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.

Sterling has spent too much time at the shelter, and kennel stress is getting in the way of his loving, energetic personality. He’s all ears as he listens for the footsteps of a foster or a forever loving human. Photo courtesy of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Help a red-listed pet exit the shelter in the best possible way

The dogs waiting to go home in the Pets to adopt or foster section are on Long Beach Animal Care Services’ red list or urgent list and need to get out of the shelter. Now.

Pets who are brought to shelters arrive in all states of mental and physical health. But no matter how much kindness and care they get in shelters, they’re still shelters. Dogs, cats and rabbits spend most of the day enclosed in kennels, which isn’t natural for animals used to running around a yard or deciding whether to sleep on the sofa or the clean laundry. Dogs seem to suffer the most from kennel stress — they need exercise, playtime, discipline and routine.

“The constant stress and confinement affect [the pet] at such a deep level that even with exercise and enrichment by volunteers and staff, their quality of life continues to decline to a level where the question of being inhumane is considered,” one experienced volunteer said.

Animals on the urgent list suffer from kennel stress or have a treatable medical condition. Red-listed pets have a date set at which if they aren’t pulled, they may be euthanized. Don’t read it as an expiration date, though.

“It’s an ask-for-help,” said LBACS interim director Melanie Wagner. “It is us saying that we recognize that this animal needs help.”

Red-listed situations are more dire than urgent ones.

“The animal may be sick and suffering or has been on the urgent list for several months and has deteriorated so badly that we have to put a date on it,” Wagner said. “Some of the dates are fluid. If we have deteriorating behavior, we meet as a team. Sometimes, the animals are moved to another kennel, and sometimes, they’re off the list because we found a foster.”

So far, Wagner said, no healthy pets have been euthanized — in fact, January’s euthanasia statistics show a 90% save rate, the benchmark for no-kill. She and the LBACS staff and volunteers ask the community to help keep the rate up. We have a few candidates below; access this Facebook link to see more.

A future, more extensive article will address no-kill and red-listing.

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Pets to adopt or foster

These dogs need out right away, whether it’s a rescue pull, a foster or a forever home. Email [email protected] or [email protected], or call 562-570-4925 to adopt or foster any of these dogs. Even better, stop by during Long Beach Animal Care Services’ walk-in hours every Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and meet them all! The shelter is located at 7700 E. Spring St. Tell your friends.

Barstow (ID#A712103) is a 2-year-old pittie who needs to be in a home by this Sunday, Feb. 4, his red-list date. It’s coming up way too soon. Barstow doesn’t react well to other dogs and sometimes redirects his irritation to the human who’s leashing him. Often, this behavior is a result of deterioration from extended kennel residency. This is a long shot, but if there’s a rescue out there or a person experienced with this breed and who is patient and confident that they can train this boy and keep him safe, please contact the shelter. He shouldn’t see his shadow on Groundhog Day.

Eclipse (ID#A706162) is also on the red list, which is a shame because she’s a young, energetic shepherd who loves to chase toys in the play yard. But she’s suffering from kennel stress and jumps and spins in the kennel. Remedy? Out of the kennel and into a home. She needs to work on her leash manners so she doesn’t jump up and give everyone a hug and a lick, but she knows a few basic commands, so she can certainly learn.

Mosley (ID#A700728) has been here since June. He’s one of the shelter’s longest-staying dogs. He’s a great buddy, and he thinks the same of his volunteer friends. He’s lively and is happy to play with anyone! He’ll also roll over for belly rubs and scritches. He’s just a little over a year old and has lots of time to live and learn. If you can provide Mosley with training, a routine to follow, and most of all, those belly rubs, he’s the dog for you and your family!

Pet events and announcements

$50 wellness exams at Fix Long Beach

Fix Long Beach now offers monthly wellness clinics for your pet. In-house diagnostics and lab tests are available as well as vaccinations so that your buddy will have a good chance to not get those diseases. By appointment only; schedule here.

This month’s clinic will take place Wednesday, Feb. 7 and Thursday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $50 for wellness exam; other services will carry additional charges. Fix Long Beach is located at 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach.

Stray and feral cat workshop rescheduled

The Stray and Feral Cat Resource Workshop that was planned last month at an outdoor venue has been rescheduled because of rain. If you haven’t applied to take part in the event, access this link for details. The workshop will take place Feb. 10 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; email [email protected] to enroll and receive location information.

Rabbit vaccine clinic

The Bun Chia Burrow, a small-pets boarding and bonding facility with mobile grooming is holding an RHDV-2 vaccine clinic at its Long Beach facility. RHDV-2 is a virus 100% fatal to rabbits, and domestic bunnies must be vaccinated against it. A wellness exam is included. The clinic is by appointment only.

The clinic will take place Saturday, Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $35 for the vaccine if the first dose was given at Bun Chia; $50 if this is your bunny’s first time. Email [email protected] to register, and complete this form for your rabbits. Location will be provided after registration.

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