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Animal lovers' calendar: Week of July 26-Aug. 1

July 28, 2009 |  7:43 am

Downtown Dog Day Afternoon

Animal-loving Angelenos have much to look forward to in the coming weeks; here's a selection of events. (Are we missing something? Let us know in the comment section!)

This week:

Tuesday, July 28: Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge hosts its third of four "Family Fun for Nature Nuts" summer events. The program focuses on the animals of Africa, with a special focus on their habits, habitats and survival techniques. Guests are encouraged to bring their own picnics beginning at 5:30 p.m.; the show begins at 6.  Admission is $10 for Descanso Gardens members and $12 for non-members. (Children under 2 enter free.) To register, call (818) 949-7980; more information is available at DescansoGardens.org.

Tuesday, July 28: Dogs and their humans will mingle for Downtown Dog Day Afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple Street in downtown L.A., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Human attendees must be downtown residents; dogs must be on leashes and behave well with people and other dogs. For more information and to RSVP, go to DowntownLA.com.  

Upcoming:

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Animal trainer Jennifer McCarthy offers a free seminar on coexisting with wildlife from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Healthy Spot L.A., 1110 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Topics include protecting pets from coyotes and mountain lions and understanding why Southern California coyote and mountain lion sightings are on the rise. The seminar also includes a Q&A session. More information at McCarthy's website.

Saturday, Aug. 15: spcaLA invites potential "foster parents" to learn about its fostering program from 10 a.m. to noon at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, at 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, Aug. 22: spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village and Education Center, located at 7700 E. Spring Street in Long Beach. The clinic will offer rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs ($5); DHPP vaccinations for dogs ($15); bordatella vaccinations for dogs ($10); FVRCP and leukemia vaccinations for cats ($15 each); and microchipping for cats and dogs ($25).  More information at spcaLA.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 26: Dr. Chugey Sepulveda offers a lecture on the shortfin mako and common thresher sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The lecture will focus on the biology, ecology and recent movement studies of these two shark species. Sepulveda is laboratory director of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research. Cost is $8, $4 for aquarium members and free for students with a valid student ID. Reservations aren't required but are encouraged, as the lecture may sell out. Students wishing to use their free entry must make an advance reservation by calling (562) 590-3100. More information at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

Ongoing:

It's "Shark Summer" at the Aquarium of the Pacific, and to celebrate, the aquarium is extending its hours and offering visitors a discount on Sunday evenings. Sundays from now until Sept. 6, admission fees will be reduced to $11.95 beginning at 5 p.m., and visitors can hang out with the sharks (as well as the aquarium's other sea life) until 10 p.m. More information on Shark Summer events at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

In theaters:

"Food, Inc." is the new documentary from producer-director Robert Kenner. It examines the way food gets from the farm to the plate and, critic Gary Goldstein writes, "after [its] disturbing glimpses inside the meat industry, along with its blunt indictment of fast-food giants, you'll think twice before eating just about anything nonorganic." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls it "an essential, indelible documentary that is scarier than anything in the last five "Saw" horror shows." Check Zap2It for theaters and show times.

"Earth" is the first foray into filmmaking by Disney's new documentary unit, Disneynature. Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore says it's "a grab bag of beautiful nature footage, a bit all over the place in subject," but hey, we'd take a grab bag over a lot of the other movies playing nowadays. Bonus for parents: It's G-rated. Check Zap2It for theaters and show times

The latest from animation studio Pixar is "Up," which Times film critic Kenneth Turan says is "not only good, it's one of Pixar's best." Although the story centers on the character of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and the young stowaway who goes along for the ride when he attempts to float his house to South America with thousands of helium balloons, there are several great plot elements for animal lovers. One centers on a chocolate-loving exotic bird; our favorite involves, as Turan puts it, "a pack of dogs equipped with high-tech collars that turn their classically canine thoughts into words." The result is priceless (but requires a minimum of four handkerchiefs). Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Hors d'oeuvres are served to dogs gathered the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels during Dog Day Afternoon 2008.  Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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