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.
Long Beach resident teams with award-winning nonprofit to help the herd health of pets of unhoused people
In July, dogs, cats and even a couple of rabbits belonging to unhoused people got free medical treatment at the Multi-Service Center in West Long Beach.
“The veterinarians and technicians treated pet dogs and cats of over 40 unhoused Long Beach residents — vaccines, medications, nail trims, diagnoses,” volunteer Cecile Lindsay said. “A sweet pittie girl [pit bull] that jumped out of her car and was struck by a car on her way to the event was treated and then referred to a local vet, with Project Street Vet picking up the tab. Each pet parent got a tote bag with food, treats and toys, and hand warmers and socks for the human.”
Long Beach resident Diana Geosano initiated the event, and nonprofit Project Street Vet produced it. Project Street Vet provides free veterinary services and financial support to pet parents in Los Angeles who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. The nonprofit operates primarily in San Diego and Los Angeles and also has teams in San Francisco and other cities across the country.
“That day was one of the most amazing, totally rewarding days of my life!” Geosano said. “It captured my heart to see the people with their pets and how much they cared for them, how much they loved them and how much the pets loved them back.
“I discovered that the people will feed their pets before they themselves eat, and they will refuse housing if their pets are not allowed to come along.”
Geosano’s inspiration for the outreach event came from Project Street Vet’s founder, Dr. Kwane Stewart, who formed the nonprofit in 2020. Now, a scant four years later, Stewart and his team have provided veterinary care and financial assistance to over 2,000 pets and their people. Stewart received the CNN Hero of the Year Award on Dec. 11 for Project Street Vet; when Geosano read about it, she set out to see if she could work Stewart’s ideas in Long Beach.
“I looked online and called Project Street Vet directly,” she said. “I thought I would have to start up a whole nonprofit in Long Beach, and I would’ve done that, but they said, no no, you won’t have to.”
Geosano went on ride-alongs with the Long Beach Police Department‘s quality of life officers to check out numbers of unhoused people with pets. Project Street Vet then mobilized veterinarians, vet techs and staff, and the first Long Beach Project Street Vet outreach program was on.
The success of that July outreach led to another on Dec. 8. Geosano and Project Street Vet plan to hold quarterly outreaches; the next one is planned for spring. In between events, Geosano visits with people and their pets at the Multi-Service Center. She offers contact information for future outreaches and arranges for local veterinarians to take care of emergencies. Project Street Vet takes care of the bill. Geosano said that she knows the names of most of the pets and humans.
“My original goal was to bring Project Street Vet to Long Beach,” Geosano said. “Now, my goal is to set up a leadership team here in Long Beach. We need volunteer vets and volunteer vet-techs.”
People anywhere are invited to volunteer at the outreaches, “as much or as little time as you can provide,” Geosano said.
To volunteer for the Long Beach Project Street Vet, contact [email protected] and mention that you want to be part of Diana Geosano’s Project Street Vet effort in Long Beach. Access this link to donate to Project Street Vet.
Speaking of do-gooding, the Long Beach Post and its sibling pubs have restructured as a nonprofit, meaning that we’re here to serve our community (you!). Find out here about becoming a subscribing member or making a tax-deductible gift to support the Long Beach Journalism Initiative. As an added bonus to our pet community, a portion of the funds from Scratching Post newsletter subscriptions will go to the venerable Friends of Long Beach Animals.
Pets to adopt or foster
Cecile Lindsay, who volunteered at the outreach, is Geosano’s neighbor. She has plenty of experience with animal needs and needy animals — she’s the adoption events coordinator for the accomplished Live Love Animal Rescue.
Meet a few of their neat little charges. Access this link for the adoption application and a full slate of their hopefuls.
Louie is a sweet senior Chihuahua mix whose favorite things are long walks, especially at the dog beach; naps; and treats. Louie’s 11 years old, which is technically a senior, but as a small guy, he could live several years more. He’s friendly, laid-back and affectionate, and he’s potty trained! Louie would love to have a calm doggy companion, as he loves other dogs, too.
Beauregard is a 7-year-old pit bull/boxer mix. He’s friendly and calm and has excellent manners, as befits his name. He loves being around his humans and will do anything for them. Beau is also potty trained and crate trained.
Donut, a 10-year-old terrier mix with a big grin, is a happy-go-lucky, playful girl! And people, of course. Donut is a bit too much for other small animals, as she loves to chase them, but toss a ball and she’ll gladly fetch it for you — all day long, if you’d be willing. She’s potty trained and crate trained.
Pet events and announcements
Shelters, rescues and every business that’s animal related is looking forward to the new year. Ring it in with these events! (Leave the horns and noisemakers at home — they hurt the little furries’ ears.)
Cats and Mats yoga at Feline Good Social Club
Get rid of all the kinks and knots you got from putting up the lights, bending over to get the last Barbie on the bottom shelf at the store, putting the tree back in the stand after Rover knocked it over, and taking down the lights. Long Beach’s only cat lounge is promising a “paw-sitive experience” with stretches, positions and adorable adoptables walking on, under and around you.
Friday, Jan. 5; 1 to 2 p.m., Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, tickets $25, available here
Drag Queen Bingo with The Little Lion Foundation
Everyone had so much fun at the last Drag Queen Bingo event that they’re bringing in another! Host Mia Anastasia Farrow will be calling out the numbers and creating more havoc and outrage than an assemblage of alley cats. Great prizes, good food and entertainment, and all funds going to support cat rescue and animal welfare through the Little Lion Foundation.
Saturday, Jan. 6; 6 to 9 p.m., Ficklewood Ciderworks, 720 East Broadway, Long Beach, tickets $20 at the door