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Animal lovers' calendar: Week of August 2-8

Blanket

Fear not, southern California animal lovers: There's a lot to look forward to in the days and weeks ahead. Here's a selection of upcoming animal-friendly events. (Are we missing something? Let us know in the comment section!)

This week:

Wednesday, Aug. 5, animal trainer Jennifer McCarthy offers a free seminar on coexisting with wildlife from 7 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 why 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

Upcoming:

Sunday, Aug. 9, Operation Blankets of Love hosts its For the Love of Dogs (and Cats) comedy show at the Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd. Show begins at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Proceeds benefit Operation Blankets of Love's work supplying Southern California animal shelters with blankets, bedding and toys to make homeless pets feel more comfortable.

Saturday, Aug. 15, 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 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.) 

Thursday, Aug. 20, spcaLA hosts Dodger Night.  Animal-loving baseball fans can purchase discounted tickets to see the Dodgers take on the Chicago Cubs in an evening game beginning at 7:10 p.m.  Proceeds from the event benefit the spcaLA's work on behalf of needy pets.  More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, Aug. 22, Much Love Animal Rescue holds its third annual Bow Wow Wow Howlywood fundraiser at The Lot in Hollywood from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Much Love bills the event as a fun night of comedy (featuring the likes of "Saturday Night Live" and "Will & Grace" alum Laura Kightlinger), food and drink (with a vegetarian buffet and cocktails) and a silent auction.  The event also honors animal advocates Priscilla Presley, Jacob Fenton, Carole Raphaelle Davis and Carol Sax.  Tickets are $200 per person or $1,800 per table of 10. VIP tickets are $300 and include a private cocktail hour to mingle with comedians and celebrities, VIP parking and gift bags. Tickets can be purchased at Much Love's website or by emailing [email protected] 

Saturday, Aug. 22, spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village and Education Center, 7700 E. Spring St.,Long Beach. The clinic will offer rabies vaccinations for 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.

Wednesday, Aug. 26, Dr. Chugey Sepulveda offers a lecture on the shortfin mako and common threshersharks 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. Cost is $8, $4 for aquarium members and free for students with a valid student ID. Reservations aren't required but are encouraged, as the lecture may sell out. Students wishing to use their free entry must make an advance reservation by calling (562) 590-3100. More information at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

Ongoing:

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 through 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.

In theaters:

"The Cove" tells the horrific story of wild dolphins that are systematically rounded up and slaughtered in a tranquil Japanese port village. "Unlike their larger cetacean brethren whales, dolphins are not protected by the worldwide ban on commercial whaling that has been in effect since the 1980s," our colleague Rachel Abramowitz explains -- and because the dolphins aren't protected, they're seen as fair game for fishermen, who round them up for sale to marine parks around the world. The dolphins that aren't sold have an even worse fate; they're butchered for food. Times film critic Kenneth Turan calls it "a powerful and effective piece of advocacy filmmaking," but be forewarned: it's extremely graphic.  Check Zap2It for theaters and show times.

"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.

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 on the character of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and the young stowaway who goes 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 result is priceless (but requires a minimum of four handkerchiefs). Check Zap2It for theaters and show times.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Every pet deserves a nice blanket; Operation Blankets of Love provides them to local shelters, along with pet beds and toys.  Credit: wmjrdn / Your Scene

 
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