L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Pet-Friendly L.A.

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

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.

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Southern California animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of Feb. 12-13 and beyond

If you want to adopt a pet, learn about becoming a foster parent for needy dogs and cats, attend a pageant of the world's most beautiful bulldogs, march to show your support for pet rescue or learn about love in the animal kingdom, this weekend is full of events sure to appeal to you. (If you're feeling the Valentine's Day spirit, we've also assembled this list of ways you can help animals while celebrating the holiday of love.) 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.

Through Sunday, Feb. 13, Much Love Animal Rescue celebrates the relationship between men and their cats during Los Angeles Cat Guy Week! Though dogs are typically considered "man's best friend," Much Love aims to point out that cats are no slouches in the companionship department. Through Sunday, "cat guys" can adopt a feline friend through Much Love for a discounted adoption rate of $50. The group holds two mobile adoption events over the weekend: on Saturday at 602 Venice Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2515 Main Street in Santa Monica from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Discounted adoption rates for both cats and dogs are also available through the L.A. Department of Animal Services' six shelters over the weekend; see below for details.) Learn more about how to be a cat guy and see photos of adoptable cats at MuchLove.org.

Through Sunday, Feb. 13, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts Valentine's Discount Adoption Days, during which adopters can bring home a cat or kitten for a discounted rate of $50.50 or a dog or puppy for a discounted rate of $83.50 at each of the department's six shelter facilities and mobile pet-adoption events. See photos of adoptable pets at LAAnimalServices.com.

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Southern California animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of Jan. 22-23 and beyond

Gray Kitty

There are countless ways to help animals and have a great time doing it over the coming days and weeks. We've got the details on a number of them, from pet adoption events to opportunities to help animals simply by shopping or snacking on chocolate. Think we're forgetting something? Leave a comment on this post or send us a tweet @LATunleashed.

This Weekend:

Saturday, Jan. 22, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts mobile pet-adoption events at the Redondo Beach Petco location, 537 N. Pacific Coast Highway, 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 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 22, the City of Long Beach Animal Care Services Bureau invites the public to an open house at its shelter facility, 7700 E. Spring St., from 10 a.m. to noon. The shelter saw its adoption rate increase in 2010; the open house will highlight that accomplishment, as well as the achievements of Long Beach residents and charities in the field of animal welfare over the past year. The event also includes tours of the facility, information about the bureau's programs and refreshments. More information at LongBeach.gov.

Saturday, Jan. 22, local rescue group the Bark Avenue Foundation hosts a mobile pet adoption event at Los Feliz pet store For Pets Only, 1903 Hillhurst Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. See the group's available dogs and cats at its website.

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Southern California animal lovers calendar: Weekend of Jan. 15-16 and beyond

Humpback Whale Breach

Whether you want to adopt a new pet, see humpback whales as they migrate south, attend a concert that benefits animals or enjoy some wine for a good cause, this weekend and the weeks to come are full of events sure to appeal to you. Think we're forgetting something or want to let us know about your event? Leave a comment on this post or send us a tweet @LATunleashed.

This Weekend:

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 15-16, Cabrillo National Monument invites the public to its annual Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival, which celebrates the return of migrating humpback whales to Baja California, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Beyond whale-watching, the event includes guest speakers, exhibitbooths and film viewings. Event is free with regular park admission of $5 per vehicle, $3 for walkers and cyclists. More information at The Times' outdoor sports blog, Outposts.

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 15-16, Best Friends Animal Society and the L.A. Department of Animal Services host a pet-adoption event at the city of L.A.'s Northeast Valley animal shelter, 15321 Brand Blvd. in Mission Hills, from noon to 4 p.m. both days. The Northeast Valley shelter is typically closed to the public and is used primarily as a care center for nursing dogs and cats and their offspring and a place to house shelter animals in need of quarantine. But beginning this weekend, it will offer monthly adoption events for the animal services department's homeless dogs, cats and rabbits. More information, photos of pets who will be present at the event and directions at BestFriends.org.

Saturday, Jan. 15, animal lovers around the world are participating in an unofficial Worldwide Day of Action for the Dolphins of Taiji, Japan, the subject of the documentary "The Cove."

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Downtown L.A.: An interesting spot to stroll with a Great Dane, according to Times photographer

Great dane

A downtown Los Angeles loft might not seem like an ideal home for dog owners -- particularly not dog owners who live with a 150-pound Great Dane. But Times photographer Mel Melcon -- who's no stranger to dog photography -- recently caught up with a pair of dog owners who fit that description and seem to fit just fine in a downtown L.A. loft, thank you very much.

Michael Gonzalez and Desiree Ramirez, both 26, share their home with Jackson, a 2-year-old harlequin Great Dane, and Bentley, a 2-year-old bull terrier. The couple let Melcon tag along as they went about their day with their dogs, and the result is a great audio slideshow on The Times' photography and multimedia blog, Framework.

"Photographing a 150-pound dog was an interesting experience," Melcon writes on Framework. "Jackson weighs about as much as I do and liked to playfully slam me into the wall when I got close to him with my camera in the loft. His swinging tail was like a baseball bat. Jackson did get the better of me once and knocked me down with his paws."

One peril of walking a Great Dane in a bustling neighborhood, Gonzalez notes in the slideshow, is that you'll receive a lot of shouts from people wondering if your dog is a horse. If your walk happens to coincide with closing time at the local bars, you just might encounter a reveler or two who think it would be fun to ride a Great Dane like a pony!


-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Jackson knocks over a lady who gets a bit too close while trying to pet him. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Dogs show off at AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach

Bedlington terriers The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship dog show, held over the weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center, attracted conformation show dogs and highly trained obedience and agility dogs from around the country.

Winning the conformation competition -- in which dogs are judged by how closely they conform to the standard of perfection for their breed -- was Ch. Propwash Reckon, an Australian shepherd from New Hampshire who goes by Reckon for short. (The "Ch." stands for "Champion," a title bestowed on show dogs who have won a set number of points competing against other dogs of the same breed.)

Reckon emerged from the herding group to beat Scout, a German wirehaired pointer from the sporting group; Chanel, a whippet from the hound group; Lady Bug, a Portuguese water dog from the working group; Adam, a smooth fox terrier from the terrier group; Malachy, a Pekingese from the toy group; and Drummer, a bichon frise from the nonsporting group.

The show's highly competitive AKC National Obedience Invitational was won by High Times Ris'n Above the Tide, a golden retriever from Nebraska whose nickname is Buoy and whose full name contains many fancy-sounding titles, including Obedience Trial Champion (OTCh).

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Southern California animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of Nov. 20-21 and beyond

Whether you want to adopt a pet, celebrate Thanksgiving with rescued animals or just chow down on cupcakes for a good cause, the coming days and weeks are full of fun opportunities to help animals. Think we're forgetting something? Leave a comment on this post or send us a tweet @LATunleashed.

This Weekend:

Saturday, Nov. 20, Animal Acres hosts its annual Thankful Turkeys celebration, where guests can feed turkeys for Thanksgiving instead of eating them (and indulge in a guilt-free catered vegan meal themselves). Festivities start at noon with sanctuary tours, during which visitors can interact with Animal Acres' rescued farm-animal residents. Turkey-feeding ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m., followed by a vegan Thanksgiving feast for humans catered by One World Vegetarian Cuisine. Author Rory Freedman is the event's guest speaker. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit AnimalAcres.org.

Saturday, Nov. 20, Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific offers an informative session on the North Pacific for budding marine biologists ages 10 to 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kids will get a chance to touch animals in the aquarium's private classroom touch pools, find out just how large elephant seals can grow, help feed sea otters and more. Cost is $24 per child, $19 for aquarium members (cost does not include aquarium admission). More information at the aquarium's website.

Saturday, Nov. 20, the L.A. Department of Animal Services hosts a mobile pet-adoption event at downtown pet store Pussy & Pooch, 564 S. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. See photos of adoptable pets at LAAnimalServices.com.

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Dock-diving and skimboarding dogs show off their skills at audition for a spot on Rose Parade float

Skimboarding dog

About 130 dogs vied for the chance to appear on a Rose Parade float sponsored by the pet food company Natural Balance in a decidedly wet audition Monday.

Previous Natural Balance parade floats have showcased skateboarding and snowboarding dogs, and this year's -- which will cost about $300,000, according to company president Joey Herrick -- will feature surfing and diving dogs.

Monday's audition required participating canines to show off their skills in and enthusiasm for -- or, in some cases, lack thereof -- the water. Dogs (like Porter the terrier, above) demonstrated their prowess riding a skimboard down a watery ramp or leaping off a specially-constructed dock into a water tank.

Owners of the winning dogs will be notified later this week, and will participate with their pets in a rigorous training schedule -- twice a week through the end of December -- to get ready for their Rose Parade appearances.

Learn more about Monday's audition in Times reporter Bob Pool's recent story and check out a photo gallery of skimboarding and dock-diving dogs at The Times' photography blog, Framework.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Southern California animal lovers' calendar: Weekend of Nov. 6-7 and beyond


If you want to adopt a pet, help needy dogs and cats, weigh in on the future of spay/neuter or just enjoy vegan-friendly food and drinks with like-minded folk, you're in luck! This weekend and the coming weeks are full of events sure to appeal to animal lovers in the L.A. area. Think we're forgetting something or want to let us know about an upcoming event? Let us know by leaving a comment on this post or sending us a tweet @LATunleashed.

Friday, Nov. 5 is Worldwide Anti-Whaling Day, with citizens of countries from the U.S. to Japan and Australia to Pakistan participating in events to show their opposition to the practice of whaling. More information at WWAWD.org.

Friday, Nov. 5-Sunday, Nov. 14, the Petco Foundation and the Best Friends Animal Society join forces to host a national pet food drive to help pet owners who are struggling financially by distributing pet food to food banks. Animal lovers can help by dropping new, unopened pet food into specially-marked collection bins at Petco stores around the country. For a list of participating Petco locations and the food banks they will be supplying, visit Petco.com.

Saturday, Nov. 6, local pet rescue group the Brittany Foundation hosts "A Day in Their Paws," an event to raise awareness about the living conditions of homeless dogs. Volunteers will spend a 24-hour period "kenneled" with adoptable dogs at the Brittany Foundation's Agua Dulce sanctuary; animal lovers can sponsor them through PayPal, with funds benefiting the group's work on behalf of homeless pets. From noon to 4 p.m., the public is invited to an open house with refreshments, a bake sale, raffle prizes and a silent auction. Of course, adoptable dogs will also be on hand to meet potential new owners. More information at the Brittany Foundation's website. (Hat tip to reader Michael Caemin-Romack for letting us know about this event!)

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Dog tricks, Hollywood-style, at L.A.'s Zoom Room


Dogs don't just roll over and play dead in Hollywood. It takes a good trainer and lots of practice.

In Jaime Van Wye's Hollywood Tricks class, dogs learn to throw themselves on the ground and die dramatically. Olive, a 5-year-old English shepherd, goes to the ground when she hears the command "Bang, bang," but keeps her head up until she hears a third bang, said owner Sherry Marks.

When Laura Milton forms her hand into a gun her Rottweiler, Mojo, will roll over with his feet up in the air and his paws hanging limp.

Successful graduates of the class can also fetch beer from the fridge, take your socks off, grab a cell phone when it rings or help collect the laundry.

"In L.A., everybody wants their dogs to be in the movies, you know how it is," Van Wye said.

Van Wye is founder of the Zoom Room, a "social petworking" club she now is franchising. The center's three branches -- in the Los Angeles area and Austin, Texas -- offer group classes, private classes, birthday parties, "bark mitzvahs," meet-ups and other activities.

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