Animal lovers' calendar: Week of July 5-11 and beyond
Whether it's fuzzy kittens or streamlined sharks that float your boat, there are plenty of events to keep a Southern California animal lover busy over the coming weeks. (Are we missing something? Let us know in the comments section.)
Wednesday, July 8, Jeff Graham offers a lecture on the comparative physiology of sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. Graham, a research physiologist, marine biologist and senior lecturer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will focus on the functional features of sharks and rays that distinguish them from other vertebrates. Cost is $8, $4 for aquarium members and free for students with valid student ID. Reservations aren't required, but are encouraged as the lecture may sell out. Students wishing to utilize their free entry must make an advance reservation by calling (562) 590-3100. For more information, check out Aquarium of the Pacific online.
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., Hawthorne. Meet cats and kittens available for adoption while drinking a refreshing, complimentary 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 be a craft table where they can make their own cat toys (which can be taken home or donated to spcaLA's needy kitties). More information at 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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., 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 18 or 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 W. Temple Street in downtown L.A., from 6 to 9 p.m. Human attendees must be downtown residents; dogs must be on a leash and behave well with people and other dogs. For more information and to RSVP, go to DowntownLA.com.
Wednesday, August 5, animal trainer Jennifer McCarthy offers a free seminar on coexisting with wildlife from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Healthy Spot L.A., 1110 Wilshire Blvd.,Santa Monica. Topics include protecting pets from coyotes and mountain lions and understanding the reasons that Southern California coyote and mountain lion sightings are on the rise. The seminar also includes a Q&A session. More information at McCarthy's website.
Wednesday, August 26, Dr. Chugey Sepulveda offers a lecture on the shortfin mako and common thresher sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. The lecture will focus on the biology, ecology and recent movement studies of these two shark species. Sepulveda is laboratory director of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research (PIER). Cost is $8, $4 for aquarium members and free for students with valid student ID. Reservations aren't required, but are encouraged as the lecture may sell out. Students wishing to utilize their free entry must make an advance reservation by calling (562) 590-3100. More information at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.
It's "Shark Summer" at the 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. More information on Shark Summer events at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.
"Food, Inc." is the new documentary from producer-director Robert Kenner. It examines the way food gets from the farm to the plate and, critic Gary Goldstein writes, "after [its] disturbing glimpses inside the meat industry, along with its blunt indictment of fast food giants, you'll think twice before eating just about anything nonorganic." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls it "an essential, indelible documentary that is scarier than anything in the last five Saw horror shows." Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes.
"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 saysis "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: A sand tiger shark at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific