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Scratch This: On your mark, get set — we're going to the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals!

The 27th annual dachshund derby at the Los Alamitos Race Course will set off this weekend. Plus, meet these adoptable pets.

Scratch This: On your mark, get set — we're going to the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals!
Nicole Leonard’s Beenie Vonweenie is returning to defend his title as 2023 champion. Photo courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course.

This weekend, bunches of adorable dachshunds will run as fast as their stubby, little legs and their stubborn, little personalities will allow, likely in every direction. It’s time for the 27th annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, taking place Saturday, July 13, at the Los Alamitos Race Course.

“We’re so thrilled to be back for our 27th running, and it’s the biggest one we’ve ever had!” said Orlando Gutierrez, marketing and publicity director for the Los Alamitos Race Course. “We have 124 dogs competing this year — the most that we’ve had in this event. It’s [also] the most first-time competitors that we’ve ever had. We have doxies of every shape and size, and over half of them have never been in a race at Los Alamitos! And of course, we do it to benefit the Seal Beach Animal Care Center.”

Describing the controlled canine free-for-all as a race would be like calling a preschool production of “Swan Lake” a model of ballet choreography. Some dachshunds run the short distance between the starting gate and the finish line, and others trot over to the sidelines to meet people and nuzzle their legs with their wet noses. It’s more fun than — well, an auditorium full of kiddie ballet dancers.

“We have no idea if they’re super-experienced racers or if this is their first time ever,” Gutierrez said of the inches-long entrants. “Some of them might not take to racing and that’s OK — we’re going to love them anyway. We see some doxies who end up just smelling the track or wanting to make a friend, and that’s what makes it fun. We have no idea what’s going to happen!”

Watch out, kid! You’re about to be mowed down by a mob of doxters! Video by Kate Karp

The Wienerschnitzel Nationals are open to pet dachshunds everywhere. This year’s slate has entrants from all over California, with a couple from Nevada and Arizona. They’ll be running in 14 races: qualifiers, trials, the Diaper Dash for cocktail wieners under a year old, and the Golden Dash for seniors 10 years and older. Winners of each race will enter the Wiener Nationals Championship Race and compete for a $1,000 prize, which is a lot of mustard and relish; a custom Wienerschnitzel Doghouse; and advancement to the Wiener Nationals Championship.

Seating is first come, first served, so fans and spectators should arrive at 5 p.m. to secure seating. The first run begins around 6 p.m., after which the races continue through to the Championship Run at approximately 9:15 p.m. Wiener races will run between horse races, and if you feel certain ways about watching the horses, you can ignore them and visit the concession stands, which offer food and merchandise, or meet with the top dogs and their humans in the grandstand area.

Here’s a spotlight on some of the wiener-winner hopefuls:

We love Majeski’s dress nearly as much as Sisi! Photo by Kate Karp

Sisi of Seal Beach is, at 13, the oldest dog in the races. She’s a miniature red. The team at Los Alamitos waggishly refer to her as their Senior Ambassadog. Kiley Majeski rescued Sisi from a shelter when the dog was 9, during the COVID lockdown. “She finished last year, and she’s got a lot of pep in her step for 13!” Majeski said. “We want to show people that senior dogs have a lot of value still. That’s why we want her to be ambassador for senior dogs!”

Go Rini the Tweenie! Photo by Kate Karp

Margo Wheeler, a volunteer at Seal Beach Animal Care Center, rescued Rini from what she described as a bad situation in another state. Wheeler described Rini as a “tweenie” in size and in fur length — part longhair and part shorthair, with a tail that embodies both qualities. Like other entrants, Rini trains at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach.

Moore said. “She has a great life and loves to race.” Photo by Kate Karp.

Jazzy, a longhair miniature shaded cream, is enjoying her third time as a racer. Her human, Dani Moore of Long Beach, hopes that the third time is the charm. Jazzy’s a senior at 11, and she’s also a survivor of IVDD (intervertebral disc disease, a painful, sometimes paralyzing neurological spinal condition that affects certain dog breeds, dachshunds among them.). Jazzy had massive spinal surgery in 2021 and was up and trotting in almost no time. “You wouldn’t know she had it!”

Of course, every pet at the all-volunteer Seal Beach Animal Care Center will be a winner. Since 1996, the event has raised over $300,000 for the well-being of the animals there and has contributed toward their adoptability.

“It’s a fun event, and we’re just trying to raise money for a great cause,” Gutierrez said. “It brings the community together. The stands are full every year, and we do our best to make sure that everybody leaves with a smile on their face, from the competitors to the ones who came to enjoy the race. As they walk out of the track, everyone’s saying to me, I want to be in it again next year!”

Joseph has no problem rewarding himself after a day at the races. Video by Kate Karp

The 27th annual Wienerschnitzel Nationals takes place Saturday, July 13, at Los Alamitos Race Course, 4961 Katella Ave., Long Beach. for adults 17 and over; children under 17 are admitted free. Doors open at 5 p.m. General admission is $3. A VIP package that includes a buffet dinner and seating in the Vessels Club is also available; details are available here. For safety reasons, Los Alamitos does not allow fans to bring dogs that are not participating in the Wiener Nationals.

Yours drooly

One doxie will win the grand prize at the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, 12 will win the trials and specialized races, and the big winners will be a whole lot of shelter pets! The cats and dogs who wait at Seal Beach Animal Care Center will benefit from the money raised at the event in medical care, dog training and other things that help them thrive and be adoptable.

“Veterinary costs have increased, so we need extra support,” said Cathy Winans, president of SBACC. “As for training, we have found that specialized training for our dogs who need it has improved their adoption potential. We are so grateful to the Los Alamitos Race Track for their support over the years!"

A few of the SBACC residents want to introduce themselves in the hope that you’ll make them the perfect addition to your family. To adopt any of them or any of the others on their website, call 562-430-4993, access this link or send an email to contact@sbacc.org. Click the Adoptables tab to see all the candidates!

Howdy Do.

Howdy do to you — and guess what! That’s my name, Howdy Do! I originally came to SBACC as a kitten and was adopted when I was just 3 months old. I don’t know what happened, but a few years later, I found myself living on the street. I wound up in a humane trap set by someone trying to trap her own escaped cat — I walked in instead! She took me to a shelter to be scanned for a microchip, and found mine registered to SBACC! The original owners didn’t want me back (sigh). So back I came to SBACC, all the way from Altadena, dirty and hissy. But that was then, and now I’m a friendly boy hoping to find a forever home where I will be safe and loved. I have claimed this comfy bed as my own, but I will be happy to get up and greet you if you come for a visit! 

Tibbs.

Hi there — they call me Mr. Tibbs! Actually, it's just Tibbs, but a guy can dream! I was living under the porch of an abandoned house when I was rescued and brought to the SBACC. I was dirty and malnourished but friendly — in fact, I'm one of the friendliest adult cats here! I'm 4 years old, all cleaned up and have more than made up for my weight loss. I do tend to get overstimulated and may try to nip when I do, but that’s becoming less and less frequent now that I've adjusted to my new life. My many roommates and I tolerate each other, but I think I'd prefer to be a one-and-only.

Nettie.

My name is Nettie, and I’m a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois. My human friends here say that I’m stunning, and I’m humbled by that. Some kind people found me — I was running loose and frightened, and the people I lived with never came looking for me. But wow — did I get lots of friends at SBACC! They play tennis ball fetch with me, and when the balls get dirty, I clean them in the water bowl. That’s part of my fastidious nature and — I’ll say it — intelligence. The volunteers take me for long walks and jogs and cuddle with me in the enclosure. I was at first afraid of other dogs here, so I went to board-and-train for a couple of weeks to learn how to socialize, and I got straight A’s! Now, I have doggie playdates in the outdoor run, and they even gave me a roommate in my little studio unit! I’d love to go to a forever, safe home that already has a medium-size or large dog, but I’d do great as a single dog as long as there are no kids under 16. They make me nervous! Bring the family to meet me, and we’ll all make the decision.

Brie.

I’m Brie, and I’m just a year old. My friends at SBACC think I might be a mix of Shiba Inu and husky, but frankly, I think I’m more like a fox! I’m trying to forget how I was lucky enough to wind up here — I was thrown from a car on the freeway, and a wonderful human captured me and brought me to SBACC. I still am uneasy when I go walking and hear car noise, but the loving volunteers understand and help me through it. I love to entertain the volunteers by playing in the water bowls in the yard and digging away in them. They got me to the doggie swimming pool, and how I love splash parties with the other doggies! As a matter of fact, how I’d love to be in a forever home that has understanding humans, doggies for me to play with, and — why not — a doggie pool.

Tail-waggin’ and nose-boopin’ events

Fix Long Beach will scan lost dogs on July 4 and 5

With another big nod to the community, Fix Long Beach is holding a microchip-scanning station for lost pets. Volunteers are encouraged to help. If you volunteer, bring snacks for humans and dogs. Fix will have pizza for you, and Sherri will be crankin’ up the ol’ slushie machine. 

“Last year, we scanned 26 dogs and cats,” Stankewitz said. She wants you to exact a promise that if your pet has a microchip (and we hope they do), keep the registration current. Please!

If you find a lost, frightened cat or dog, text (320) 809-6374 or bring them to Fix Long Beach, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach on July 4, 7 p.m.–10 p.m and July 5, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. To volunteer, text (320) 809-6374. More details here.

LBACS and CAMP low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics

Our city shelter, Long Beach Animal Care Services, has teamed up with CAMP (Community Animal Medicine Project) to bring weekly affordable vaccine clinics to pet parents. Visit CAMP’s website for a full list of vaccines and wellness treatments offered at each clinic. The shots include rabies inoculations, a requirement for all dogs and cats four months or older as stated in Long Beach Municipal Code 6.12.110. The clinics also offer microchips, which are essential for identification if your pet should run off or become lost, particularly during the July 4 season. Clinics 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 dates, locations and times for LBACS clinics. No clinics Labor Day, Sept. 2. Additional clinics will take place at one of the city’s contract cities, Signal Hill, at the Signal Hill Public Library parking lot, 1800 E. Hill St., Signal Hill, on the following dates and times:

  • Friday, July 19, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17, 8 a.m.–noon

Cats & Mats Yoga

By no stretch of the imagination is there a better way to stretch than to mimic a cat! At this workshop, instructor Matthew will instruct you how to work the muscles as the cats in the lounge demonstrate, when they aren’t walking around, under and on top of you. They’re all available to adopt, by the way. Wear comfy clothing!

Cats & Mats takes place Saturday, July 13, 1 p.m.–2 p.m. at Feline Good Social Club, 301 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach. Tickets $25, available here

Mia’s Drag Queen Bingo Fundraiser, presented by The Little Lion Foundation and Friends of Long Beach Animals

Hey! Look what the cat dragged in again! Another fun-in-fundraiser event presented by two venerable Long Beach animal-welfare organizations and hosted by the mostest hostess Mia Anastasia Farrow! Enjoy shredding your bingo cards while lapping cocktails and munching on the tasty food from The Carvery. Your ticket includes five rounds of bingo (extra cards available) and batting conversations around with animal-loving drag performers. The entire club has been reserved for hoomin zoomies, and all proceeds go toward supporting cat rescue! The party is suggested for ages 15 and up — reserve your tickets below.

Mia’s Drag Queen Bingo takes place Saturday, July 13, 6 p.m.–9 p.m. at the At the Top Nightclub in Downtown Long Beach, 105 W. Broadway, Long Beach. Tickets are $30 and available at this Eventbrite link.

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.

Life Is Better with a Bulldog calendar contest

Enter that lovely, drooling face to be Southern California Bulldog Rescue’s cover grrrrl or goo’ boy! Winners can also take home prizes like harnesses and gift cards. You can purchase a special day for your doggie, too — not that anyone could forget a face like that anyway! All proceeds to toward the dogs in the rescue who’ve been given up or abandoned and are hoping for a forever home.

Entries accepted until Tuesday, July 30. Rules and information available here.

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