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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
- 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