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Southern California animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of March 19-20 and beyond

March 18, 2011 |  6:18 pm

St. Patrick's Dogs

If you want to extend your St. Patrick's Day celebrating while helping pets, combine your love of animals with a trip to the flea market or party for pelicans, you'll find plenty to do in Southern California this weekend. Think we're forgetting something or want to alert us to an upcoming event? Let us know by leaving a comment on this post or sending us a tweet @LATunleashed.

This Weekend:

Saturday-Sunday, March 19-20, it's time once again for Spring Pet Days, an annual event for animal lovers at the Orange County Market Place, the weekend swap meet at the O.C. Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Meet adoptable pets from local rescue groups; shop at pet-centric vendor booths; attend presentations about pet wellness, disaster preparedness for animals, pet training, dog-breed discrimination, the benefits of pet adoption and other topics; and enjoy the flea market if you're so inclined. Pet Days activities are included in the price of swap meet admission ($2 for adults and kids over 12), or get in free with a donation of dog or cat food (no expired or open food), pet toys, blankets, crates, carriers, food and water bowls, leashes, beds, healthy treats and towels or a gift card to a pet store. Donated items will be distributed to rescue groups attending the event. Pets should stay at home. More information at OCMarketplace.com.

Saturday, March 19, celebrate St. Patrick's Day a little bit late and you just might find the adoptable pet of your dreams. The L.A. Department of Animal Services and Ruff Patches have teamed up to present "St. Pawtrick's Day," a green (as in environmentally friendly, but we bet there will be plenty of people and pets decked out in green getups as well) adoption event for needy pets currently awaiting homes at the department's six shelters and local rescue groups. St. Pawtrick's Day kicks off at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. at the East Valley, West Valley, North Central, South L.A., West L.A. and Harbor animal shelters. The event features discounted adoption fees, a "Kiss the Blarney Dog" kissing booth, matchmakers to pair you with the perfect pet, eco-friendly pet products, refreshments, professional training advice and giveaways. More information at RuffPatches.org.

Saturday, March 19, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts mobile pet-adoption events at downtown pet store Pussy & Pooch, 564 South Main St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; at the Canoga Park Petco location, 6615 Fallbrook Mall Ave., from noon to 4 p.m.; and at Balboa Park, 17015 Burbank Blvd. in Encino, from noon to 4 p.m.

Saturday, March 19, local advocacy group Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME) hosts "Rescue, Rock & Revelry," a night of music and refreshments to benefit ARME and the Pelican Rescue Team, at the House of Blues' Foundation Room, 8430 Sunset Blvd., beginning at 7 p.m. The event includes a silent auction of rock memorabilia, musical instruments, concert tickets and more. A special vegan menu will be available for purchase. Tickets are $20 if purchased in advance, $30 at the door (only cash will be accepted at the door). Guests must be 21 or over to attend. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit ARME.tv.

Sunday, March 20, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts a mobile pet-adoption event at Moorpark Park, 12061 Moorpark Ave. in Studio City, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Throughout March:

Snack lovers can help needy animals by purchasing chocolate! Handcrafted vegan, kosher candy company Rescue Chocolate will donate 100% of its profits during the month of March to the Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization, a Cairo-based group that works to find homes for needy Egyptian Mau cats. Better still: Each candy bar flavor has special packaging that highlights an issue facing companion animals (example: "Peanut Butter Pit Bull" aims to tackle "bully breed" stereotypes, and "Foster-riffic Peppermint" touts the need for foster homes to help rescue pets). Other charities that have benefited from Rescue Chocolate's generosity include Farm Sanctuary, Austin Pets Alive, In Defense of Animals, United Animal Nations, Philadelphia PAWS and the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti. More information at RescueChocolate.com.

Through Thursday, March 31, spcaLA is accepting nominations for its annual Hero Dog award, an honor bestowed annually on a dog who has gone above and beyond to protect humans. To learn how to nominate a special dog who acted heroically in 2010, go to spcaLA.com.

Upcoming:

Wednesday, March 23, it's one of those holidays we just can't wait to celebrate: National Puppy Day! The event's organizers say National Puppy Day is a day "to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. But more importantly, it's a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further our mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores." We can get behind that! Check out a list of ways to celebrate.

Saturday, March 26, the North Shore Animal League's cross-country Tour for Life adoption tour comes to Venice Beach's Windward Plaza, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual tour, sponsored by Purina One pet foods, has been instrumental in matching hundreds of thousands of animals with adoptive owners over the past decade. Adoptable pets from the L.A. area will be in attendance at the Venice event. For more information or to find another stop on the month-long Tour For Life, visit AnimalLeague.org.

SpcaLA is taking registrations now for its two Friends for Life Spring Camp sessions -- Monday, April 4-Friday, April 8 and Monday, April 18-Friday, April 22 -- during which kids ages 9-12 will learn the basics of pet care and introductory dog and cat training at spcaLA's South Bay Pet Adoption Center in Hawthorne. Cost is $250 per child. For more information or to register, visit spcaLA.com.

Friday-Sunday, April 15-17, America's Family Pet Expo returns to the Orange County Fair & Event Center for the 22nd consecutive year. The event includes demonstrations and exhibitions of more than 1,000 animals -- from dogs and cats to llamas and pot-bellied pigs -- plus pet-themed vendors, animal experts and pet adoptions. Tickets are $12; $10 for adults ages 60 and over; $6 for children ages 6-12; and free for children 5 and under. More information at PetExpoOC.org.

Ongoing:

The L.A. Department of Animal Services offers low-cost vaccination, microchipping and licensing clinics every first Thursday at its Harbor animal shelter; every second Tuesday at its North Central animal shelter; every third Tuesday at its South L.A. animal shelter; every fourth Tuesday at its East Valley animal shelter; and every fourth Thursday at its West Valley animal shelter. All clinics begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. More information and pricing in PDF format at LAAnimalServices.com.

Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts a mobile pet-adoption event at the Van Nuys Petco location, 5850 Sepulveda Blvd.

Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Volunteers for the Burbank Animal Shelter host a mobile pet-adoption event at Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies, 1505 W. Olive Ave. in Burbank. See photos of adoptable dogs and cats at the Burbank Animal Shelter's website.

Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Much Love Animal Rescue hosts a mobile pet-adoption event at 602 Venice Blvd. (at the intersection of Venice Blvd. and Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice). See photos of adoptable dogs and cats at MuchLove.org.

Every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dawg Squad Animal Rescue hosts a mobile dog-adoption event at Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies, 7600 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester. See photos of adoptable pets at DawgSquad.org.

Every Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., Kinder 4 Rescue hosts a mobile dog-adoption event at Book Star, 12136 Ventura Blvd. (just west of Laurel Canyon) in Studio City. See photos of adoptable pets at the group's Petfinder page.

Every Saturday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., Forte Animal Rescue hosts a mobile dog-adoption event at Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies, 3860 S. Centinela Ave. See photos of adoptable pets at the group's AdoptAPet.com page.

Every second Saturday, spcaLA hosts "PAWS to Read" at the Hermosa Beach Library, 550 Pier Ave., from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Through the program, young readers can practice their skills by reading to a decidedly nonjudgmental audience: certified therapy dogs. Due to limited time and availability of dogs, spcaLA recommends that parents or guardians register their children in advance by calling (310) 379-8475 to ensure a spot. More information at spcaLA.com.

Every fourth Saturday, 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.

Every Sunday, Animal Acres offers hourlong guided tours of its Acton facility at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Visitors can meet Animal Acres' resident cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens and other animals and learn about the sanctuary's work. Cost is $5 per person over age 3. More information at AnimalAcres.org.

Every Sunday, the Gentle Barn invites the public to visit the rescued horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, llamas, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens and other animals that call its Santa Clarita sanctuary home. The rescue farm is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (except in case of rain), and guests are welcome to bring a meat-free picnic lunch. A $5 donation per guest is requested. More information and directions at GentleBarn.org.

Every Sunday, Much Love Animal Rescue holds a mobile pet-adoption event from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 2515 Main Street in Santa Monica. See photos of adoptable dogs and cats at MuchLove.org.

Every second Sunday, Evidence of Love Animal Care hosts a mobile pet-adoption event at the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center, 14201 Huston St., Sherman Oaks, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 130 dogs and cats from area animal shelters and rescue groups come out to meet potential adopters -- oh, and there's a gourmet food truck, too. More information at EvidenceOfLove.org.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Festive dogs march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in York, Pa., on March 12. St. Patrick's Day has passed, but you can still celebrate "St. Pawtrick's Day" at all six L.A. Department of Animal Services shelters on Saturday. Credit: Jason Plotkin / Associated Press

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