-eared brown tabby with white chest and paws sits on a cat tree and looks outward.

Scar is a little wild one. He loves to play, especially with toy mice or balls, and with those ears, he’ll hear you coming before you reach the backdoor. His foster thinks that he might have been a soccer player in another life. He’s definitely an athlete, as shown by his prowess in climbing cat trees, with a hefty massage after! Scar is 5 months old and has four siblings: Pal, Mary-Kate, Ashley and Ivy. Check them all out on the link above.

 

silver tabby lies on white bedspread and looks soulfully outwrad.

Marylou is a mellow cat who likes head scratches—sometimes. She’s not a needy girl, but she does love to hang out with people. She likes to play a little, too. Her foster mom says that Marylou is “the perfect cat companion.” She’d love another mellow cat as company, particularly when there’s no human at home!

 

And hey, it’s October already . . .

huge-eyed little black cat peers out from behind a white chair on a wood floor

“I feel there is nothing evil about a black cat—I think people really have just blown the myths out of proportion,” Roni said regarding black cats and Halloween. “I can honestly say I have only come across one black cat since doing rescue that was not a nice cat, but she had a brain injury so I don’t fault her for it. We still have her and will ’til the day she dies.” Roni said that she sees black cats as pure magic, “and the finest magic at that. They have a way to just get into your soul and just spellbind you. I think it’s an honor for anyone to have a black cat. I have had several cats in my lifetime and the black ones have always been the best.” Here’s your chance to have a black kitten grow up with you. Her name’s Gigi. She’s friendly and gentle and has peepers that’ll be fun to wake up to as they stare at you, hinting at breakfast.

 

Things that go bump in the night (actually, it’s Tigger knocking the phone off the nightstand again)

Howloween Hoedown: 4-9 p.m, Saturday, Oct. 23, Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, suggested $25 donation

Bring your doggies, bring yourself, and have a great time in hounds of Hellish fashion!

Vegan goodies—sorry, zombies, but no brains—and a dessert bar, sounds from the great Corday, trick-or-treat (mainly treat) swag bag for you and your costumed pooch and a live marionette show! What’s scarier than clowns but people dancing on strings into your face! Reserve a table by contacting [email protected].

Haute Dogs Howl’oween Parade: 12:30 p.m. until the last pumpkin drops, Sunday, Oct. 31, Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St., Long Beach, registration and seat-purchase information here.

The world’s largest Halloween pet event, according to those in the know, is back—and it’s on the actual Halloween! There are all kinds of prizes for humans and dogs (you can probably get by dressing up a cat or a pig) along with an adoption fair, a vendor fair and of course, the parade, in which over 450 dogs, including floats, are expected to participate. Spectators are welcome—you can bring your own chair and watch for free or reserve one for $10. This event also has the world’s largest set of details, so please click the link above for all of them. Note: Haute Dogs’ policy is to treat people with honor, dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs, gender, age, race, creed, sexual orientation, special needs and ethnicity. In this respect, no Native American costumes will be permitted.

Just fur fun and fur-ther education

Pets of all stripe, spot, scale and plume will gather at Rosie’s Dog Beach on Sunday for a blessing. Scroll down for details.

Paint and Purrs fundraising event: 5:30-7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $45 per person, purchase tickets here.

Set free your inner Meowndrian at the Feline Good Social Club’s “Me and My Cat Over the Rainbow” social night. Participants will create a themed painting in the company of the best muses ever: the Club’s adoptable cats. All funds from the event go toward maintaining the club and its residents so that they may continue to thrive and inspire. Face masks for humans are mandatory.

Haute Dogs Interfaith Blessing of the Animals: 5:45 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Granada Beach’s concrete boat ramp next to Rosie’s Dog Beach, 1 Granada Ave., Long Beach, free; parking is free after 6 p.m.

“It’s important to recognize and honor the great bond and relationship between pets and their people,” said Justin Rudd, who founded the Interfaith Blessing of the Animals. And so, humans and their families are invited to bring their furry, feathery, scaly, gilly and whatever they were born with to be blessed by any of a variety of interfaith ministers, including Fr. Michael Reardon, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church; Pastor Samuel Nieva, Pueblo de Dios Lutheran Church, Compton; Rev. Ava Park, Goddess Temple of Orange County, Irvine; Rev. Dr. David Clark, Bay Shore Church; and Rabbi Scott Fox, Temple Israel, Long Beach.

Make sure that dogs and large lizards are leashed or secured and that cats, rabbits, pocket pets, spiders and anything crawly are in some kind of secure carrier. If your pet has passed, is ill or prefers to stay home, bring a collar, a toy or a photo that represents them—they can participate in that way. Everything from Lab to llama has received blessing at this beautiful event—not that they need blessing, but it sure makes their humans feel blessed to have loved and been loved by an animal. More information available here.

Sound Healing fundraising event: 4 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $30 per person, purchase tickets here.

Bring your yoga mat, blanket, pillow, water bottle and anything else you need to keep you comfy and experience the healing effects of the sounds and vibrations of tonal instruments as cats wander around, over and on you. You can adopt one of these kitties and experience daily the best sound healing ever—purring. Wear comfortable clothing; masks are mandatory for humans.

Best Friends’ Strut Your Mutt fundraising event: details and events here.

Ready to start building a team or just strut your stuff solo? Best Friends, a nationwide organization whose intent is to save every animal life possible, has started its registration for its Oct. 23 Strut Your Mutt Day virtual walk. The goal is to raise $2 million for both the organization and animal shelters and rescues nationwide. Access this link for instructions on how to build your team or register yourself, and participate in virtual events such as pig yoga and meeting the animals at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as you move along the timeline. Mutts and all manner of mammals will thank you!

Comedy and Cats: 8-9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $25, reserve your seat here.

The Salty AF crew of comedians and the Lounge cats will wrestle for the microphone and spotlight in which the only competitive element is who’s funnier, cats or comics. The group cannot wait for another bout with the kitties.

Calendars: 365 days of furry love

2022 Seal Beach Animal Care Center Calendar Contest: entries and votes accepted through 11:59 p.m., Oct. 22, enter here.

Only $1 needed to enter your cat or dog into SBACC’s contest. Votes start at $1 (5 vote minimum). You enter and vote for your best friend and then encourage your family and friends to cast votes for them. People can vote as many times as they want.

Two separate calendars, one for the cats and one for the dogs, will feature your pets, and the top 13 dogs and top 13 cats (with the most votes) will be showcased in the calendars, with the first-place of each species as the cover guy or girl. Thumbnail photos of all entrants will be featured in the calendars, even if the pets are not in the top 13.

Help wanted, help given

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? Care to foster cats because you aren’t sure you want to keep one but wish you could have one ever so briefly in your life? Deliver pet food to needy shelters? Assemble do-it-yourself newborn-kitten-care kits, and maybe bottle-feeding a few? Clean a kennel? If so, please 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 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 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

a pile of pet food and pet accessories

Residents in need will benefit from the generosity of the community members that provided all this pet food. Photo courtesy of Friends of Long Beach Animals.

Pets of the Homeless’s homepage 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. 7th 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 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. 3rd St., Long Beach, Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

In-furson events

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

Leslie, Leighton’s new foster, is taking him home to ready him for adoption. Photo by Kate Karp

 

Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin: 10 a.m.–2 p.m., second Saturday of each month, Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach; 10 a.m.–2 p.m., last Saturday of each month, VBurger, 420 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

The shelter’s favorite glamping vehicle for cats and dogs has been making the scene twice a month. Adopt at the locations and find either everything you need for your pet or a fine vegan lunch.

 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. 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 Hwy., third Saturday of every month from 1-3 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.

Nota bon-e—fosters are needed everywhere!

two dogs and a cat on one border, two cats and two dogs on other. Caption says, "May we couch-surf at your place?"

May we couch-surf at your place?

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.”
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