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Animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of March 6-7 and beyond

March 5, 2010 | 10:01 pm

Foster puppies

From adoption events to pet-friendly parties to animal behavior seminars, the coming weeks are full of opportunities for animal lovers to keep busy. We've got the details on a number of events -- oh, and something about some little-known award show we've heard of. (Are we forgetting something? Let us know by leaving a comment.)

Saturday, March 6, 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, March 6, the L.A. Department of Animal Services holds a mobile pet-adoption event at the Canoga Park Petco location, 6615 Fallbrook Mall Ave., from noon to 4 p.m. See photos of adoptable pets at the department's website.

Sunday, March 7, the L.A. Department of Animal Services holds a mobile pet-adoption event at Moorpark Park, 12061 Moorpark Ave. in Studio City, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 7, tune into the Academy Awards from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on ABC to see if animal-related films win Oscar gold. "The Cove," which tells the story of an annual Japanese event at which dolphins are systematically slaughtered (and prominently features Unleashed guest blogger Ric O'Barry), and "Food Inc.," which examines the way food gets from the farm to the plate and offers an insightful look at factory farming, are both nominated in the feature documentary category. Pixar's "Up," which features both a chocolate-loving exotic bird and a pack of dogs whose thoughts are translated into human speech through high-tech collars, is nominated in both the best picture and best animated feature categories. "The Cove" director Louie Psihoyos told Unleashed that the film's Oscar nomination is important "because [the Academy Awards telecast is] the most watched program in Japanese television. I didn't get into movies to win awards. I got into making this movie to start a movement to save the ocean. I've been trying to give the oceans a voice and an Oscar nomination amplifies that voice."

Upcoming:

Saturday, March 13, spcaLA hosts PAWS to Read at the Hermosa Beach Library, 550 Pier Ave., from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Beginning and independent young readers up to age 12 are eligible to participate; the program is free, but advance registration is recommended. More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, March 13, the L.A. Department of Animal Services holds mobile pet-adoption events in Rancho Palos Verdes at Fred Hesse Jr. Memorial Park, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; in West Hills at Sunrise Senior Living Community, 9012 Topanga Canyon Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and in West Hollywood at AHF Pharmacy, 8212 Santa Monica Blvd., from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 13, the Four-Legged Friends Foundation hosts its first St. Patrick's Day block party for dogs and their people in Culver City on the 11800 block of Teale Street. The block party is a fundraiser for the group and includes a "Pinups for Pups" fashion show, a dog costume contest, pet-themed vendors and animal-loving celebrity guests including host Debra Skelton (MADtv). Cost is $25 and includes the price of admission for your leashed, well-behaved dog. For $50, you and your dog can have access not just to the block party, but also to a private VIP party in the adjacent Zoom Room agility training center. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit FLFF.org.

Sunday, March 14, the city of Beverly Hills hosts "Woodstock 90210," a community event for people and pets, at Roxbury Park, 471 S. Roxbury Drive, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features a pet parade, agility and disc-catching dog demonstrations, adoptable pets, animal-themed vendors and more. Pet parade begins at 1 p.m. Event is free, but participation in the pet parade is $5 per dog. Actor/natural dog food mogul Dick Van Patten and his dogs will pose for photos with event guests. Free parking is available at nearby Beverly Hills High School, with pet-friendly shuttle service to Roxbury Park. More information at BeverlyHills.org.

Saturday, March 20, spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. behind West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. 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). In honor of Spay Day U.S.A., goodie bags will be available during the clinic while supplies last. More information at spcaLA.com.

Sunday, March 21, the California Wildlife Center, which rescues and rehabilitates orphaned and injured wild animals in the L.A. area, invites the public to an open house event at its Calabasas facility, 26026 Piuma Road. Guests can meet CWC staff and ask questions about wildlife, take a guided tour of the facility and see some of the animals being cared for there. Event is free; refreshments will be served and children are welcome. Arts and crafts projects and face-painting will be available for youngsters. More information at CaliforniaWildlifeCenter.org; to RSVP, email admin@californiawildlifecenter.org or call (818) 222-2658.

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 ranging from 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 and registration at ThePetDocs.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.

SpcaLA is taking reservations for its two weeklong "Friends For Life" spring day camps for children ages 9 to 12. Campers will learn about pet care and develop animal training skills by participating in obedience and agility classes with spcaLA's adoptable dogs. Guest speakers, training demonstrations and animal-related games and crafts are also on the schedule. First session runs from March 29 through April 2 at the organization's South Bay Pet Adoption Center, 12910 Yukon Ave., Hawthorne; second session runs from April 5 through April 9 at the South Bay Pet Adoption Center. Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Cost is $250 per child; for more information or to register, visit spcaLA.com.

Mark Your Calendar:

Friday-Sunday, April 16-18, America's Family Pet Expo returns to the Orange County Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. The event features informational displays on dog breeds, adoptable animals, pet-themed vendors, a petting zoo, pony rides and demonstrations of activities ranging from dog grooming to K-9 police dog work to 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.

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"). 

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 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.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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Photo: A foster "parent" holds two puppies from Santa Fe, N.M.'s Animal Shelter and Humane Society. Credit: Ben Swan / Associated Press

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