Scratch This: Meet the dogs in the shelter’s play yards and the cats in the Catio

VIDEO: Take a romp through the pet rec centers at LBACS to meet adoptable cats and pups.

Scratch This: Meet the dogs in the shelter’s play yards and the cats in the Catio
Hortencia relaxes post-spay with volunteer Bev. Hortencia was adopted shortly after the video was shot. Photo by Kate Karp.

Even the best of shelters isn’t the best home for a pet. Any shelter volunteer or staff member worth their kibble will tell you that.

Pets are used to round-the-clock interaction with humans — for cats, that sometimes means consciously ignoring them, but that’s why we love them — and freedom to go for long walks, get the zoomies and charge around the house, and knock stuff off desks.

Staff and volunteers at Long Beach Animal Care Services, which is continually on track to best-of-shelter status, know that dogs need their playtime, cats need to explore, and bunnies need to hop around the Bunny Barnyard. They’re wonderful tools for an animal’s me-time and also for visitors to see pets for who they are and who they could be if the humans were to take them home forever.

Come with versatile, virtuoso videographer/volunteer Amber Rood Durfee, the best volunteers on the planet, and me on a romp through the pet rec centers at LBACS!

First stop: the doggie play yards.

And now, the Catio and cat cottages for catnaps, cuddling and kookiness.

Videos by Amber Rood Durfee

Yours drooly

Meet the stars of the video! Each pet is available to retire permanently from movie making and become a celebrity in a forever home or at least enjoy foster status so that they can romp, cuddle, play and snooze on the sofa night and day.

You won’t find Hortencia and King in the adoption listings, since they went to hopefully forever homes after the video was shot. Little dogs always find homes more easily than the big ones — to be fair, you need a stronger human to handle many of them, but that can be helped with training for both person and animal. What’s not fair is that large dogs can linger in the shelter for weeks and months and develop kennel stress.

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Both big dogs in the video are red-listed, meaning that the pet’s behavior and stress may have become such an issue that shelter staff has to put a date on possibly ending their lives. However, they’re not expiration dates, set in stone.

“If we have deteriorating behavior, we meet as a team,” said Dr. Melanie Wagner, LBACS manager. “Sometimes, the animals are moved to another kennel, and sometimes, they’re off the list because we found a foster.”

So far this year, no healthy pet has been euthanized. As you can see from the videos, the volunteers and staff spend quality time with each of them. But no matter how much love the critters get, they have to return to their kennels, where they spend most of their time. If you can adopt or foster a shelter pet, you’ll have saved a life and enriched your own with a wonderful playmate and a comforting presence at night.

Dylan with volunteer Gusti. Photo by Kate Karp.

Dylan (ID# ID#A714723) showed all his playful, goofy, loving sides in the video, and frankly, those are his only sides. Seems as if he’ll stay forever young. The year-old German shepherd/Shiba Inu mix was brought to the shelter by someone who said that someone was trying to get rid of him in an alley. At first, he disliked handling and restraints — he obviously had no caring humans around him — but the volunteers saw to his comfort. He loves doggie play groups and, as you saw, does well with experienced volunteers. But he’s never got used to being kenneled — his anxiety and stress have increased. Dylan’s fate is blowin’ in the wind — could you shelter him from the storm?

Roxanne with volunteer Mary. Photo by Kate Karp.

Roxanne (ID#A702202) is a sweet, active doggie. She’s treat-motivated and takes them gently, and she’s mad for her stuffie toys. She's always up for an adventure and loves to go on long walks — she's not hyperactive but just a good mid-energy girl. She’s affectionate and eager to please her human friends. Volunteer Susan said that her name means both “dawn” and “bright star.” She’s been here since last July, though, and has experienced too many dawns and night skies. She turned 2 years old in a kennel! If you can help Roxanne celebrate her next birthday in a place where she’ll actually experience morning and evening on a walk, she will thank you!

Panda Bear with volunteer John. Photo by Kate Karp.

You met sweet Panda Bear (#A706078) in the video, showing off his proprietary status in the Catio. Not long ago, Panda Bear didn’t even have ownership in his own dwelling, and that isn’t life for a cat. His owner was evicted and left Panda Bear and his brother behind. His brother was adopted, and Panda Bear was left without his best friend, too. He was shy and reticent at first, but that never stops an LBACS volunteer. With their help, Panda Bear is now playful and affectionate but not clingy. He loves gentle chin and head scritches and relaxing in the sunlight. He likes people and gets along with other cats. He’s just 3 years old and is ready to share his long life with someone special.

Speed the process to adopt or foster any shelter pet by emailing PetAdopt@longbeach.gov or petfoster@longbeach.gov. You can also call 562-570-4925. Shelter hours are Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors).

Mary, Gusti, John and Beverly don’t come with the adoption package. We need them here.

Tail-wagging and nose-booping things to do

Enter your pet in the Face of Fog City photo contest

Your pet can be the face of Pet Food Express new brand, Fog City Pet! Fog City was named for Pet Food Express’ Bay Area origin and is an exclusive brand based on sustainability and reducing waste. Fog City Pet features durable pet bowls, beds with 100% recyclable filling, plant-based shampoos, and limited-ingredient treats for dogs and cats. To enter your pet, boot up your Instagram or set up an account, follow Pet Food Express, upload a photo of your pet and tell why they should be the face of Fog City Pet. Tag @PetFoodExpress and use #FaceofFogCityPet in the caption, and Bingo was his name! Your best buddy has a chance of being crowned the Face of Fog City Pet!

Entries accepted through May 26. The grand prize winner gets a professional photoshoot of their pet, a year’s supply of Fog City Pet goodies, and a $500 Pet Food Express gift card. The new Face will be featured in Fog City Pet’s marketing on social media, their website, and digital advertising. Five second-place winners receive a $250 Pet Food Express gift card. Photo entries will be reviewed and voted on by a panel of Pet Food Express employees. Winners will be chosen June 3 and notified through Instagram direct message. Further information here.

Grab a chance at two JetBlue round-trip travel certificates

Have dreams of seeing Catalonia, Spain? Los Gatos, California? Purris, France? Helen Sanders CatPaws rescue is holding on to two passes outa here and back between any JetBlue destinations. That includes Europe, South America and the Caribbean! For $25, you can enter the drawing to win the certificates, but with that entry fee, you’ll have a 100% chance of helping the cats and kittens that CatPAWS pulls from shelters so that they can live the best lives they can.

Access this link to enter, and enter as many times as you wish. The deadline for entry is Sunday, June 2, 11:55 p.m. Certificates exclude Mint class, taxes and fees and are not valid on partner airlines. Book early if you win, as the certificates are subject to availability. Travel must be completed by March 1, 2025.

Affordable vaccine clinic at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Our city shelter, Long Beach Animal Care Services, is teaming up with CAMP (Community Animal Medicine Project) to bring low-cost vaccines to pet parents because every pet deserves to be happy and healthy. The clinic is open to the first 60 pets, no appointment necessary. All are welcome, whether you’re within or outside of the shelter’s contract cities. Remember to have your dog on a strong leash and your cat in a carrier, and please bring your pet’s vaccine records. Access this link for a list of vaccine prices and a calendar for all the CAMP clinics.

The clinic will take place June 3, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. in the shelter parking lot, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach at the entrance to El Dorado Park. No parking fee for shelter visitors.

Need a low-cost veterinarian, information about trapping community cats, places to volunteer—anything pet-related? Follow this link for resources. Please add your own ideas in the Comments section.

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