The first listing of “volunteer” (noun form) in the trusty Merriam-Webster Collegiate reads “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.” The word “volunteers” in general brings to mind someone who raises their hand and says with resignation, “OK, all right, I’ll do it” when someone needs help moving a houseful of stuff or there’s a Scout troop short a leader.
The definition of “volunteer” falls way short in describing the ones in animal rescue. Volunteers at Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) go way beyond “willingness” in their devotion to the well-being of the cats, dogs and rabbits who live in the kennels and the Bunny Barn. These people consider a hopeful outcome for every animal and do far more than consider. They show up at the shelter several days a week—some of them daily—to walk dogs, socialize cats, clean litter boxes, pick up poop, crawl into kennels for deep cleaning, clean out the Bunny Barn and give the bunns their alfalfa, and do everything to make up for the fact that all the animals are in an unnatural situation of semicaptivity through no fault of their own.
LBACS volunteers try hard to work out possible solutions for the understaffed, cash-strapped city bureau and the animals in its section of the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, which LBACS shares with spcaLA, a privately funded shelter. They slap photos of adoptable pets along with clever, descriptive bios all over social media. They rally for animals with issues with the fervor of a crowd in Coney Island cheering on Joey Chestnut as he wolfs down wieners. They frantically seek out specialized rescues or veterinary funding for a dog with severe medical issues or a resting place for a senior cat who was overlooked because kittens are “cuter” or the number of years on the sofa was limited to a handful.
People who love their pets know well the comfort, joy, amusement and companionship an animal can bring into a life. Anyone who’s all the way into rescue knows that it has to work the opposite way as well. No one at LBACS or any other rescue worthy of the term will get cheesed off at me, I’m certain, for saying that they usually balance the scale toward the four- (or three-) legged creatures, from caring for them at the shelter to jubilantly finding a match for the best home. Here’s to the volunteers at Long Beach Animal Care Services, who are second to none except the animals they devote themselves to.
LBACS volunteers are inseparable from their proteges. Meet a few of the dogfellas (and females). The cat people will have their day, too, but it’s time for a doggie break.
Email [email protected] to adopt any of these dogs. They need to go home. They want to go home.
Colleen has been a very dedicated volunteer for over six years. She comes in every day in the mornings, except Monday, and stays until early afternoon.
Colleen has become enamored of Dallas, a lovely senior husky who was given up by his owners because of a medical problem that puts him at risk of euthanasia. He’s a lovely, sweet dog who could use a second chance. The volunteers have rallied around Dallas to get him medical help. Contact the shelter if you want to be an active member of Team Dallas. Photo by Dee Glick.
Pauline has been volunteering for the shelter for over six years. She’s the go-to person to work with dogs who are scared and shut down. Thanks to her, these anxious doggies are able to get adopted and out of the shelter much more quickly than they would have otherwise. “Pepper is 5 years old—her owner surrendered her in May because of separation anxiety,” Pauline said. “Pepper is an absolute love—beautiful, sweet, silly and playful. She enjoys rolling in the grass and getting belly rubs. She’s perfect walking on leash and loves to stop and say hello to everyone she meets.”
The volunteers and staff love Pepper, but she’ll need a patient human to help her become a trusting, happy soul and deal with separation anxiety. Pepper is also available to foster because she needs to be with a human. The shelter staff and volunteers will support any foster efforts, and they’ve offered to provide the support of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist to her foster home to help her become all she can be! Photo by Dee Glick
“I first began volunteering at LBACS in 2019,” Terry said. “I live in Long Beach with my husband, two teenage children and our dog, and I work as a curriculum developer for an academic nonprofit. I love reading, coffee and the New England Patriots (I was born and raised in the Boston area). I am happiest when I am active and outdoors—running, hiking, camping, and taking my dog, Potter, for long walks.”
Terry loves sweet Abigail, who was brought in as a stray in mid-May. “Abigail hasn’t let the challenges of life in the shelter dampen her naturally sunny disposition—just look at her smile!” Terry said. “Abigail loves people, loves getting out for walks, and loves pets, scratches and belly rubs. She just radiates positive energy. She’s about 4 years old and is an athletic gal. With proper guidance, that energy and athleticism could make her a standout on an agility course!” Photo by Mary Augugliaro
If you’re familiar with the LBACS Facebook page or hung around the shelter during the palmier prepandemic period, you’re sure to have seen Gary and his ‘stache in the company of one or another of the shelter’s dogs. Gary is considered by many of the volunteers as LBACS’s number-one volunteer. He spends four days a week all day at the shelter heading the pilot program, which covers dogs who need special handling. He’s the shelter’s go-to guy for virtually anything—and he’s been there only about three years!
Gary wants you to meet Rubeus, a 6-year old guy who was intimidating at first but has turned into a fine fellow who likes to play. If he could speak aside from “Arf,” he’d say, “Thanks, Gary ol’ pal, for showing me how great it can be!” Video by Dee Glick
Just fur fun and fur-ther education
Cat Video Fest 2021: time varies, Friday, July 23–Saturday, July 29, Cinelounge Sunset, 6464 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, $20
No, it’s not hyperlocal, but it’s cats, so it’s OK. The annual compilation of the latest and best cat videos from submissions, sourced animations, music videos and the internet returns to a real, live theater, with clawable cushy seats. The Fest raises money for felines in need through partnerships with local charities and shelters, so even if you’re not sure you’ll go in or out or nap on the couch, purchase a ticket, available here.
Sound Healing, presented by Illuminate Life: 4:30–6 p.m. Friday, July 30, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $30, buy tickets here
Unless your cat’s a water freak, you probably haven’t taken a bath with them. Sound baths—well, different story. Join Illuminate Life and a kindle of kitties for a relaxing 45-minute Sound Bath, and afterward, you’ll have a bonus sound bath of purring and light meows with the Feline Good Social Club cats! What a way to cultivate your inner contentedness! Feline Good Social Club asks everyone to arrive up to 10 minutes early. Bring mats, blankets and pillows, and dress for comfort.
Community Pet-Wellness Event: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, July 31, Los Angeles County Development Authority, 851 Via Carmelitos, Long Beach, free
When a bunch of animal rescues and advocates get together and collaborate, it’s bound to be a bone-us for pets and their people! If the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your ability to afford food and wellness care for your pets, if you’ve had difficulty getting an appointment at your regular vet, if you don’t know where to turn for help, this canine and kitty conglom is here for you! The City of Long Beach Animal Care Services and other local rescues and animal-welfare organizations are pooling resources and talent to help the community. Pet-pantry resources will be available, and a limited number of appointments for free vaccines, flea meds and microchips—sign up here. Priority will be given to residents of Long Beach and cities serviced by LBACS. If spaces are available, appointments will be given to visitors outside the service area. Furry, flea free and completely free to you!
Help wanted, help given
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 here and shelters and rescues will be scrambling to save their 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. 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) is back in business for 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
Pet Food Express, a privately owned California chain of pet-supply stores specializing in quality products and community service, is collecting monetary donations to ease financial burdens suffered by many California families struggling because of financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign aims to donate 100,000 pounds of FirstMate dog food to pet-food banks to help hundreds of families worried about being able to provide for their beloved furry roommates.
“Food banks are essential,” said Megan Kniepkamp, Pet Food Express’ community outreach manager. “They reduce the risk of a returned pet to an already overtaxed rescue and shelter system by offsetting the cost of necessary pet care. We want struggling pet owners to know that there is free help available to keep their pets fed, cared for and with them at their home.”
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 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 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 fur-son events
Helen Sanders CatPAWS celebrates PetSmart’s National Adoption Week: Friday, July 23; Saturday, July 24; and Sunday, July 25, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, adoption fees apply.
Volunteers will be there to meet adopters at this big event, although the cats and kittens will likely beat them to it. Lots of surprises on hand aside from those silly, affectionate kitties, and Helen Sanders CatPAWS will receive a cash award for every adoption held, which will help them save even more cats!
Friends of Long Beach Animals sponsors Jellicle Cat adoption fees through July
Looking for the perfect cat or kitten? Friends of Long Beach Animals will sponsor adoption fees for Jellicle Cats Rescue Foundation (as you know, they’re small) during the month of July. Check out the available cuteness here.
Little Lion Foundation offers special adoption rates for cats over 6 months old.
Everyone seems to want kittens, but older cats already are who they are, and they also richly deserve forever homes. The Little Lion Foundation will send home a snuggly adolescent or adult for half the usually charged adoption fee. See all of the eligible kitties here, fill out an application (or two) here, and fall in love with your new best friend!
Long Beach Animal Care Services Pick of the Litter month, through July 31
Don’t miss your chance to adopt a kitten, or an adult cat, or a sweet, sweet senior! Many cats and kittens are available for adoption, and they are going to new homes fast! Email Long Beach Animal Care Services at [email protected] to make an appointment to bring home your new, pointy-eared best friend. Adoption fees are waived; all other procedures are still in place.
Adoptees on display
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 center: viewable daily during store hours, PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal 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. 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.
Links to lovables
Nota bon-e—fosters are needed everywhere!
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.
- Bunny Bunch
- Cat Cove
- Friends of Long Beach Animals
- Fix Long Beach
- Foreverhome Pet Rescue, Inc.
- Feline Good Social Club
- Helen Sanders CatPAWS
- House of Broken Cookies
- Jellicle Cats Foundation
- Little Lion Foundation
- Live Love Animal Rescue
- Long Beach Animal Care Services
- Long Beach Spay & Neuter Foundation
- Newborn Feline Rescue
- Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center
- SAFE Rescue Team
- Seal Beach Animal Care Center
- Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue
- Stray Cat Alliance
- Wrigley Kittens
- Zazzy Cats
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