The Big Bowwowski: These large shelter adoptables will bowl you over

Large dudes abide.

Sadly, a lot of the dog dudes and dudettes in shelters are large ones. At last count, which was three days ago, 25 of the 43 dogs staying in our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) were big ones. That’s more than half of all the various sizes.

So, what’s the deal? Are more large dogs than smaller ones turned over to shelters?

“I think little dogs get relinquished as much as big dogs,” shelter volunteer Dee Glick said.

Several reasons, most of them misguided, exist for the comparatively large number of comparatively large dogs in shelters. Some people, when considering adoption, may not have the strength to control a large dog if they tug on the leash during the banal attraction of a squirrel. That makes sense, but just seeing “little and cute” and not being able to see the “big, clunky and absolutely adorable” doesn’t, to a lot of us. Neither do apartment and condo restrictions of how much a dog can weigh. People weighing more than 25 pounds are allowed to live in apartments, and they can produce more noise than dogs can.

Breed and breed-mix liability restrictions exist because of liability concerns, but this also puts a kibosh on adoptions of some pretty nice German shepherds, Rottweilers, pit bulls and so on. We’ve all met such dogs, and some people we know have taken them home. Glick, who knows the names and personalities of every dog in LBACS kennels, just shakes her head.

“As far as pitties go, I consider them like I do human beings—for the most part, they’re completely and utterly decent and lovely dogs,” she said.

Gray pit bull rests chin on shoulder of a bespectacled young man with black hair, wearing a black shirt.

Long Beach Post’s city reporter Jason Ruiz’s pit bull, Mango, came home from LBACS to live with Ruiz and his wife a few years ago. Mango loves to go camping and on walks with her family and also lies on the sofa like a cat. She assumes this tender pose while watching TV with her people. Like a certain rug, she ties the room together, and then some. Photo courtesy of the Ruizes

 

Other issues include knee-jerk fear of big dogs and the perceived expense of feeding and caring for them. Actually, it can cost between $20 and $60 a month, depending on the dog. One source lists a thrifty monthly grocery budget as about $402 per person. If you count the dog as a family member—of course, you do—they’re the least costly member.

And dang, in general, their lifespan is shorter than smaller dogs. But pets’ lives are too short, anyway, and it’s the quality of the life together that counts.

Jeanne Perales doggedly insists that there are myriad reasons to adopt a big doggie.

“Why should they adopt a large breed dog? Why shouldn’t they?” she counterargued herself. “Large-breed dogs are intelligent, affectionate and playful. You can go camping, walking, hiking and running with them, They’re big goofballs—they bring so much joy to your life, and they’re extremely loyal. They’re all that a smaller dog is, but in a larger package—and by the way, there’s more to love!”

Perales and friend Sara Azevedo recently formed Foster2Furever, a resource that connects hopeful large-dog fosters with rescues that have them in their care and addresses questions about big dogs and myths surrounding them. Perales also alerts the rescues the resource works with when she finds big dogs in city shelters who might be good candidates for rescue pull.

a tan German shepherd with a black muzzle licks the face of a young woman with blond hair wearing a white shortsleeve blouse. Another young woman with long, curly, auburn hair wearing a shortsleeve black garment stands to the right. Palms are in background.

From left: Jeanne Perales, Lady, Sara Azevedo. Perales adopted the lovely, licky 100-pound German shepherd from a shelter in Los Angeles. She has her needs, too, which Perales is more than willing to fulfill in exchange for having her as a roommate. “She sheds a lot, so I’m guessing that someone didn’t want to deal with all the fur in the home, but who knows? This is so sad since she’s a devoted and loving dog and her family left her at a kill shelter. I’m thankful that we found each other. I adore her, vacuum when I can and overlook the dust bunnies when I can’t get to it. She shows me every day how grateful she is to be in a safe home.” Photo courtesy of Foster2Furever.

“Dog rescues can provide more extensive medical care, exercise and training, and for foster-based rescues, can also provide a loving home environment that allows a dog to heal and flourish. However, the start of the healing process begins with finding a suitable foster home,” Perales states on her website.

 

“I fostered a dog for six months who was abandoned by her family because they had a baby,” Perales said. “This dog was beautiful, intelligent and she never showed any signs of aggression to humans while I fostered her. She ended up being adopted by a wonderful family, and they absolutely love her, and take her camping and hiking.”

 

Two rescues have emptied the animal shelter. They couldn’t have done it without you, the fosters

 

Perales and Azevedo want to disabuse people of erroneous beliefs and fears they might harbor about large dogs while educating them about their general and specific needs such as exercise, feeding and care. They plan to add to the growing network of humane education by developing a program to teach children about respecting dogs as family members.

“But first things first,” Perales said. “Fosters are critical to the success of meeting a dog rescue’s mission and are relied upon to help make the dogs ready for adoption, including exercising them, providing them a routine and taking them to veterinarian and training appointments, not to mention giving them plenty of TLC!”

If you’re interested in fostering a large rescue dog to see what life’s like with one or just to ready them for a forever home, contact Foster2Furever on this page or just wade right in and fill out an application to foster. And yes, you’re allowed to keep them if you decide to. The resource is called, after all, Foster2Furever. No pressure.

Virtually Pets

Here are four of the big dudes and dudettes that Long Beach Animal Care Services’ staff and volunteers are caring for. The shelter is adopting by appointment only. Email [email protected] to make one. It’ll be one of the biggest days of your life, and even more so for the dog.

tan husky with white face and chest lies down against a green background

Aurora (ID# A656150) is an owner surrender. She’s about 5 years old and has been spayed. She has the personality of a husky, which she is. She’s shy but sweet and, once she knows you, is full of energy and ready to play.

Black dog with tan muzzle and feet stands against a light-blue background

Forrest (ID#A656523) is a 5-year-old neutered mix. He was in a pretty sad state physically when he was brought to the shelter as a stray, but he’s received good treatment. Forrest may not be quite out of the woods yet (sorry—couldn’t resist), but he’s doing much better and his disposition’s great!

 

white dog with tan freckles and brown ears looks to the side with her long tongue hanging out. She's wearing a pink collar and a chain collar

Although separation anxiety is nothing new for people who buy ticking clocks and battery-operated plush animals for their pet to contend with it, it has become the pet condition of the pandemic-pet moment. It can be dealt with by anyone with the desire and patience to do so. Surrendering the pet to a shelter likely makes it worse. Pepper (ID# A653096), is a 5-year-old spayed pointer mix. Her owner did surrender her, and despite her grin, those big, sad eyes could be signs of how much she misses her family, especially the kids who shared her home. She’s overall a good doggie according to the past owner, but she needs someone at home all the time who knows how to deal with separation anxiety. Pepper should probably be an only pet.

 

metal-gray pit bull with pointy ears and wearing a red vest looks into camera. He has a white chest.

Bebita (ID#A656328) is another owner surrender. She’s a 4-year-old pittie mix who needs an active home. She’s always on the move, so if you need a hiking companion or someone to chase those bowling balls down the lane, she’s the one. Bebita would prefer that there be no other pets at home.

 

Just fur fun and fur-ther education

‘Meatballs in May’ neuter discount: May 1–31, Wednesday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, see flyer for prices

May will see prices for neuters (i.e., males only) even lower than Fix Long Beach’s usual prices, and on top of that, the first 100 appointments that month will get a free meatball dinner from Santa Fe Deli (mm-mm-MMM!). You and your cat or dog can go home after spending some uncomfortable hours in a clinic and go all Lady and the Tramp at home with the meatballs (just a nibble for your buddy—he’ll be a little worn out).

Fundraising raffle for The Little Lion Foundation: through May 31, see flyer for details

Five’ll get you 100 if you’re the lucky winner of this raffle! Follow the instructions on the flyer to enter the competition for a $100 Amazon gift card. Whether you win or do not, you’ll be helping newborn kittens and adult cats win a chance themselves—at living. All proceeds go to The Little Lion Foundation. Donations to the rescue are accepted on the link on the name.

Help wanted, help given

woman in face mask stands next to a pillar in front of a light-blue building next to a large pile of blue boxes.

Long Beach Animal Care Services manager Staycee Dains receives a shipment of DIY kitten-care kits to hand to residents who agree to care for found newborn kittens.

 

Foster2Furever needs foster homes for large-breed dogs

If you love big doggies and want to help socialize one for a forever home, fill out the application here, and Foster2Furever will contact a respected rescue who’ll match you to a king-size lovebug. Big homes and big yards aren’t required—just big hearts and a big desire to learn. Contact Foster2Furever here with any questions.

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 562-261-9711.

Fosters needed at Long Beach Animal Care Services

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. Long Beach Animal Care Services now has a foster program aimed at saving some little lives and socializing them. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing.

Fix Long Beach low-cost pet-services clinics: Wednesday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, services available by appointment at www.fixlongbeachpets.com.

Fix Long Beach has reopened and is taking appointments for low-cost spay/neuter, dental, vaccines and other vet needs for cats and dogs. 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 are 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, located at 957 N. Gaffey St., will give shots every third Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. 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 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 at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center: weekdays and Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., 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. Sadly, no ear scratching or chin rubs at this time, but volunteers can 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 loveables

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As 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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