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Animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of May 8-9 and beyond

It's National Pet Week!

From fundraising events -- emphasis on fun -- to opportunities to meet adoptable pets, the coming weeks and months are full of opportunities for Southern California residents to have fun while helping animals. We have the details on a number of upcoming animal-centric events; if you think we're missing something, let us know by leaving a comment or tweeting the details to us @LATunleashed.

Through Saturday, May 8, celebrate the animals in your life during the tail-end (no pun intended) of two weeklong celebrations that began last Sunday, Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week. More information on Be Kind to Animals Week at AmericanHumane.org; more information on National Pet Week at PetWeek.org.

Saturday, May 8, spare a thought for those flying the friendly skies -- not airplanes, silly; migratory birds! It's International Migratory Bird Day, celebrated every year on the second Saturday in May. "Public awareness and concern are crucial components of migratory bird conservation," according to the organization Environment for the Americas. "Citizens who are enthusiastic about birds, informed about threats, and empowered to become involved in addressing those threats, can make a tremendous contribution to maintaining healthy bird populations." More information at BirdDay.org.

Saturday, May 8, radio station 95.5 KLOS hosts its fifth annual Mark and Brian Pet Adoption Day at spcaLA's P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center, 7700 E. Spring St. in Long Beach, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can meet adoptable pets from spcaLA, have their questions answered by an spcaLA trainer and a VCA Veterinary Hospitals veterinarian, bid on items in a silent auction, visit pet-themed vendors and enjoy refreshments. More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, May 8, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts mobile pet-adoption events at Fred Hesse Jr. Memorial Park, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd. in Rancho Palos Verdes, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; at the Canoga Park PetSmart location, 21311 Victory Blvd., from noon to 4 p.m.; and at the West Hollywood Petco location, 508 N. Doheny Drive, from 1 to 5 p.m. See photos of adoptable pets at LAAnimalServices.com.

Saturday, May 8, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services hosts an Adopt-a-Thon event in conjunction with the opening of its newest shelter facility, the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter, at 6851 Van Buren Blvd. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can meet adoptable pets, tour the new facility, listen to live music, see an agility demonstration, enjoy free barbecue and more. All dogs adopted during the event will receive a complimentary grooming. More information at the department's website.

Saturday, May 8, 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, May 8, the L.A. Zoo invites visitors to celebrate Mother's Day with an informative presentation about motherhood in the animal kingdom. The event begins with a reception at 10:30 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. presentation by naturalist and zoo docent Joleen Lutz. Docent-led walking tours showcasing the zoo's most interesting mothers and their offspring begin at 11:45 a.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12, plus the price of zoo admission; tickets for zoo members are $10 and $5 for children under 12. For more information or to make a reservation, visit LAZoo.org.

Sunday, May 9, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts mobile pet-adoption events at the Encino Farmers Market, 17400 Victory Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and at the Santa Monica Kiehl's location, 1516 Montana Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, May 9, pet store Healthy Spot and Studio DNA Salon present "Mommy & Me Makeovers," a full-day event designed to allow pet parents to celebrate Mother's Day with their dogs. The day begins with "Mommy Makoevers" (which consist of haircut, blowout and makeup application) and "Doggie Makeovers" (which consist of shampoo conditioning treatment, blueberry facials and full brush and blowout) and continues with a limo ride to a separate location for a photography session with Bark Pet Photography. Guests will also receive "doggie bags" of free gifts. Cost is $150 for small dogs and their owners; $175 for medium-sized dogs and their owners; and $200 for large dogs and their owners. Space is limited; reservations can be made by calling (310) 657-2400. More information at StudioDNASalon.com.

Upcoming:

Thursday, May 13, celebrate the humble frog -- or just read Mark Twain's famous "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" -- on Frog Jumping Day, which is held every year on May 13.

Saturday-Sunday, May 15-16, the Mountains Restoration Trust hosts two one-day Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Clinics for Dogs, presented by trainer Tracy Jenson-Presson of High On Kennels. The clinics aim to teach dogs, whose keen sense of smell can distinguish between rattlesnakes and other types of snake, to avoid rattlesnakes when they encounter them. The clinics will be held at Tapia Park in Calabasas; classes on both Saturday and Sunday will last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mountains Restoration Trust assures interested dog owners that the clinics will be "conducted in a safe, humane, controlled environment ensuring the safety of your dog, as well as the safety of the rattlesnakes." Cost is $70 and registration must be made in advance. For more information or to register, visit MountainsTrust.org.

Saturday, May 15, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts mobile pet-adoption events at downtown pet store Pussy & Pooch, 564 S. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and at Northridge's Petco location, 8800 Tampa Ave., from noon to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 19, actor Taye Diggs hosts a reading to celebrate the launch of Alpo dog food's new "Real Dogs Eat Meat" handbook written -- get this -- by dogs, for dogs. (We have our doubts that these so-called "paw-thors" didn't have help from human ghostwriters, but heck, if ghostwriters are good enough for the Secretary of State, they're good enough for dogs!) The event takes place at 10 a.m. EST (that's 7 a.m. PST, kids) in New York City, but dog lovers from around the world can view it virtually through a website created to host the handbook, which will be available free to online readers. Those interested in virtually "attending" the reading, during which Diggs will read excerpts from the book to real dogs, can sign up for an e-mail reminder at AlpoRealDogs.com.

Saturday, May 22, spcaLA hosts PAWS to Read at the Redondo Beach Public Library, 303 N. Pacific Coast Highway, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Participation is free; sign-up begins at 9 a.m. at the Children's Information Desk. More information at spcaLA.com.

Sunday, May 23, Best Friends Animal Society holds its annual Spring Super Adoption Festival at Westchester  Recreation Center, 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.

Saturday, May 29, spcaLA invites baseball fans to purchase discounted tickets to the 1 p.m. game between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Seattle Mariners at Angels Stadium. In advance of the game, spcaLA is also hosting an online auction of Angels memorabilia and other items, with all proceeds benefiting its work on behalf of needy animals in Southern California. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit spcaLA.com.

Saturday, June 5, FixNation hosts a low-cost vaccine, microchip and FeLV/FIV testing clinic for dogs and cats at its Sun Valley location, 7680 Clybourn Ave., from 9 a.m. to noon. Rabies vaccination is $12 for dogs and cats; FVRCP for cats is $8; DHLPP for dogs is $8; FeLV/FIV Snap testing for cats is $30; and microchipping is $25 for dogs and cats. The clinic is open to the public on a walk-in basis only; reservations aren't accepted. FixNation will hold a low-cost vaccine and microchip clinic on the first Saturday of each month in 2010, with a few exceptions because of holidays. For more information or a full schedule, visit FixNation.org.

Monday, June 14, Riverside's Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center (formerly known as the Riverside Humane Society) hosts Riverside County's first-ever 100-hole golf marathon to raise funds for homeless pets. Confused about how a 100-hole marathon is possible? So were we (but then, we'll be the first to admit that we're confused about golf in general). The organizers explain that the event will be "a fast-paced, 100 holes of golf played as a personal best-ball scramble. That's 50 holes, two balls per hole ...100 holes." Whew! Sounds like a busy day, indeed. The event takes place at Riverside's Victoria Country Club, 2521 Arroyo Drive, and begins with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Golf play begins at 8:30 and concludes at 5 p.m., with time out for a box lunch to be eaten on the golf course. The day ends with a buffet dinner, drawings and prizes in the clubhouse. Those who wish to help the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center's furry residents without playing 100 holes can also sponsor a golfer. For more information or to register, visit PetsAdoption.com.

Ongoing:

Every first Wednesday through October, Santa Monica's Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar, 104 Santa Monica Blvd., offers "Wine Woof Wednesday" from 7 to 9 p.m. During the event, guests can bring their dogs along to Pourtal and receive free dog-walking service with any purchase over $25. More information at Pourtal.com.

SpcaLA is taking registrations for its "Friends for Life" summer camp for animal-loving kids ages 8 to 13. Participants will learn the basics of companion animal care, respect for animals and beginning dog training skills during one of eight week-long camp sessions. (The first camp session begins in late June, and the final one concludes in early September, meaning kids with all manner of summer schedules can be accommodated.) Cost is $250 if registration is received before June 1 and $300 if received on or after June 1. For more information or to register your child, visit spcaLA.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 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.

Mark Your Calendar:

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").

-- Lindsay Barnett

Don't miss an event: Follow Unleashed on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: We appreciate awesome pets like Ralph the St. Bernard every day -- but we appreciate them even more than usual during National Pet Week, which concludes Saturday. Credit: stevi via Your Scene

 
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