As with most holidays, pets have no idea what St. Valentine’s Day is all about. They don’t know why The Dog Bakery is making pink doggie cookies, and the same goes for the strawberry delights from the Bunny Bunch Boutique and the catnip-filled hearts from every pet-supply store anywhere. They’ll accept them gladly, however.

It goes without saying that every day is Valentine’s Day for animals lucky enough to live in a loving, forever home. This Valentine’s Day season, two animal organizations are giving love and hope to pets who aren’t so lucky.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, Long Beach Animal Care Services is holding its Pawlentine’s Day Adoption Event at the shelter. You’re invited to decorate kennels and give goodies to all the good dogs, cats and rabbits waiting there. You’re also enthusiastically invited to take one or two home if you can love and care for them forever. You can see for yourself how dang crowded it is in there for dogs, several of whom are living in offices and rooms designated for other purposes. Cat kennels are fine right now, but just wait until kitten season is in full bloom, which should be shortly. Adoption fees will be waived, and everyone’ll be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, so all they need is (sigh) love.

And get ready to belly-rub up to the bar at Sparky and the Gang’s heart bash, Be My Woof-N-Tine, on Feb. 14, the actual Valentine’s Day! Yes, the rescue managed to get the entire Roundin’ 3rd Sports Bar to play host to a bunch of yipping dog maniacs (they rescue kittens, too—most softhearted bunch of volunteers ever) who’ll rock you, roll you and ply you with booze so you’ll bid on raffle prizes. Roundin’ 3rd is donating 20% of the bar tab to the rescue, and that’s going to go for the care and cure of all the pets, especially the parvo pups that Sparky takes in.

In another corner of the animal kingdom, wildlife got some love last week. A friend and I managed to snag tickets for the P-22 Celebration of Life by clicking the buttons as soon as they were available.

A packed Greek Theatre honored P-22, a mountain lion who was compassionately euthanized after complications from being hit by vehicles, eating rat poison and probably advanced age. He was at least 12.

The event, originally scheduled for two hours, went on for three and a half hours. Members of the Tongva tribe, wildlife officials, media celebrities, local council members, performers and elementary-school classes performed and explained what they’d learned from the life and death of an animal doing his best to survive in practical isolation in an urban wilderness, facing human-created dangers.

Photographer Steve Winter, whose work appears in National Geographic, told his story of going from disbelief that there was an actual mountain lion in Griffith Park to doggedly pursuing the cat until he got a photo of him in front of the Hollywood Sign.

Rep. Adam Schiff said that he plans to honor P-22 with a postage stamp. A bill to ban anticoagulant rodenticide, which added to P-22’s injuries, has been signed by Gov. Newsom and will likely go further. The greatest honor of all, though, is the planned wildlife crossing, funded for the most part by the Annenberg Foundation, which will cross the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon. Beth Pratt, executive director of the National Wildlife Foundation, said it’ll be the largest in the country and promised that more will be built.

Most of you know what it’s like to have to euthanize a beloved pet. It was no different for the wildlife officials and veterinarians who said goodbye to P-22. One of them who was present when P-22 was sent to his rest talked through his tears about how he held the big cat’s paw and told him that he was a good boy.

“The weight of the paw made it real,” he said.

Rest in love, dear cat. Sorry you had to die to make things happen, but isn’t that always how it goes?

Information about ongoing efforts to support Los Angeles wildlife is available here.

Virtually pets

Love is in the air, so follow your heart to the shelters and rescues to find a friend who’ll return your love. Here are a few funny Valentines from Sparky and the Gang, followed by a pair of adult cats who are singing “Let’s Stay Together.” Hearts, flowers and birdies provided by Chanel Villanueva.

adorable tan puppy sits with a bird cartoon in front of her, head resting on a red pillow. Hearts float around the photo.
Penny is a “Lucky Penny!” She came to Sparky and the Gang as a parvo patient and is now thriving in her foster home with their children and pups.
fluffy tan puppy sits on bed with a speech balloon that says "Be mine."
Tinka is 3 months old and is one of five siblings. Sparky and the Gang took in 14 puppies over the Christmas holidays, and they sure weren’t “planned” Christmas gifts.

Apply to adopt a Sparky and the Gang pet here.

black cat with white paws sits on one side of kennel opening and brown tabby sits on the other.
Billie (ID#691397) is an 8-year-old, 8-pound black-and-white cat, and his BFF, Buster (ID#691396), is a 3-year-old, 12-pound gray tabby. They’re a bonded pair who were found as strays and brought to our shelter a week ago. They are very affectionate, playful, healthy and ready for a good home.
big black cat with big white paws and chest sits staring out, holding a pink heart.
Billie wants to hold your hand in his big, white paw.


grumpy-faced tabby looks at camera, with paste flowers by paws
Buster tries to look unconcerned, but like many cats, he doesn’t always show his true thoughts, which are “I wanna go home with you and purr on your lap!”

To adopt a shelter pet, email [email protected] to speed the process. The shelter also needs people to foster pets to free up space—email [email protected] to find out how to be a foster.

Great furballs of fun!

Pawlentine’s Day Adoption Event: Speed-dating in the best possible way. Find your best match at our shelter, and bring lots of love to the residents already there. Long Beach Animal Care Services invites the community to enjoy music, photos and decorating Valentine’s Day cards to bring home to your pets or place in the shelter’s pets’ Pawlentine’s Day treat buckets. Please also bring unopened store-bought pet treats and toys to put in the treat buckets. Money can’t buy love, so adoption fees will be waived for all pets during the event. Remember—please leave your own pets at home.

This free event will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, from 3 p.m.–5 p.m. at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St. (At the entrance to El Dorado Park, there are no parking fees for shelter visitors.)

Valentine’s Day with the Fix Project: Champagne! Goodies! Double-chocolate fountain! Love songs of all genres by the fabulous Jennifer Corday! Not for your dog, of course, but for you. All proceeds from the event’s entrance, raffles and drink specials will, however, help The Fix Project heal our fragile Valentines. The event’s host, Roundin’ 3rd Sports Bar and Grill, will generously donate 20% of the tab to the organization.

This free event will be held Tuesday, Feb. 14, 4 p.m.–10 p.m., at Roundin’ 3rd Sports Bar and Grill, 4133 E. Anaheim St.

Inaugural Bob Long Memorial 5k and 1k Mutt Run and adoption event: Signal Hill Rotary Club sponsors a great way to exercise both you and your dog and raise some money for our shelter and special projects in Signal Hill. Bring your dog—any breed or mix—to run or walk at your own pace. You can run without your dog, but they’re welcome to spectate with a responsible human.

Enter a Valentine’s Day-themed costume contest with your furry sweetie-pie. Best of all, Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin’ will roll up to the finish line. Even more best of all, 70% of the profits will go to the shelter, with 30% going to the Rotary Club’s Community Project Fund—talk about a sweetheart deal.

The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, 9 a.m.–2 p.m., at the Claremont Launch Ramp near Rosie’s Dog Beach, 5300 E. Ocean Blvd. The 5k begins at 9 a.m. with a $55 registration fee, while the 1k starts at 9:30 a.m. and has a $20 registration fee. Dogs must be leashed and stay on the pedestrian path at all times. Visit the Rotary Club’s Bob Long Memorial Run page for more information.

smiling woman with tiara and ribbon and stocky man in beanie and sweatshirt have hands on English bulldog, on red carpet
The appropriately named Meatball shares the 2022 spotlight with Ms. Long Beach Cindi Rogan and personal human Vincent Soprano. Courtesy photo

18th annual Bulldog Beauty Contest: “Bulldog” just scratches the surface of this venerable contest, but in honor of organizer Justin Rudd’s favorite kind of doggie, that’s what it’s called.

Enter your doggie of whatever breed or mix thereof and leash it down to the beach for a bully ball. A total of 12 contests will honor humans’ best friend, including the National English Bulldog Beauty Contest, Best Senior, Best Siblings, Best Adopted and finally Best in Show. Grand prizes will be awarded courtesy of Redbarn Premium Pet Products, and other prizes from Farm to Pet will be awarded.

The event will be held Sunday, Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at Granada Boat Launch next to Rosie’s Dog Beach, 1 Granada Ave. at Ocean Boulevard. Preregister here for $10, or pay $20 cash (no cards) at the event. Front-row seats cost $5. Find more information on the Haute Dogs page. Volunteers can contact [email protected].

CatPAWS 10th annual Bowling Fundraiser: Join up with Team Kitty and rack up a few winners for the cats and kittens at Helen Sanders CatPAWS. Bowl for two hours, or just watch the pins fall like a veritable feline. Chow down on hearty appetizers or a personal pizza, with soft drink included. All tickets include an opportunity drawing, and prizes will be awarded for highest and lowest scores.

The event will be held Saturday, March 18, 2 p.m.–5:30 p.m., at Westminster Lanes, 6471 Westminster Blvd. It costs $45 per bowler or $20 to sit on the sidelines and cheer. Buy tickets here. All proceeds benefit CatPAWS.

Dog obedience classes: Is Sadie acting shady? Does Belle like to yell? If your dog needs to know good behavior, it’s time to bring them to school. Instructor Charlie DiBono of Body and Mind K9 makes no bones about good dog behavior being more than sitting up and looking cute.

The free classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are held from noon to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Lincoln Park Dog Park, 101 Pacific Ave. Space is limited, so roll over and get out the door.

Foster for a while—or furever!
shelter volunteer with peaked cap and blue longsleeve shirt smiles at camera hugging a gray and white pitbull. They sit on the grass.
Long Beach Animal Care Services volunteer Jo Ellen’s big smile shows the love that she feels for Griffin. If you’re a military veteran, you can take Griffin home and pay no adoption fee—not just on Veterans Day, but any day you can make an appointment. Courtesy photo

The more than 300 LBACS dogs, cats and bunnies need your help. The city of Long Beach’s commitment to Compassion Saves means that animals in our care can live and thrive. We need our community to show its support of Compassion Saves by fostering, adopting, volunteering, and donating. LBACS has reached urgent capacity with the influx of incoming animals to the shelter during the holidays. There is no more kennel space to take in more dogs at the shelter. To maintain the LBACS Compassion Saves model of helping those in greatest need—the sick, injured and abused—your help is needed to keep the healthy and lost pets out of the shelter. If you are interested in adopting, please email [email protected] or apply to foster here.

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. Keep in mind that the rescues are self-supporting and need donations and volunteer help. Most of them cannot accept found or unwanted pets. Contact Long Beach Animal Care Services for options.

Ally’s Animal Network

Bunny Bunch

Cat Cove

Friends of Long Beach Animals

Fix Long Beach

Feline Good Social Club

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County

Helen Sanders CatPAWS

Ho’ola Dog Rescue

House of Broken Cookies

Jellicle Cats Foundation

K-9 Kismet

Little Lion Foundation

Live Love Animal Rescue

Long Beach Animal Care Services

Long Beach Spay and Neuter Foundation

Newborn Feline Rescue

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center

Pug Rescue of Korea

SAFE Rescue Team

Seal Beach Animal Care Center

Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue


Stray Cat Alliance

Wrigley Kittens

Zazzy Cats

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the time of the Pawlentine’s Day Adoption Event.