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Animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of March 27-28 and beyond

March 25, 2010 | 10:34 pm


From educational opportunities to pet-adoption fairs to ways to have fun while raising money for local animal-related charities, the coming weeks are chock-full of events sure to appeal to Southern California animal lovers. If you think we're missing an event, let us know by leaving a comment or tweeting the details to us @LATunleashed.

Friday-Sunday, March 26-28, the Pasadena Humane Society hosts "The Well-Adjusted Cat and Dog Workshops" at its shelter facility, 361 S. Raymond Ave. The workshops' featured speaker is Dr. Nicolas Dodman, author and director of Tufts University's Animal Behavior Clinic. Dodman will cover issues including phobias in dogs and cats, feline medical problems that may be mistaken for behavioral issues, strategies for dealing with litter-box and furniture-scratching issues in cats and dominance issues in dogs. The workshops' three days will be divided into one daylong cat-behavior workshop and a two-day dog-behavior workshop. More information at ThePetDocs.com.

Saturday-Sunday, March 27-28, head to Orange County for the second annual Spring Pet Days at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. During the two-day event, held in conjunction with the Fair and Event Center's regularly scheduled swap meet, animal lovers can shop for pet-related merchandise, learn training and pet-safety tips and meet adoptable animals from a number of local rescue groups and adoption agencies. Adoptable dogs, cats, rabbits and reptiles will be on hand, including needy purebred dogs from breed-specific rescue groups for golden retrievers, German shepherds, basset hounds and dachshunds. Event runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days; swap meet admission, which includes admission to the Pet Days event, is $2 for adults and teenagers 13 and above. Children 12 and under enter free; pets, with the exception of working leader and therapy dogs, should stay home. Free parking is available. Directions at OCMarketplace.com.

Saturday-Sunday, March 27-28, country aficionados can remember music legend Buck Owens and help homeless pets at the same time at the fourth annual Buckfest. The event, held at the Cowboy Palace Saloon, 21635 Devonshire St., Chatsworth, begins at 6 p.m. and continues until closing time Saturday and Sunday. Numerous local country bands will perform; all proceeds go to the needy animals at Owens' favorite charity, the Bakersfield SPCA. Admission is free; event also features raffle prizes and giveaways (and a barbecue for carnivores so inclined). Directions at CowboyPalace.com.

Saturday, March 27, spcaLA hosts PAWS to Read at the Redondo Beach Public Library, 303 N. Pacific Coast Highway, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Through the PAWS to Read program, children practice their reading skills by reading to a decidedly nonjudgmental audience: certified therapy dogs. Participation is free; sign-up begins at 9 a.m. at the Children's Information Desk. More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, March 27, the L.A. Department of Animal Services holds mobile pet-adoption events at the Torrance PetSmart location, 3855-59 Sepulveda Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and at K9 Loft, 2170 West Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 27, North Hollywood music venue Kulak's Woodshed hosts a concert to raise funds for L.A.-based Strangest Angels Animal Rescue from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Performers include Danny Peck, Joe Hamilton, Jonathan Clark, The Boxing Gandhis and Julie Chadwick. Well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Sunday, March 28, rescued farm-animal sanctuary Animal Acres invites visitors to an open house at its Acton facility, 5200 Escondido Canyon Road, in celebration of the Great American Meat-Out. The  event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free; no reservations are required to participate. More information at AnimalAcres.org. To learn more about the Great American Meat-Out or to find an event near you, visit MeatOut.org.


Tuesday, March 30, art gallery Trigg Ison Fine Art hosts a wine-tasting event to benefit animal advocacy group In Defense of Animals at its West Hollywood facility, 511 N. Robertson Blvd., from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event features hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, a silent auction and raffle prizes, with event proceeds and a portion of the evening's art sales to be used for In Defense of Animals' chimpanzee sanctuary and other animal-friendly projects. Tickets are $30 and their purchase may be used as an income tax deduction. More information at IDAUSA.org.

Saturday, April 3, the American Humane Assn. asks pet owners to remember the importance of tagging and microchipping companion animals. The organization is hosting "Every Day Is Tag Day" to increase awareness about this issue. Only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats that enter U.S. animal shelters and humane societies without an identification tag or microchip are reunited with their owners, according to American Humane. Not only is that statistic scary, it's also completely preventable. Learn more about pet identification and what to do if your pet gets lost at AmericanHumane.org.

Saturday, April 3, the Olvera Street Merchants invite animals of all sorts to the 80th annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony at L.A.'s famous El Pueblo Historical Monument from noon to 5 p.m. A procession begins at 2 p.m., after which Cardinal Roger Mahony will begin the blessing ceremony. Animals from run-of-the-mill dogs and cats to more exotic boa constrictors and iguanas have been blessed at the ceremony in previous years. Event is free, and those without pets are also welcome to attend. More information at LACity.org.

Thursday, April 8, the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals invite California animal advocates to the California Humane Lobby Day in Sacramento. Through Humane Lobby Day, California voters can converse directly with their elected representatives about animal welfare issues in California and learn from legislators in the state's newly formed Animal Protection Caucus about ways to be a citizen advocate for animals. Event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Capitol, located at the corner of 11th Street and L Street in Room 4202 (4th floor) in Sacramento. Advance registration is required; for more information or to register online, visit HumaneSociety.org.

Friday-Sunday, April 16-18, America's Family Pet Expo returns to the Orange County Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. The event features informational displays on dog breeds, adoptable animals, pet-themed vendors, a petting zoo, pony rides and demonstrations of activities such as dog grooming, K-9 police dog work and dock-diving dogs. Tickets are $12, $10 for people over age 60, $6 for children ages 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger. More information at PetExpoOC.com.

Sunday, April 18, local rescue group New Leash on Life presents its fifth annual Nuts for Mutts 5K walk-a-thon in conjunction with the Calabasas Rotary Club and the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center. The walk-a-thon is a fundraiser for New Leash on Life's work on behalf of needy pets in the L.A. area and includes pet-themed exhibits, children's activities, a canine fashion show, a dog training clinic and more animal-related activities. The walk begins at 8 a.m. at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, and continues through the hills of Calabasas. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome to participate. For more information or to register, visit NewLeash.org.

Sunday, May 23, Best Friends Animal Society holds its annual Spring Super Adoption Festival at Westchester Park, at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue in Westchester, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hundreds of pets from area animal shelters and rescue groups will be on hand to meet potential adopters, and the event will give special attention to senior pets, which are often overlooked in favor of younger animals. (Take it from us, kids: Adopting a senior pet is great, particularly if said pet is already house-trained!) More information at BestFriendsEvents.net.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will open its newly restored 1913 Building with a brand-new "Age of Mammals" exhibition beginning July 11. The exhibition traces the history of evolution "from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the rise of humans -- within the context of epochal changes in the Earth's geology and climate," John Harris, the Natural History Museum's head of vertebrate studies and chief curator of the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, told our sister blog Culture Monster. Visitors will get to see specimens like the Simi Valley mastodon, a saber-toothed cat and a brontothere (a species with possibly the most rock 'n' roll-sounding scientific name: "thunder beast"). 


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 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 taken 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 off at Buffalo Exchange; mailing information is available at HSUS.org.) More information at BuffaloExchange.com.

The Origins skin care store at The Shops in Mission Viejo has partnered with the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center to offer free mini-facials, gifts with purchase and a chance to win a $100 Origins shopping spree in exchange for items donated to the animal services center. Taking Origins up on this offer is simple: Just head into the retail store located on the second level of The Shops in Mission Viejo and drop off an item on the animal services center's wish list. Wish-list items include blankets, towels, newspapers, heating pads, unused collars, bottles for unweaned kittens and dog and cat toys. More information at MissionViejoLife.org.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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Photo: A dog greets visitors at a 2004 adoption event held by the Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends hosts its annual Spring Super Adoption Festival May 23, and there are plenty of other opportunities to meet adoptable pets in the coming weeks and months. Credit: Handout photo provided by Best Friends

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