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Animal lovers' calendar: June 29-July 4

Pets & Parasites bus

Southern California animal lovers, take heart: the coming weeks are loaded with animal-friendly activities.  (We refuse to use the phrase "dog days of summer."  You're welcome.)

This Week:

Friday, July 3, the Companion Animal Parasite Council hosts its Ask-a-Vet event from noon to 5:30 p.m. at the Long Beach Dog Park, 5201 E. 7th Street.  [Update: The Companion Animal Parasite Council has announced a change in venue; this event will now be held at the Long Beach Dog Beach, 1 Argonne Avenue, rather than at the Long Beach Dog Park as originally planned.]  Experts, including veterinarians and parasitologists, will be on hand to educate pet owners about zoonotic diseases -- like toxocariasis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever -- which can be transmitted from pets to people.  The good news, the councilsays, is that such scary-sounding diseases are easily preventable with common sense, good hygiene and year-round deworming and parasite control.  The event is free; more information is available at PetsAndParasites.org.

Saturday, July 4, farm animal rescue organization Animal Acres hosts its annual Fourth of July Pignic from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at its sanctuary in Acton.  The event features a vegan barbeque, tours of the Animal Acres farm, face-painting and old-fashioned games like sack races and wheelbarrow races.  No reservations are necessary; tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.  More information at AnimalAcres.org.


Saturday, July 11, spcaLA hosts "Kitten Palooza" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, at 12910 Yukon Ave. in Hawthorne.  Meet cats and kittens available for adoption while drinking a refreshing, complementary beverage from Honest Tea.  Chat with pet food experts and take home free samples from Natura Pet Products.  SpcaLA's resident animal behavior specialist will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions.  And for the kids, there will bea craft table where they can make their own cat toys (which can be taken home or donated to spcaLA's needy kitties).  For more information, check out spcaLA.com.

Saturday, July 11, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association holds an informational meeting for potential general volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium. General volunteer duties include helping with special events, preparing food for the zoo's animals, creating play devices and other materials for the animals' enrichment activities, and liaising with visitors and the goat residents of the zoo's Muriel's Ranch section.  (General volunteers must be 16 or older, although volunteers must be 18 or older to participate in some activities.)  Reservations are required for attendance at the meeting.  For more information, call (323) 644-4703 or e-mail volunteers@lazoo.org.

Saturday, July 18, spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Specialty Spay Neuter Center on 5026 W. Jefferson Blvd.  The clinic will offer rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs ($5); DHPP vaccinations for dogs ($15); bordatella vaccinations for dogs ($10); FVRCP and leukemia vaccinations for cats ($15 each); and microchipping for cats and dogs ($25).  More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, July 18, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association holds an informational meeting for potential High School Student Volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  Students entering grades nine, 10 or 11 in the fall are eligible to participate in this program, which includes a 10-week training course.  High School Student Volunteers must commit to 60 hours of volunteer work per year for two years.  Applicants are required to attend the July 18 meeting, which includes a presentation, group activities and interviews.  Reservations are not required for the meeting, but interested students should contact the zoo's Docent Chair at (323) 644-4702 or e-mail docents@lazoo.org. 

Saturday, July 18, spcaLA invites potential "foster parents" to learn about its fostering program from 10 a.m. to noon at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, at 12910 Yukon Ave. in Hawthorne.  "Foster parents" are needed to care for underage puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted, as well as older dogs and cats with special needs.  More information at spcaLA.com.  (The L.A. Department of Animal Services offers a similar program for underage puppies and kittens; more information on that program is available at the department's website.) 

Saturday, July 25, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association holds an informational meeting for potential volunteer Docents from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  Docents serve as volunteer teachers at the zoo and must complete a training program offered by the zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extention.  Docents must be 18or older and able to commit to 100 hours of volunteer work per year for a minimum of two years.  Reservations are not required for the July 25 meeting; for more information, contact the zoo's Docent Chair at (323) 644-4702 or e-mail docents@lazoo.org. 

Tuesday, July 28, dogs ("of all faiths!") and their humans (presumably, also of all faiths) will mingle at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street in downtown L.A., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Dogs must be on a leash and behave well with people and other dogs.  For more information and to RSVP, go to DowntownLA.com.  [Update: This event's promoters note that Dog Day Afternoon is for downtown residents -- with or without dogs -- only.]


It's "Shark Summer" at Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific, and to celebrate, the aquarium is extending its hours and offering visitors a discount on Sunday evenings.  Sundays from now until Sept. 6, admission fees will be reduced to $11.95 beginning at 5 p.m., and visitors can hang out with the sharks (as well as the aquarium's other sea life) until 10 p.m.  For more information, check out Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

In Theaters:

"Earth" is the first foray into filmmaking by Disney's new documentary unit, Disneynature.  Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore says it's "a grab bag of beautiful nature footage, a bit all over the place in subject," but hey -- we'd take a grab bag over a lot of the other movies playing nowadays. Bonus for parents: It's G-rated. Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes

The latest from animation studio Pixar is "Up," which Times film critic Kenneth Turan says is "not only good, it's one of Pixar's best."  Although the story centers around the character of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and the young stowaway who comes along for the ride when he attempts to float his house to South America with thousands of helium balloons, there are several great plot elements for animal lovers.  One centers on a chocolate-loving exotic bird; our favorite involves, as Turan puts it, "a pack of dogs equipped with high-tech collars that turn their classically canine thoughts into words."  The end result is priceless (but requires a minimum of four handkerchiefs).  Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo courtesy PetsAndParasites.org

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I hope the LA Zoo will get many volunteers out there. I truly love going to that zoo. It really has a lot of exciting new exhibits coming in the next few years.

Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America's Best Zoos


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