Pet Food Express Pet Fair returns in hybrid mode

The 2022 Pet Food Express Pet Fair is back in hybrid form, with more links to follow than a case of Beyond Sausage.

Pet Food Express is a small, privately owned pet food and accessories group of stores operating throughout California. PFE was the dreampup of founders Mike Levy and Mark Witriol, who met at a Daly City events venue sort of appropriately called the Cow Palace. They became fast friends. Mark’s retail savvy and Mike’s dedicated advocacy of pets and feeding them only things that are good for them combined to create a successful business that champions pets and of course, sells only things that are good for them. Exploring their homepage is like a day at the Smithsonian, except with barking, meowing and whatever sounds rabbits make.

PFE also offers services like DIY dog bathing, online education and adoption, and connections to local communities with events like the Pet Fair.

“We’ve taken the event that was once only in person at the Alameda County Fairgrounds to an incredibly robust virtual fair where our reach is statewide,” said Mike Murray, PFE’s director of community relations. “We’re really excited to host the Pet Food Express Pet Fair virtually and in-person again this year!”

Murray said that last year’s online platform extended a reach to other communities, offering education from pet experts and extending support to a great number of rescues and shelters. The 2021 virtual Fair yielded well over $140,000 in donations to participating rescues and shelters, growing PFE’s rescue partnership to about 120 rescues.

Most importantly, many animals found homes—5,662 animals at last year’s fair.

“We’re highlighting a growing number of pets in need of new homes—over 5,000 this year,” Murray said.

The 2021 event had a hybrid structure that comprise a virtual monthlong fair and in-person adoption events. This year, PFE took what worked from last year and added more in-person opportunities. This year at all the stores, dogs can sample fresh food, and people can meet adoptable pets from local rescues and shelters and also attend seminars with interesting topics. The full event schedule for all stores is available at this link—to find any location in California, use the Find function on your device.

The seminars include everyday topics like dog training, fostering, the importance of spay/neuter, and CBD-oil use, which has become ubiquitous in recent years. Some unique ones include keeping chinchillas as pets and helping initially fearful cats overcome anxiety—it’s called Hisses to Kisses. If you want someone to keep you company and love you no matter what daft things you say or do, check out the Find Your Friend link. You can designate species, fur pattern, gender, age. It beats heck out eHarmony—who knows, maybe they’ll cobble one together for pets to choose humans from.

At the in-person events, you can meet the pets in furson. Long Beach’s PFE is located at 4220 Long Beach Blvd., conveniently next to Trader Joe’s, where you can get your own treats if you want them. (A second Long Beach location has been dangled like a catnip toy for residents in the eastern part of the city since around June, and it looks ready to pounce, but if you’re familiar with Second Street, you’re also familiar with summer openings happening in February of the following year.)

This year’s in-person weekend takes place Sept. 24 and 25 at the Bixby Knolls location and in other PFE stores. Pets from area rescues will be waiting there for their new homes, and your own dog or cat can try handmade, imported (yet!) treats from Icelandic+ from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 25. Lamb horn with marrow, anyone? Ljúffengur!

Virtually pets

So far, Ozzie and Friends Rescue will be at the Bixby Knolls store Saturday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with their dogs, and The Little Lion Foundation will show up with kitties on Sept. 25, noon to 4 p.m. The Cat Cove Rescue, a bunch of street-and-alley TNR warriors, might show up—hope they do, but in case they don’t, you can meet these guys at rescue’s link above as well. Adoption applications are available here.

orange kitten sits sideways in a green laundry basket , with a black cat outside the basket in an identical posture.

One, two, three and “awwwwww!” Dunkin and Squeak are 6-month-old boys who need to be adopted together. They are very active and are dog friendly, but they love attention from people as well!

white cat with black sides to head and an oddblack splotch across her nose and traveling up its bridge sites, on a cat tree, with crossed paw over other

Tinker is a handsome 3-year-old boy with unique facial makeup. He loves attention and will enjoy long, meaningful conversations with you. Tinker has long, beautiful fur that he enjoys getting brushed and is a sucker for cat treats! He’d love being an only kitty!

The Pet Food Express Pet Fair is also a perfect time to give its Cat Adoption Center some love and profile. Bixby Knolls is one of several Pet Food Expresses throughout California to have permanent full-service Cat Adoption Centers inside the store. There, you can meet cats in three-story condos, all of whom lap up medical care, meals and playtime from volunteers.

The cats at the center are transfers from Long Beach Animal Care Services. If they have any anthropomorphic thought processes at all, they’re probably mighty glad to be there. Bixby Knolls’ adoption center is run by Scottish superstorm Julie Somers, who’s able to be in three or four places at once, dashing about sorta like a cat.

Whether you come to the Pet Fair or go just to shop, check the center out. The condos are separated by a Plexiglas enclosure, leaving the cats fully in view. To adopt any of them, fill in the application form available at a table in front of the center.

huge orange cat with white mask, legs and feet tries to fit into a round bed. A red-and-yellow cat grab-it toy is behind him

Royal Reggie is 2 years old and is special to the little white tips of his orange ears. Reggie would love a home to himself. As you can see, he does his best to fit in.

bldnde woman with glasses looks to the right and smiles broadly as she holds an enormous multicolored cat

Mochi‘s presence in the Cat Adoption Center is the result of a conga line of Good Samaritans. He was found ragged and starving behind a bank building. He was then handed over to another mentor, who got him cleaned up, and then got the attention of Julie, shown in the photo, who installed him in his temporary home. As you can see, he’s a big hunk of love—big for his age at only 2 years old!

brown tabby with white paws, white big and huge ears sits bowlling-pin style and looks to left.

Eeeeee! Brown-tabby alert! Warren is a 5-year-old male, sweet as can be, with ears that’ll hear you coming blocks away. He’ll be at the door, ready to play or be fed!

A helping paw

Adoption event and charity drive benefitting local rescues: through Sept. 30, information available for Long Beach here

Coldwell Banker Realty is again holding a celebration of our furry friends in support of the Homes for Dogs Project. You have the option to deliver supplies to a participating office or make a monetary donation online. Local Realtor and animal advocate Jennifer Peterson is making it easy for everyone by reaching out and offering free in-person pickup of stuff or at your own house. Call Jennifer at 818-203-5234 for details. Of course, if you’re ready to take the leap, they’re also hosting adoption events so you can bring home a new family member. Coldwell is collecting pet items such as bowls, clean bath towels, pet-safe cleaning products, unopened pet food, newborn milk replacement and, of course, toys. Donations to the Long Beach and Seal Beach offices (see link) will benefit K9 Kismet Dog Rescue, Long Beach Animal Care Services and Seal Beach Animal Care Services.

Pet License Amnesty extended to Dec. 31

The city of Long Beach has extended the fee and penalty waivers for pet licenses to Dec. 31. Anyone living in the highlighted Community Development Block grant neighborhoods, as shown on the above map, may request a waiver by phone at 562-570-7387, by applying by mail at 7700 E. Spring St., or in person at the shelter. The waiver program is not available online. Visit this link for license requirements. Call 562-570-7387 for additional information.

Great furballs of fun!

Pet Food Express-district manager Jim Zayac stands with his dog, Lou, between shelves of good-smelling food. Lou, however, seems more enchanted with his human. Photo courtesy of Pet Food Express

Pet Food Express Pet Fair, online at this link through Sept. 30, with in-store live weekend Sept. 24–25, free.

The pet-supply store that carries only food with high-quality ingredients and every accessory your best buddy needs has announced the dates for this year’s Pet Food Express Pet Fair. The Fair will follow a hybrid model—you’ll be able to adopt online from local shelters and rescues throughout September on the Pet Fair page and also in person at the big Live Weekend, featuring pets from local rescues, taking place Sept 24 and 25. Stay tuned for more information about the new location opening in Belmont Shore!

CatPAWS’ Le Chic Cat Soiree fundraiser: Saturday, Oct. 15, 5:30 p.m., Navy Golf Course Seal Beach: Bldg. 800, 5660 Orangewood Ave., Cypress, general admission $175, VIP tickets and full tables also available

 Slip on your fanciest cat suit or your tie and tails—tails in particular—and join Helen Sanders CatPAWS at their most glamorous! Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet and dessert, silent and live auction items, and a presentation featuring an overview of CatPAWS programs, lives saved and lives changed, and salute to adopters. Guest emcee Meg DeLoatch will preside over the fur-stivities. All funds raised will go toward saving so many more!

Strut Your Mutt

Best Friends Strut Your Mutt: Saturday, Oct. 22, 9–11 a.m., Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, or virtually at this link from 8 a.m.–4 p.m., $20 registration fee

Put on your walking shoes or strap on a virtual pair, and get ready to step up, step out and save lives! Strut Your Mutt, the fundraising walk that saves lives of dogs and cats across the country—is back in the flesh and fur in select cities after an interruption by COVID-19 last year. Although live events were canceled virtual Strut Your Mutt participants raised $1.45 million for homeless pets! Your participation helps to reach Best Friends’ goal of becoming no-kill nationwide by 2025. Registration includes an official 2022 Strut Your Mutt event T-shirt, and the money you raise, including your registration fee, goes directly to Best Friends’ adoption candidates—cats and dogs, of course, and also horses, birds, rabbits and pigs—or to your favorite local participating animal welfare organization. Fundraising runs through Oct. 31. Access this link for details.

Foster for awhile—or furever!
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?

Long Beach Animal Care Services has expanded adoption hours as follows: Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests are welcome to browse until closing. To speed up any adoption process, email [email protected]. To foster, email [email protected].

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.

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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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