Animal lovers' calendar: week of Oct. 4-10
Saturday, Oct. 10, the L.A. County 4-H Youth Development Program hosts its pet symposium from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of California Cooperative Extension, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave. L.A. County kids will learn about responsible pet ownership, animal-related community service opportunities and pet-centric careers. This free event focuses not only on garden-variety dogs and cats, but also rabbits, turtles, chickens and bees. For more information, contact Dawn Fuller at (323) 260-3859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, Oct. 10, spcaLA invites potential "foster parents" to learn about its fostering program from 10 a.m. to noon at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, 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.)
Sunday, Oct. 11, bring your (well-behaved) dog along when you head to the 9th annual Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at William S. Hart Park in Santa Clarita. The event is free and features adoptable animals, pet-themed vendors, animal information booths, food vendors for both pets and people, a pet psychic and demonstrations of doggie activities like agility and flyball. Most fun of all: the Fun Dog Show, which includes classes you're not likely to see at an AKC event (like Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog, Best Vocalist, Mystery Mutt, Largest Ears, Silly Pet Trick and Most Physically Challenged). More information available at BowWowsAndMeows.org.
Saturday, Oct. 17, L.A.-based natural pet food company Dogswell holds its inaugural Homeward Hound Hike, a family-and-dog-friendly hike along Griffith Park's scenic East & West Observatory Trails. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of Animals Foundation, a nonprofit, no-kill shelter here in L.A. Following the hike, participants are invited to a party with music, food and beverages (both for humans and for dogs) and raffle prizes. Adoptable dogs from the Friends of Animals Foundation will be on hand as well. Registration for the hike begins at 9 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. Cost is $20; more information and directions at Dogswell's website.
Saturday, Oct. 24, spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, 12910 Yukon Ave., Hawthorne. The clinic will offer rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs ($5); DHPP vaccinations for dogs ($15); bordetella 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, Oct. 31, join Much Love Animal Rescue for its 6th annual Bow Wow Ween fundraising event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Topanga Community Club, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. The main event at Bow Wow Ween is the always-enjoyable canine costume contest, where a panel of celebrity judges will award prizes (worth more than $3,000 in total) to the winners. The event also features vendors, games, kids' activities and adoptable pets from a dozen local rescue groups. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door; children under 10 enter free. Entry to the costume contest is $25 per dog. More information at MuchLove.org.
Coming up in November and December, Villalobos Rescue Center offers a free 8-week training course for L.A. pit bulls and pit mixes at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services' North Central shelter. (Exact dates of the course to be determined.) The course covers basic commands like sit and stay and progresses to more advanced tricks and an introduction to agility training. More information at Villalobos' website.
Through Nov. 8, learn the truth about spiders at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum's Spider Pavilion. Visitors can enter a walk-through exhibit filled with nearly 100 arachnids of various species -- and it's just in time for Halloween! Tickets are sold in half-hour intervals throughout the day and cost $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, and $1 for children; museum members enter free. More information and directions available at NHM.org.
Through Nov. 28, UC Riverside presents "Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art" at its Sweeney Art Gallery, which features works from 20 artists (most from California) that explore the lives and aesthetics of animals in unique ways. One featured artist, Sam Easterson, shows video gathered when he attached minicams to creatures including armadillos, falcons, scorpions and sheep. Another, Nina Katchadourian, explores our ideas of what constitutes a good-looking animal in "Continuum of Cute," for which she chose 100 images of animals which she ranked from uncute to very, very cute. (Not for the faint of heart: Another artist, Carlee Fernandez, reworked taxidermied animals into shall-we-say-unorthodox pieces of luggage.) "In the past, art dealing with animals usually addressed issues of representation," gallery director Tyler Stallings told The Times of the exhibition. "I wanted to expand beyond that." More information at the Sweeney Art Gallery's website.
"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 showtimes.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: A kitten is bottle-fed as part of a foster care program. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times