Scratch This: While Kate Karp was 'off-leash'

Your favorite Long Beach pet correspondent is back with a new column that will cover adoptions, events, issues and more news about this city's furry friends.

Scratch This: While Kate Karp was 'off-leash'

By Kate Karp

Easter’s come and gone, and I never got to write my usual diatribe against adopting a rabbit as a seasonal gift for the kids. I stepped down from the Long Beach Post before Easter Week in support of my coworkers: the talent who, over the years, developed the Post from its promising puppyhood into an expert fetcher of local news, interviews, award-winning photos, and reviews of food and art.

This wasn’t easy for me. I’d been the Post’s pet columnist for 16 years, and I’m heartbroken by the developments and the effect on everyone associated with it, including our community. But it was the right thing for me to do, and I’m delighted to have been invited to the (aptly named, I think, in several ways) LB Watchdog. We’re all happy that you’re supporting local journalism.

My new column, Scratch This (I owe the Watchdog’s pet geek, Dennis Dean, for the title), will cover the usual — adoptions, events, issues, and interests. For the introduction, I’m shaking the kibble bag to show the goodies going on.

Here’s the dish

  • First, Long Beach Animal Care Services has hired a volunteer coordinator at last! His name is Matt Yniguez, and he’s rolled out the volunteer program, so you can sign up! You’ll read more about Matt next Friday, but meanwhile, apply here if you fancy walking dogs; fostering pets; bottle-feeding neonatal kittens; schlepping kitties, doggies and bunnies to mobile units in the parking lot to get spayed and neutered; and just making it better for the animals in our overcrowded shelter.

  • The newly organized coalition of TNR trappers had a well-attended, enthusiastic meeting last month. The next TNR Action, Education, and Awareness Group meeting takes place May 4, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by TNR training from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The meeting will focus on finalizing volunteer lists, updating the group on the TNR process in Long Beach, sharing resources and best practices, and answering questions. The meeting will be held at the education center at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E Spring St, Long Beach.

    “Of all the meetings we have had, this one you will not want to miss,” said Kris Beardsley, the group’s organizer. “For those of you wanting to help in any capacity, please be sure to attend this meeting! This one promises to add the action piece to this group, as well as education. We must work together with our amazing rescues to reduce the number of homeless cats and prevent more kittens from being born on the streets!”

  • Feline Good Social Club’s National Cat Lady Day took place April 19, and I wish I could have encouraged all genders to come — you don’t need to identify as female to be a cat lady. But if you missed it, check out their other events— Punk Rawk Yoga, Sound Healing, Meow & Chow — at the website.

  • Finally, Sherri Stankewitz and her doggie bag of surprises: a pizza fundraiser on May 8 from noon to 9 p.m. at District 4 Pizza; a yappy hour for you and your dog at an undisclosed location on April 27 from noon to 2 p.m. (text Sherri at 310-621-1417 or email her at sparkyandthegang@yahoo.com for locations, and keep pestering her if she doesn’t answer), which will be repeated every month; and most importantly, Parvo Awareness Day, which will include free treatments for parvo, a canine virus that’s deadly if left untreated. This will take place at Fix Long Beach Pets/Parvo ICU, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, Tuesday, April 23, noon to 6 p.m.

There’s more, but this is plenty for now. Remember, local journalism needs the community’s support if the community is to be served. Please support us by subscribing to the Watchdog or donating to our Long Beach Media Guild Relief Fund.

Yours drooly

Here are this week’s adoptables, from Sparky and the Gang pet rescue.

Sparky was founded a couple of decades ago by the aforementioned superhero, Sherri Stankewitz and is run by her posse of volunteers.

I’ve written about Sherri more than I’ve written about any animal hero. She’s joined up with Fix Long Beach and gives as many free services to pets of unhoused people as she can. Two years ago, she opened her doors to canine refugees from meat markets in Korea — for days, her kennels housed a cuteness overload of pugs. During the 2017 Canyon Fire 2, Sherri grabbed a bunch of friends, packed everyone into her truck, and barreled down to the Orange County Fairgrounds to help tag horses corralled there.

Most importantly, she now heads one of the very few parvo ICUs in the country and certainly the only one in the area. Since opening a little over a year ago, the clinic has completely healed about 500 dogs of a disease that otherwise might likely have killed them.

And somehow, she still manages to run that rescue. Here are three happy little pups living with fosters. If you’re interested in any of them, complete the adoption form on this link. You can donate on the Parvo ICU website as well.


Lovebug Luna is a parvo survivor from the parvo ICU. She was dropped at our clinic with only the hope of beating parvo and entering rescue to find her a forever home. She’s a small, 5-month-old Lab mix who loves to play and nap. She’s so grateful to be alive and promises to be the best dog ever!


Jimmy came to Sparky and the Gang with a minor injury to his front paw. Shelters usually cannot adopt an animal out when there’s a medical need and therefore rely on rescue groups to take ones like Jimmy in. He was red-listed at the shelter he was in, which means that he would have been euthanized if no rescue group or caring human claimed him. He’s fine now! He is a darling dog, is good with other dogs and people, and loves to play, but he hasn’t had an application in over two months. Can you make it work for Jimmy?


What a face! His name is Kevin, of all things, and he’s a darling pug mix. He’s great with other dogs and loves people. His previous owner was unable to keep him as he had to move out of the country. Kevin is only a year or so old and weighs around 17 pounds. He’s fully vetted and ready for his forever home.

Kate Karp has been covering animal care and pets in Long Beach for almost two decades. Her new column, Scratch This, will be published in the Long Beach Watchdog every Friday.