The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.
Next week, Venerable Lungrik Gyaltsen (pictured above, right), managing director of Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Lin Tibetan Buddhist center in Long Beach, will head to LAX to bless 20 dogs rescued from meat markets in China. He’ll also ask for protection and prosperity for Rue’s Kennels, which will serve as temporary housing while dogs get the medical checkups and treatments required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for approval of permanent visas.
In line with his beliefs, Venerable Gyaltsen seemed particularly horror-struck at the idea of dogs slaughtered for food.
“We believe all living things have the same potential,” he said.
Animal blessings are not novel to Venerable Gyaltsen, who has been a monk for 33 years, starting at age 10 in an associated Tibetan monastery in India.
“Dog blessings, cat blessings—we’ve toured many states [in India], and we’ve blessed many people’s pets,” he said. “We bless for a healthy life for all sentient beings, not just humans.”
Blessings for the dogs and her new business were Jill Stewart’s goal when she recently visited GSTDL in Belmont Heights. Stewart is the founder of China Rescue Dogs, which rescues dogs and other pets from the meat markets in China, rehabilitate them physically and emotionally, show them how to be dogs after being raised for slaughter, and find them loving homes. So far, with the assistance of animal rescues in China, the organization has saved over 2,000 from meat markets and breeding farms.
A disabled golden retriever named Meeso inspired China Rescue Dogs’ founding. He was also the reason for Stewart’s search for a Buddhist monk to bless the ones arriving at LAX. Stewart visited Shanghai in 2019 to learn about the canine meat trade. While there, she heard about an unwanted dog who’d been dumped in the street and was taken in by a monastery. She went to meet him and the monks who cared for him, and of course, it was love at first sight. Meeso, as he was named, now lives happily with Stewart and her daughter.
“No one had wanted this dog, and the monks blessed him,” Stewart said. “I went to the Long Beach monastery to tell them my story and why it was so special to me to have a blessing. When I open Rue’s Kennels next Tuesday, the monks will bless it, and what we have in Shanghai will carry over to Los Angeles.”
Rue’s is an effort of China Rescue Dogs and is a USDA and Border Patrol-governed kennel. The CDC permits only facilities with those qualifications to receive rescue dogs from China, a high-risk rabies country. The kennels were named for Ruewa, another rescue dog from China who had a sadly brief life after he arrived in the United States.
“Rue’s is the nation’s first mission-driven, nonprofit airport animal care facility built to help rescue dogs from around the world,” Stewart said. “The hardest part of it is that China Rescue Dogs has to raise funding to open the kennels.”
The Venerable Gyaltsen will minister to 16 golden retrievers, two corgis, one poodle and one malamute at Rue’s Kennels, 936 W. Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, on Tuesday, June 27, at 11 a.m. and will bless the kennels for posterity. Inglewood Mayor James Butts will welcome the rescues with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by remarks from Lori Kalef, SPCA’s international director of programs, and best of all, special appearances by the doggies. The event is made possible through first-time partnerships with SPCA International, seven nationwide golden retriever rescues nationwide, and support from WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil.
Pets available for adoption
When dogs flee in terror from fireworks noise, which can go on weeks before and after the actual holiday, they’re picked up by animal control officers, if they’re lucky. But there has to be room for them, and our overcrowded shelter has literally none.
If you can take in a dog—a cat, too—for a couple of weeks, please attend the Foster the Fourth kickoff and find out all about fostering (it begins today, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 7700 Spring St., Long Beach). Especially consider the pets who have been in shelter kennels for months—a few for over a year—they really need that break.
Here are three hopefuls from a list of longtime residents (thanks, volunteer Diana, for the info). No pressure to extend the stay, but you might want to, like for always.
Louey (ID#A695748) is a most happy senior fella at 8 years old. Louey is described as “a total sweetheart” by the volunteers. He’s great on a leash and is a wagger of tail. He loves trying to play with other dogs through the play yard fence and cannot wait to get out of the kennel. He’s been here since March.
If you have patience for and knowledge of the vocal, crafty husky breed, you’d be a perfect foster for 6-year-old Shyla (ID#A624249). Shyla’s been at LBACS since December, for howling out loud, and Shyla needs stimulation, exercise and her own person. LBACS has a sledful of huskies—people have adopted this breed because they look cool or they resemble the wolfen creature on “Game of Thrones.” This causes a huge throne in the side of shelters because they get returned in droves if the new owners don’t have any familiarity with huskies. Please check her out.
This guy’s been here since January, and we can’t figure out why no one’s taken him home. His name’s Obi-Wan Kenobi (ID#A692261), and he’s seen here whispering the ways of the Jedi to volunteer Amber. He needs to win your confidence, and once he does, he’s an easy walker and very smart, loving and cuddly.
Stars, Stripes and Microchips: Thursday, June 29, 8 a.m.-noon, Scherer Park, 4600 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, free event, schedule an appointment here. Microchipping a pet is the best way to increase your pet’s chances of finding their way home if they’re lost. Join LBACS, Bixby Animal Clinic, and CatPAWS with their brand-new mobile van for a free pet wellness clinic, presented by Councilmember Al Austin. Schedule your appointment. There are limited spots available for dogs and cats. Bring your confirmation email to the appointment.
Second annual Independence Pets and Vets Parade: Saturday, July 1, 10 a.m.—noon, Lincoln Park, 101 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, free event. Join the Office of Councilmember Mary Zendejas for this fun event that honors our service providers. Zendejas will honor five honorees and their dogs for their dedicated service to the community—police, fire department workers and military veterans who continually give back to their community and put service above all. Dogs must have current vaccinations and be leashed at all times, owners must be with their pet at all times, and of course, they must clean up after them.
Second annual Long Beach Summer Adoption and Craft Fair: Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Marina Green Park, 386 E. Shoreline Drive, Long Beach, free to attend, adoption fees apply. Practically every rescue within the reach of Long Beach will be at this great event, so if you’re looking for your best friend forever and ever, you have no excuse to not shop but adopt! Stay tuned for more info.
To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.