🍻 ISM BREWING x Long Beach Watchdog - Join us Thursday, July 25 for a fundraiser beer pairing dinner. Click here for more info.

Scratch This: Vets and pets

District 1’s Independence Day Parade honors military veterans and their best buds.

Scratch This: Vets and pets
Elvis, in full July 4 regalia, butters up Councilwoman Mary Zendejas as master of ceremonies Emiliano Torres encouraged him. Incidentally, Elvis took first prize for Most Patriotic. Photo by Kate Karp.

Saturday, June 29 saw 38 dogs doing their best imitation of lining up for the third annual Vito’s Dog Parade. First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas, coordinator Juan Sanchez and the rest of her team hold the annual event in honor of “pets and vets,” as Zendejas put it.

“Our vets and our pets were being affected negatively by fireworks happening around the Fourth of July, and that really stood out for me as a councilwoman,” Zendejas said in a greeting to attendees. “So, I wanted to do something that would actually be honoring and doing something good for our pets and our vets during Fourth of July and what [the holiday is] really about: community, being out here, showing our pride. We all love our country, and we all love our pets.”

James Schotter, a member of L.A. County’s VPAN (Veteran Peer-Access Network), attested to the effects of pyrotechnics on the well-being of military veterans as well as the pet connection for comfort.

“[Fireworks] are stressful to me personally — they do unfortunately remind me of my experiences in Iraq,” Schotter said. Here in Long Beach, it’s year-round, but it starts to peak around this time of year. But my service dog, Vera, is fantastic in helping me abate those.”

Summertime music provided an uplifting background to the equally smile-worthy parade of pups. Video by Kate Karp, edited by Jake Gotta

Charles, flanked by loving humans Gricela and Ramiro. Photo by Kate Karp
Heaven shows how to support her doggie, Coach, when holding him. Photo by Kate Karp
Onyx is a giant schnauzer. I’ll say he is! Photo by Kate Karp
Rosie the bull terrier, here with human Stephanie, had a delightful time! Photo by Kate Karp
“We call him Skipper the ham!” Anastasia said of her punked-out puppydog. Photo by Kate Karp.
Nala came along with her human, Juan, who is part of the District 1 team. Nala wanted to show off her patriotic spirit. Photo by Kate Karp.
April Parker, executive director of the eponymous (or is that e-puppy-mous?) community-empowerment organization, introduces her doodle, Lulu, to fellow parade judges Raelynn Franklin (left), crowned Ms. Long Beach 2024, and Modica’s Deli owner Orsa Modica. Other judges included Dr. Lourdes Ramos, president and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art; and Gus Orozco, LBPD Police Oversight commissioner and U.S. Army commissioned officer. Photo by Kate Karp

The parade was named for community leader Vito D’Erasmo, who had encouraged Zendejas to hold the first parade. Zendejas honored D’Erasmo in a moment of silence after the Pledge of Allegiance.

“He loved pups! But what he loved even more was his community and making sure that he was doing his part to make sure that his community was uplifted,” Zendejas said. “So today, I officially rebrand the doggie parade, and I do it in honor of his memory. Nothing will ever be the same without him.”

Judges joined Councilwoman Zendejas in honoring community members for their contributions. Honorees included K-9 Officer Amigo with his handler, Oscar Dominguez, both of whom literally sniff out trouble at Long Beach Airport; Gina Overholt, Long Beach Office of Veterans Support coordinator; James Goodin, U.S Air Force veteran and Downtown Residential Council treasurer. Photo by Kate Karp.

Community and city organizations were in attendance. The April Parker Foundation represented BIPOC community empowerment, and VPAN and Long Beach’s American Gold Star Manor offered services to military veterans. Friends of Long Beach Animals, Fix Long Beach and Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin’ were there for animal health and well-being.

“We actually want to encourage adoption today!” said actor Emiliano Torres, who enthusiastically took charge as master of ceremonies.

Parade winners, pictured here with Councilwoman Zendejas, took home glittering prizes. Kaliki (far left) won third place for the “waggiest,” Bijou (kneeling with human Lisette) got second place for costume, and first-place winner and most patriotic, Elvis, is pictured with his human at extreme right. Photo by Kate Karp.

Yours drooly

This week’s adoptions feature the LBACS dogs that Fix Long Beach is boarding and one cat whom a resident brought in.

“Fix Long Beach opened up the doors because we had extra kennels, and we wanted to help with the overflow,” said Sherri Stankewitz, Fix Long Beach co-owner. “We took in 15. We’re super-happy to help the shelter to house animals that need help on the Fourth of July and relieve some of the stress for the shelter staff and volunteers.”

The lucky dogs will have access to play yards, medical care, food and toys, and lots of cuddling.

Long Beach Animal Care Services has been calling on fosters and rescues to temporarily take in dogs from its overcrowded facilities to make room for frightened, lost pets who run off when startled by fireworks noises. The project, called Foster the 4th, has run for several years except for when LBACS closed during the pandemic months. 

Here are a few lucky Fix B&B “tenants”!

Alaska and Juno. Video by Kate Karp

You might call Alaska (ID#722687) and Juno (ID#722688) fixer-uppers who need TLC, and you’d be correct. The girls, 2-year-old German shepherd mixes, were seized when their humans were evicted. They seem to have been treated well, as they certainly are full of glee, but they need some discipline. You game?


Grisham (ID#A722100) is an adorably scruffy little terrier mix, only 3 years old. He’s presently being spoiled at Fix Long Beach, with toys and treats and playtime. He’s doing well in his pampering practice and would love to continue in a forever, happy home.

Juan and Kate

Juan (ID#722687), a 4-year-old min-pin mix, was also brought in after the eviction. He, too, is a sweetheart, and I was drawn to him because he seems to be a catlike creature. However, my own cats know better and wouldn’t welcome him, so how’s about you?

Sherri and Winkie

And then, there’s Winkie. Winkie’s not an LBACS resident — she was brought in to Fix Long Beach with a badly damaged eye, which was removed. It hasn’t affected his affection! He purrs like a motorboat. As you can see, Winkie knows that Sherri loves all animals and not just dogs, and she’d love Winkie, only 6 months old, to lead a beautiful, full life.

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

Doggy Disco

Clean up Rosie’s Dog Beach and rock with Rover! Come to this fun event that includes dog Reiki, doggie CPR training, live disco, and beach fun with your best buddy!

Doggy Disco takes place Sunday, July 7, 1 p.m.–8 p.m. at Rosie’s Dog Beach, 5000 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. More info here.

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 show 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 go 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.

The Watchdog is Long Beach's largest newsroom — for now. We need your help to keep it that way. Our goal is to reach 1,000 paying subscribers by the end of September. To help us get there, we’re offering a 10% discount on our annual subscription. Sign up here.

To finish signing in, click the confirmation link in your inbox.


Support the Long Beach Watchdog and get cool features like dark mode, the ability to comment and an ad-free reading experience.


Already a subscriber? Sign in.