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.

Photo courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course

This Saturday, July 15, visit the Los Alamitos Race Course and enjoy an evening of organized chaos featuring scores of little sausage doggies having a ball—some literally—as their humans and race course staff attempt to cobble all the little legs into a semblance of an actual race.

The Wiener Nationals event, presented by the Wienerschnitzel corporation, has taken place at the Los Al race course since 1996. It’s not a gaming competition, and no betting takes place, nor is there a chance of danger or harm to the dogs—they’ll be running in the cool of the evening after the sun has set and the distances are short. It’s also a fundraiser for the volunteer-run Seal Beach Animal Care Center. Since the Nationals’ beginning 26 events ago—there were a couple of dark years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic—the event has raised close to $300,000 for SBACC through its ticket and T-shirt sales.

Dachshunds of every color, pattern and coat length will participate—108 in all, with the youngest at 4 months old and the oldest at 14 years. Six dogs from Long Beach are among the little runners, including 10-year-old Jazzy, a longhair miniature cream and veteran racer who placed third last year. She’s a real trouper, too.

“Jazzy survived spinal surgery in 2021, and she can run,” said Jazzy’s mom, Dani Moore.

From left: Lynn Moore and Kynzi, Dana Moore and Jazzy. Photo by Kate Karp

The race schedule will include qualifiers, trials, the Diaper Dash for 1-year-old participants and under and the Long in the Tail for seniors 10 and over, and the Grand Championship at the end, which awards a $1,000 cash prize and a red-and-yellow doghouse modeled after a Wienerschnitzel restaurant.

Practice heats were held earlier this week at the racetrack. They gave the dogs and their humans the opportunity to accustom themselves to the track and procedures. Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course’s marketing director, handed out the brightly colored little vests to the dogs, and checked on the individual sizes, from cocktail-wiener small to stuffed-sausage large. Sportsmanship is always of the essence and consists mainly of egging the pups on with whistles and endless iterations of “C’mon! C’mon!” while waving toys or teasing with tennis balls. Pretraining the dogs is likely the height of folly.

During the practice, the dogs took turns popping out of the gate and taking off in every direction, some actually heading to the finish line. A preview of coming distractions can be seen here.

“No matter if you win, the crowd will applaud,” Gutierrez said.

Pets to adopt or foster

Here are three sweethearts from the Seal Beach Animal Care Center, which is the big winner of the Wiener Nationals every year. (Last year’s hot dog roll totaled $10,019—$5,019 was raised through T-shirt sales, admission passes and opportunity tickets; and Dr. Edward Allred, the racetrack’s owner, donated another $5,000.)

To apply to adopt, complete this application. Check out all the pets on their website.

Bosco is a 2-year-old Australian cattle dog who, unbelievably, was picked up as a stray, so the shelter doesn’t have a history for him. However, they know that he absolutely adores children. He likes anyone he meets, in fact, but with kids, it’s instant. He needs to remember his manners, though, and not jump all over his new friends. He likes other dogs, too. Like most of his breed, Bosco is a very intelligent boy, so a committed and consistent owner should have no trouble with training. An ideal home for him would have lots of activity and daily walks. We know this sweet boy will thrive in the right home.

Walton is the prominent profile in the picture; Dana is toward the back.

Here’s a family portrait of Walton, Dana and a couple of siblings who have gone home. They were all pulled from a larger shelter, where the volunteers did a great job with them. But they’re happy to be in a more mellow environment, with lots of volunteers to give them more love. Both of them adore humans and are genuine lapdogs—as soon as you sit down, they’re on you with kisses! They’re also great on a leash, and the shelter volunteers imagine that they’d be great with kids, so bring yours to meet them! Walton and Dana are the only two left from the family, and Dana’s become quite attached to Walton—he’s his dad, after all! SBACC would like to send them home together where they can be part of a brand-new family—this one forever!

An up-close shot of Dana.

Pet events

PetSmart Charities National Adoption Week cat adoption: Saturday, July 15, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach

PetSmart Charities‘ annual National Adoption Week takes place this year between Monday, July 10 and Sunday, July 16. Adopters will receive coupon books, and the charity’s adoption partners, which include rescues and shelters nationwide, will receive points toward grants for each animal who goes home.

Helen Sanders CatPAWS is proud to be a PetSmart Charities partner and will hold its in-store event on Saturday, with areas for kitties and humans to play and find just the right match. Visit this page to view all available adoption candidates, all of whom have been vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.

Wiener Nationals: Saturday, July 15, gates open 4:30 p.m.; races begin 6:30 p.m., Los Alamitos Race Course, 4961 Katella Ave., $3 admission, free to people 17 years and younger, outside dogs not permitted

Winners will emerge, great prizes will be given, and, as always, fun will be had. The biggest prize-wiener of all is the Seal Beach Animal Care Center, where all the funds raised will go to help the pets there. All concession stands will be open; T-shirts will be on sale. Note: There will be horses racing between dog heats. More information here.

Cat Lady Drag Bingo: Saturday, July 22, 6 p.m.–9 p.m., Ficklewood Ciderworks, 720 E. Broadway, Long Beach, $20 admission

Join The Little Lion Foundation for an evening of screaming out letters and numbers and screaming in general during bingo rounds. Fabulous drag host Meow—er, Mia Anastasia Farrow will call out the numbers and will keep the energy high all night long. Make sure to arrive early to secure your spot and get your game cards. All money from ticket sales will support local cat rescue and animal welfare.

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