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Animal lovers' calendar: This weekend and beyond

Kitten

The coming days and weeks are full of animal-friendly activities, whether you're looking to adopt a dog or cat, provide a foster home for a needy kitten or puppy or just party with your pet. We've got the details on a plethora of events; let us know if we're missing something by leaving a comment!

This weekend:

Saturday, Dec. 5, 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.)

Saturday, Dec. 5, director and tattoo artist Brandon Boyd's film, "VICKtory to the Underdog," is screened at 1 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood as part of the sixth annual Artivist Film Festival. The film details Boyd's personal efforts to rescue Michael Vick's former dogs (hence the title); tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. More information and tickets available at Artivists.org.

Saturday, Dec. 5, Laguna Beach's Neighborhood Congregational Church hosts its 15th annual Festival and Blessing of the Animals from 1 to 4 p.m. This free event, at 340 St. Ann's Drive in Laguna Beach, includes a blessing of the animals ceremony led by Rev. B. J. Beu, pet-themed vendors and information on Orange County animal-related charities. The event is free; attendees are encouraged to bring donations of pet food to be distributed to pet-owning homeless families in Orange County. 

Saturday, Dec. 5, Kitten Rescue holds its second annual "Fur Ball at the Skirball" fundraising event from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd. The event, hosted by "The Office" star Jenna Fischer, features hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and dinner, live entertainment, a silent auction, a raffle and more. Tickets will set you back $125 each; an "Angel Table" with seating for 10 is $1,250. All proceeds benefit Kitten Rescue's work on behalf of needy cats and kittens in Southern California. More information at KittenRescue.org.

Sunday, Dec. 6, the Irvine Animal Care Center hosts its "Home for the Holidays" adoption event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its 5-acre shelter facility at 6443 Oak Canyon in Irvine. More than 500 adoptable pets -- each of which has already been spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and had his or her health evaluated by a veterinarian -- will be on hand to meet potential new owners. The event also features pet-themed vendors, a raffle, a silent auction, a bake sale, "Ask a Vet" and "Ask a Trainer" booths and an appearance by Santa Claus (who will be available for photo ops). Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. More information at IrvineShelter.org.

Sunday, Dec. 6, Santa Monica pet store Healthy Spot (1110 Wilshire Blvd.) hosts its second annual "Howliday Pawty" from 6 to 8 p.m.  The event, a fundraiser for Best Friends Animal Society's L.A. programs, features a raffle, a silent auction, vendors, "doggie bags" for guests and adoptable pets. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. More information at Healthy Spot's website.

Sunday, Dec. 6, L.A.-based jewelry company Art of War Designs hosts its combination holiday-party-and-fundraiser, with a percentage of all jewelry sales from the evening benefiting Villalobos Rescue Center, a pit bull rescue and training organization in Southern California.  From 6 to 10 p.m., join Art of War for music, cocktails and jewelry-shopping (designs are made from recycled bullet casings; get it?) at the Alibi Room, 12236 Washington Blvd. in Culver City.  More information at Art of War's website.

Upcoming:

Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13, get your pet's photo taken with "Santa Claws" at PetSmart in San Juan Capistrano, 33963 Doheny Park Road, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  A photo package, which includes a holiday frame, will set you back $10.95 ($9.95 if you present your PetPerks card), and $5 from each purchase will be donated to the Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE), a local animal rescue group.  More information at CapoAnimalRescue.com.  (Thanks to reader Miss Picky for letting us know about this event!)

Sunday, Dec. 13, farm-animal sanctuary the Gentle Barn holds its Winter Wonderland event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its Santa Clarita facility, 15825 Sierra Highway. The event features hayrides, sledding ("in real snow," its organizers note), food and, of course, a chance to meet the Gentle Barn's rescued-animal residents. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children; more information and tickets available at GentleBarn.org.

Saturday, Dec. 19, local charity the Found Animals Foundation sponsors "Save a Stray for the Holidays," a low-cost adoption festival at 14 area animal shelters, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information and a list of participating shelters available in English and Spanish at FoundAnimals.org.

Ongoing:

Through Earth Day (April 22, 2010), secondhand-clothing store chain Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society of the United States jointly host "Coats for Cubs." Animal lovers are encouraged to clean out their closets (or parents' and grandparents' closets) and donate any tacky real-fur items found there (including fur trim, accessories and shearling) back to the animals. Of course, it's too late to give the fur back to its original owner, but it can still be used as bedding for orphaned and injured wildlife -- and it doesn't do your conscience any harm, either. Fur in any condition is accepted and can be brought to any Buffalo Exchange location.  (If you'd like to claim your fur donation as a tax deduction, you'll need to mail it directly to the Humane Society rather than dropping it at Buffalo Exchange; mailing information is available at HSUS.org.) More information at BuffaloExchange.com.

Every first and third Sunday, meet adoptable pets from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services shelters -- without having to set foot in a shelter -- at the department's mobile pet adoption event at Moorpark Park, 12061 Moorpark Ave., Studio City.  The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Every second Saturday and third Sunday, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts a mobile pet adoption event at West Hollywood's Petco, 508 N. Doheny Drive, from 1 to 5 p.m.  Every third Sunday, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts a mobile pet adoption event at downtown pet store Pussy & Pooch, 564 S. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A 3-week-old kitten is bottle-fed as part of a foster program. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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