In the space of a few days, animals and the people who love them were deprived of two heroes, one beloved worldwide and the other locally. As a final kick in our collective tuchus just to remind us how nasty last year was, Betty White died sometime Dec. 31, the end of the dang year, and Betty wasn’t allowed to celebrate her 100th birthday this month. She was reportedly looking forward to it.

A few days earlier, sometime between Dec. 21 and 22, a pillar of the local pet community lost her life to apparent heart failure. We lost her life, too, although the good works she did as a board member of Friends of Long Beach Animals and a supporter of the Long Beach K9 Officers Association will last.

Maybe not coincidentally, their efforts conflated in 2001 at the dedication ceremony of the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, for which White helped raised funds and where the presence of both women was felt. The Village, located at 7500 E. Spring St., houses both spcaLA and Long Beach Animal Care Services.


Betty White dead at 99

This week’s Scratching Post adoption column is in their honor. It features pets of several shelters and rescues that work their passion for animals in the way that White and Vaughan did. You can honor them both by adopting or fostering one of the cats or dogs, or pass the word on about the rescues.

To further honor Shirley Vaughan, donate to Friends of Long Beach Animals. Betty White’s 100th birthday would have been on Jan. 17. To donate in her honor on that day, scroll to the end of this column and chose one (or more) of the rescues there, click the link, and hit the donate button.

So—the pets:

Virtually pets

 Long Beach Animal Care Services, by appointment only, email [email protected]

 Both Vaughan and White’s pawprints are firmly embedded in the heart, soul and structure of Long Beach’s animal shelter, White’s in her fund-raising and support and Vaughan’s in the decades of proactiveness and generosity. Both had an absolute love for animals and worked for their rights and the best possible outcome for each one.

Vaughan cofounded Friends of Long Beach Animal Shelter, later to become Friends of Long Beach Animals, in 1989. Among the goals of the new organization were supporting the needs, medical and otherwise, of the animals in the Long Beach shelter. She was a constant presence at the shelter and spent some time as an employee as well.

Volunteer Susan Schulberg recalled how she and Vaughan would pick out adult cats to display for adoption in a veterinarian’s office, where they allowed kennel space.

“She was so full of life!” added former volunteer Pamala Machado. “The shelter was truly her home. She will be very much missed.”

Author and humane educator Deborah Turner met Betty White at an event several years ago at the city shelter. Both she and White were making an event appearance, Turner with her paraplegic Chihuahua, Wheely Willy of storybook fame.

“As soon as she laid her eyes on my tiny dog, she was smitten,” Turner said. “She asked if she could pick him up and almost simultaneously swooped him up into her arms. With eyes tearing, she said to me, ‘Please tell me not to cry.’”

black and white photo of Betty White itting with a little dog on her lap. A typewritten letter is next to her

Turner and White kept in touch. White was so moved by “How Willy Got His Wheels,” an award-winning children’s book about defeating challenges, that she wrote the foreword to the sequel, “How Willy Got His Wings.” Photo courtesy of Deborah Turner


Arlo could use some of that Vaughan/White wind beneath his haunches. Huskies need space and lots of activity, and Arlo is a typical young husky. He’s 1 year old and very sweet, and he has lots of that energy. He also needs out—he’s been at the shelter since September and is not doing well. He’s very thin. Arlo needs a human with experience with and knowledge about this breed as well as an active lifestyle.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS, adoption application and photos of available cats accessible here

Helen Sanders CatPAWS exists to carry on the memory and works of another animal warrior. Helen Sanders was a familiar fixture as she pedaled her velocipede-like vehicle through Seal Beach to tend to the feral cats who lived among the jetties. At the time of her untimely death from cancer in 2015, the number of sandcats had reduced from about 30 to 8, thanks to Sanders’ spay/neuter efforts and her belief that every feline should have a good life.

CatPAWS’ cofounder, Deborah Felin, greatly admired Betty White’s character and was saddened by her death. “Her body, which is after all, only a machine, wore out as machines do. But she never grew old, retaining a sense of wonder, gentle mischief, hope and compassion throughout her life,” Felin said.

two side-by-side photos of a black-and-white cat in a red collar. The cat has a white chin, vest and paws. HE's lying, one foreleg stretched down, on a cat tree in the first photo and sitting up on a rug, bowling-pin fashion, in the second
Ronan surely deserves a good life, and not just because he’s beautiful. He’s a handsome young gentleman who talks a lot. He’s very vocal about this thoughts throughout the day and always provides a warm greeting to all humans. His striking, long white whiskers top off his dashing black-and-white tuxedo. He should get along swimmingly in a house with faucets, because he loves to play with water!


Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue, [email protected]

“Shirley was a great help in getting animals adopted to the general public [during her years at the shelter,” Louise Montgomery said. “Coincidentally, Shirley was at the grand opening of SPCALA with Betty White as a guest speaker. If it was Long Beach and anything to do with animals, you could count on Shirley to be there, rain or shine, in sickness or in health. She was always a ray of sunshine, this world was a much better place with her in it.”

Louise Montgomery is part of the Sparky and the Gang team and a longtime volunteer with many things animal. She met Vaughan when she volunteered at Long Beach Animal Care Services and Vaughan was working for the city. Since then, Montgomery had Vaughan’s mentorship in many ways, and the mentorship was reciprocal. Vaughan helped set up Montgomery’s original rescue group Animal Match Rescue Team to air on the bygone The Pet Place television show, and Montgomery worked with Vaughan on many of the Friends of Long Beach Animals fundraising events.

“Heaven has taken an Earth Angel and given her wings,” Montgomery said. “In my broken heart, I know that Shirley and Betty are probably organizing an event to promote kindness towards animals. You can bet that neither of them have a hair out of place.”

small, black German shepherd mix sits up on tile floor, her head cocked to one side and her tongue hanging out. She wears a parti-color collar.
Our Hanna was rescued from a backyard. She is just under a year old, and the other pups she came in with were 4 months old. They’ve all been adopted, leaving poor Hanna alone. Hanna is is a spunky, sweet, mischievous, darling pup that will put a smile on your face. She has a sunny disposition and is always up for a walk or toys. To apply for Hanna, please contact us at the email address above.


spcaLA, adoption applications are available on each pet’s photo

spcaLA is a private shelter located on either side of the shelter at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village that Betty White helped to build.

“Betty White is a beloved friend and partner to spcaLA,” said Ana Bustiloz, spcaLA’s communications and marketing director. “She has been our Friend for Life since the 1940s, and so it was no surprise she came to our aid when we set out to build the Village. She actively fundraised for this groundbreaking endeavor and donated to its construction as well. It was our honor to have Betty present for the Village’s grand opening in 2001.”

Here’s Amy, from spcaLA.

brindle akita mix with white paws and wearing pink color rubs her muzzle on a blue ball. There is a plant in the background.
Amy is a smart 76 pound akita mix who enjoys learning new things. She is so eager to please! She can be a little timid meeting new people but soon gets comfortable—especially with treats! She’s been working on her obedience skills while she waits for “the one.” She yearns for an engaged and adventurous home where she can be spoiled as the only dog.


Zazzy Cats Kitty Rescue, adoption info andeven more cats here

Zazzy Cats is a nonprofit rescue focused on high-risk cats and pregnant momcats-to-be. The rescue is also fundraising for Purr Manor, a cat sanctuary and hospice for cats considered unadoptable and with severe medical issues. Their founder, Roni Naccarato, and their board secretary, Laura Altmann, mourn Vaughan and White and greatly appreciate their impact on animal rescue and welfare.

“Shirley was a big part of saving the lives of many cats in Long Beach,” Naccarato said. “She was extremely helpful to the people in the community with getting their pets the assistance they needed. And Betty White—wow! She’s a big reason why we have such a big animal community in Long Beach.”

“People of all ages have such great love and respect for Betty White’s work as an actor but also admire her work as an animal-welfare advocate,” Altmann added. “She was one of the first celebrities to help put animal rights and welfare in the spotlight. Her passion to help animals has paved the way for many of us who are trying to do our part to help make a difference in rescue.”

Meet one of the little Zazzys: Serj!

black cat with white chest and paws and huge ears sits on a blanket decorated with colorful flowers and stares at the camera.
Hi! My name is Serj, and I’m a teenage 10 months old! As you can see, I can hear everything for miles. Are you looking for a cat that likes to snuggle and cuddle? I tend to lay with my foster mom, nuzzle my face into hers, and purr really loud. I love being cradled, and I will fall asleep in your arms. I love playing and chasing my toys, too. If you are interested in learning more about me, please fill out an application!


SAFE Rescue Team, adoption application here

“Betty was a trailblazer and brought so much needed light and attention to animal welfare,” said SAFE Rescue Team Founder Markelle Pineda. “One of my favorite quotes: ‘If everyone took personal responsibility for their animals, we wouldn’t have a lot of the animal problems that we do. I’m a big spay-and-neuter supporter. Don’t have babies if you’re not going to take care of those babies. We don’t need more.’”

Tan Chihuahua with enormous ears sits in a beige bed looking at the camera.

This is Jimmy. The shelter reached out to us to see if we could help this scared little 9-month-old nugget. We sprung him because some amazing foster said yes, I can take him for a while! (Jimmy also will have no problem hearing with those antennae!)

House of Broken Cookies, adoption application here

If anyone goes above and beyond in the spirits of Shirley Vaughan and Betty White, it’s the people from House of Broken Cookies. This rescue takes in only special-needs cats—blind cats, cats with fewer than four limbs, cats with deformities—gets them the specific care they need, and get them adopted! As they said, broken cookies taste as sweet.

“It takes special people with a passion for protecting animals, who have positions of influence within the community to help rescues do what rescues do best, save lives,” says Jenn, the founder. “Special people like Betty White and Shirley Vaughan and their devotion to educate, defend animal welfare and their continuous support of rescues such as ours.” Jenn oughta know—she’s the expert there.


two blind cats, a tabby patch and a brown tabby, stand on a table. The tabby patch is licking the brown tabby.
Say cheese! Blink and Hawkeye, looking good and ready to take on the world! These sweet babies are the best of friends and are on the search for their forever family. They see the world through their hearts and are the most loving duo. Blink and Hawkeye were rescued from the Long Beach shelter with severe eye infections. We fortunately were able to rescue them literally days before a panleuk lockdown.They are an amazing pair and are quite ready to get on with a new adventure in life! They love to explore and are very adept at figuring out their surroundings. These two are happy, active, affectionate kittens (now teenagers), and they are in search of for their forever home! Blink and Hawkeye are a bonded pair and will have to be adopted together! But aren’t two blind kitties better than one!? They’re cuddly and playful and will absolutely melt your heart. They thrive on attention from their humans and like to be held and cuddled all day. They can’t see the bright future ahead of them, but they can certainly feel it! Are you special enough to be their forever? They would love to find out. Apply today!


Wrigley Kittens

Wrigley Kittens is a group of rescuers, doing the work in the best way possible—through a bunch of independent rescuers, TNR folks and fosters. Their founder, Kelly Lopes, met Shirley Vaughan at the shelter, and Shirley had offered Kelly some help. Kelly introduces the fluffy little Henry.

Gray cat with white chest and paws lies on a Hello Kitty blanket and stares to the left.
Henry was found along with his brother, George, in the North Wrigley neighborhood of Long Beach when he was only 7 or 8 weeks old. When they were first caught, they were very scared little street urchins, but their time in foster care with a wonderful family transformed them, and they’re now fully vetted, Henry has turned into a fluff ball of love. Brother George just got adopted, and Henry would very much like to meet his forever family soon! For questions or if you would like to arrange a virtual meet-and-greet, please email Kelly Lopes at [email protected].


Just fur fun and fur-ther education

Sound Healing event: 5:30–7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, $30.

Anyone who’s had a cat purring on their lap or stomach knows how good those vibrations are. The only cat lounge in Long Beach is upping the healing by presenting a healing sound bath—with cats! As humans work the ancient instruments, kitties will weave around, over and on you as you lie down taking it all in. Wear loose clothing, and bring a face mask, as COVID-19 precautions are enforced there. Order your tickets here.


Help wanted, help given

Feline Good Social Club seeks volunteers

Long Beach’s only special space for frolicking with felines not your own is recruiting volunteers to help care for all the little loungers in the club. Volunteers will help with two-hour shifts from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. A monthly-minimum shift of six hours is required. To be valet to the little stars, email [email protected].

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

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

homeless man with longish brown hair and beard in old clothing sits on street closely cuddlinghis large tan-and-gray dog

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

Brown tabby with paw on edge of white box, with black-and-white pillow
Twix and Kit Kat are two of the snack-themed kittens, and they are treats indeed. Twix is a riot, not to mention one of the most beautiful brown tabbies I’ve met. He’s a constant source of entertainment, and when he’s done tearing around, he’s content to snuggle and give kisses. confident kitten who loves to play and interact with people. gives kisses and is a constant source of entertainment. He is great with other cats and would be good with dogs. He and his brother Kit Kat are also working on their leash training! Visit him at PetSmart and apply to adopt at

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.

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.