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.

The Bark-o-Treat at Long Beach Animal Care Services. Courtesy photo.

Last Halloween season, Long Beach Animal Care Services and the El Dorado Nature Center held separate events to educate families and show off the animals while offering good times for everyone. This year, wild and domestic fauna will sit side by side—at least metaphorically—to present the Howl-o-Ween Festival.

So, this Saturday, Oct. 21, costume up (leave your own pets at home) and wend your way through trails, with costumed volunteers as your guides. The Possum Patch picnic area will masquerade as the Ohhh-possom Patch, a haunted playground containing a bounce house, obstacle courses, and freaky food trucks.

A good time is guaranteed, and you’ll learn about fauna and caring for pets at the same time. 

“We always try to sneak in education!” said Meghan O’Neill, the Nature Center’s community services supervisor.

The Mosquito League SWAT Team Lab (hee hee!) of Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control will provide lore about ridding the town of those nasty vampires—mosquitoes. Inside the Nature Center building, you’ll meet such animal-welfare and rescue groups as South Bay Rodent Rescue, Turtle and Tortoise Club (Long Beach Chapter), Long Beach Beekeepers, and other organizations protecting wildlife: rabbits, insects and other invertebrates, birds of prey and, of course, bats. Wouldn’t be Halloween without bats.

“Things that go bump in the night,” O’Neill said. And slither and crawl, we could add.

LBACS will offer Bark-o-Treat and Meow-o-Treat for the literal hundreds of deserving cats and dogs. Bring along bags of pet treats to donate. Honor the memory of your departed furry, feathered and scaly friends at the Dia de los Muertos ofrenda table, and remember the beautiful times—never enough, we know.

And yes—there will be adoptions everywhere. The shelter will waive all fees, although the usual application standards will be in place. What better treat for you and a furry pal than sharing a hopefully forever, loving home. Rescues in the Nature Center will offer adoptions of turtles, reptiles, rabbits and insects. No, you may not take home a bat.

The Howl-o-Ween Festival takes place Saturday, Oct. 21, 2 to 6 p.m. at Long Beach Animal Care Services and the El Dorado Park Nature Center, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach. $5 donation entrance to Partners of Parks/Friends of El Dorado Nature Center. No parking fee for celebrants. Remember: leave your own lucky pets at home!

Pets to adopt or foster

The Dia de los Muertos ofrenda brings up memories of the animals whose good lives we’ve shared. It also reminds us that not every pet gets a good life.

A lot of the animals featured in the adoption section are what’s called red-listed animals—pets that have been in the shelter for a long time and may need significant medical care or have behavior issues resulting from kennel deterioration.

“The red list means that we are pleading with the community for assistance because we want to find an animal a positive outcome,” said Melanie Wagner, acting director for LBACS.

And it frequently works, thanks to earnest efforts on the part of staff and volunteers. Last week, a reader told me that they’d read about a dog in the Scratching Post, and they drove down to take him home. That felt good, and I imagine that Buford—that’s his name now—is really feeling good too.

The following dogs may not see next Halloween if they don’t go home in a few days. Do you have room?

To adopt or foster any of these heart-haunters, email [email protected] or [email protected] or call 562-570-4925. Even better, stop by Wednesday through Sunday between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. LBACS is located at 7700 E. Spring St. Halloween costumes by volunteer Dee.

Bosco, a goofy-grinned adoptable pal. Courtesy photo.

Bosco (ID#A696134), 4 years old, is a sweetheart. He loves to play, is affectionate and tops it all off with a goofy grin. He’s also great on leash, so you can walk off all that Halloween candy at the park with him!

Alonzo, a young and athletic companion. Courtesy photo.

At 1 ½ years old, Alonzo (ID#A690707) has spent nearly half his life in the shelter, and as you can see, he’s going batty. He’s young and athletic—he loves jogging, hiking, and walking and would make a wonderful companion for someone with similar interest and the patience that it takes to live with a high-energy dog. He’s so loving and just as focused and smart.

This loveable girl, Bunny Hops, was found abandoned in a park. Courtesy photo.

The volunteers have no idea where Bunny Hops (ID#A698850), 4 years old, got her name, but you can always change it when you take her home. She was found tied up and abandoned in a park in May, and you’d think she’d have trust issues, but nope. She loves everyone she meets and is nosy as heck about everything.

Pet events and announcements

6th annual Pit Bull Appreciation Day

Join the Blockhead Brigade for a special day to build community around one of the most lovable, misunderstood and maligned kinds of doggies. Bring your own goofy blockhead, or any breed or mix thereof, for pack walks, yoga with your downward-facing dog, training demos, a dog-portrait sketcher, merch tables and prize drawings. LBACS and rescue orgs will be there with adoptables. The event is free, but ticket purchases support our community work and enter purchasers in a drawing. Note that this is a no-contact event. Dogs must be a minimum of 10 feet apart, and intros are not permitted—for everyone’s safety.

Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, Marina Vista Park, 5355 Eliot St. Long Beach. Ticket information here.

Haute Dogs Interfaith Blessing of the Animals

Receive blessings at the beach for your animal companions from any of several faith leaders. Animals in the oceans, forests and streets who need both blessings and action; pets in our shelters who need to go home; and those who’ve been forgotten or never known will also receive blessings as attendees will be reminded to do what they can for them. A special memorial will honor victims of dogfighting. Bring your well-behaved pets (remember to leash your dogs), and remember to bring photos, ashes, collars or toys from those who have departed.

Sunday, Oct. 22, 4 p.m., Granada Boat Launch, 1 Granada Ave., Long Beach. This is a free event. More information here.

To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.