Category Archives: Pets

A Few Moments To Trouble You Pet Owners With A Trivial Matter

In my backyard right now is this magnificent male malamute, who in a case of exquisite timing on his part appeared alone on the street around noon yesterday in front of my house in Silver Lake at the exact same moment I randomly looked out the front window. Helpless not to help a lost dog, I’ve since posted the find to a local email list, tweeted about it, and gone on walks with the canine, canvassing my immediate neighbor either for signs he might recognize his home, or that someone might recognize him.

No go.

He is beautiful, ridiculously intelligent and wonderfully dispositioned (other than having an understandable urgency to chase any of our cats and mate with our female border collie/shepherd mix), and not very street saavy. And he is lost, which means after an overnight hoping for a miracle in reconnecting the dog to his guardians who I’m sure miss him terribly, my next course of action is to contact Animal Services, wherein if he’s microchipped they might be able to facilitate a reunion, or at least an adoption to a new home… or at worst his destruction. That chokes me up to no end just thinking about.

Which brings me to the entirely trivial matter this post is about: the need for animal caretakers to keep their critters collared and tagged and to keep those collars and tags maintained. So if right now — meaning right this very instant — you have a dog or cat or any other pet with access to the outdoors and a potential for escape and it’s lacking anything that might identify where it belongs, please resolve that. And if you know of or see anyone whose animal is similarly and so riskily unadorned, point it out to them. The heartbreak you save might be yours. And mine.

Screams from a Storm Drain

This morning started out calmly enough. A brisk walk with the dog in the hills of Hollywood. Then we came upon a storm drain. The dog went crazy sniffing and suddenly I heard screams. High pitched loud ones coming from the storm drain. I yelled down that I would get help. The moaning stopped. I tried to make contact. Silence. Was it a baby? A woman couldn’t fit down there. A small dog? A cat?

I ran home and dialed 911 and explained the situation to the fire department. To their immense credit, they were there in 15 minutes. They pried the manhole off the storm drain, and we heard the screams again. Much more woefully. They insisted it was an animal. They couldn’t risk going down and perhaps injuring themselves if it was a wild animal. “this happens all the time”.

I went home and called animal control. They listened and said they would try and get a field officer out there, no guarantee. An hour later, I got a call asking me to go out to the area, a couple of blocks away and show the officer where the animal was crying.

I left my house… but there was no animal control officer anywhere! I waited and waited. The cries continued. Hours had gone by.
Later, I ran into a neighbor and they told me that an animal control truck had circled the area but hadn’t stopped.
The screaming has stopped, no sound is coming out of the drain seven hours later. Perhaps the animal got loose and is okay. More likely, it gave up and died. Really hard to not be able to help.

Rescue Train’s Race For The Rescues Event Sunday Oct. 24

Are you a Gleek and a pet lover? Then this event is for you!*

The Rescue Train is holding its 5th annual Race for the Rescues event this Sunday, October 24 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The day will include a 5k, 10k and kids fun run along with lots of entertainment along the way. The proceeds benefit 10 non-profit pet rescue organizations in LA. There will be a huge silent auction, face painting for the kids and lots of pet shopping to dress up your four legged friend in time for Halloween. And if you were looking to adopt a new four legged friend, there will be dog and cat adoptions all day through the LA Animal Services and Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

And  your celebrity hosts for the event? Jane Lynch from Glee along with Carrie Ann Inaba from “Dancing With The Stars” and Danielle Fishel from the Style Network’s “The Dish.” Get your Gleek on!

Registration starts at 7am with races starting at 8:30. All events will wind down around 1pm. For a full schedule of events and to sponsor racers or make general donations to The Rescue Train, click here.  For more general info on The Rescue Train, please click here.

*I’m looking at you, author Queequeg!

Photo of "Jetta Rose," one of many pets who need homes via Rescue Train

Is there room in your heart and home for Kitters and Woody?


Kitters and Woody have recently been orphaned. They have been the constant companions of a dear woman, Judi, who has lost her battle with Multiple Sclerosis. does sometimes try to find homes for various and sundry animals, and I’m hoping someone out there will want to adopt these sweet kittehs. As we all know, shelters are full of unwanted and abandoned cats!

Here’s what my friend Cammy says about these two love cats:


Kitters is the female calico.  She’s very shy and a bit skittish, we have to admit.  Maybe it is due to her ‘fight’ with a car about 6 years ago that cost kitty her tail.  Thankfully, that is all she lost, and other than missing her tail, to everyone’s knowledge, she is in fine health.  She’s about 8 years old, and is spayed.

Woody, the tuxedo male, is sort of the comic relief to Kitters, as he is very social, and quite the talker.  I think he told me once that he wouldn’t mind if he never saw the inside of another shelter, which is where he came from originally before being adopted by Judi.  He is also in good  health, neutered, and about 8 years old.

Both Kitters and Woody are indoor cats.  If it’s okay with their new people, they will be accompanied by a bit of baggage — two scratching posts and an electric cat box.

Thank you for any help you can offer in finding a new place for Kitters and Woody to live out their lives and share their love.

Contact Katherine :  [email protected]

Can we come home with you?

SPCALA’s Hero Dog Nominations Due Wednesday

Miley, last year's winner

So, I totally totally totally should have told you guys about this earlier. But, hey, better late than never, right? (Nervous laughter)

But my tardiness and total lack of responsibility isn’t the point. The point is that there are hero dogs out there who need to be recognized, and the SPCALA is looking to recognize them. That’s why they’re calling for National Hero Dog nominations. So if you know a dog who committed a courageous act during 2009, give the SPCALA a call to nominate the little pooper.

Past winners include Taz, a German shepherd mix who ran for help after his owner fell off a cliff, breaking his pelvis; Shadow, another shepherd mix who saved his owner from a grizzly bear (!!!), and Miley, a terrier mix who roused her owner as carbon monoxide gas filled her home.

To be eligible, nominated dogs must be companion animals and not formally trained rescue or police dogs. If you’d like to nominate a dog you know, send a description in 100 words or less of the heroic act in question to [email protected] Here’s the hard part: Entries are due by the end of March 31.

Talents that will not be considered: Hilarious dream-induced whimpering and paw-twitching; butt-dragging; appearing in hilarious YouTube videos; running around to look at the back of the television when Animal Planet is on, just in case the television has magically become a window to a universe populated entirely by other dogs; genital self-moistening.

So get your entries in. Because hero dogs can’t nominate themselves. That would seem pretty crass.

The Problem With Leash Laws

So, a few weeks ago, my girlfriend Alanna and I were running up and down the poorly lit residential sidestreets of Glendale, shouting coordinated attack patterns at each other like SWAT team members and occasionally getting barked at by a German shepherd.

We were trying to catch him. He wasn’t a stray — he had a collar and tags. Every time we got close he would get nervous, and start to bark and growl, and not even our most high-pitched nice-doggy voices would soothe him out of hostility. In the end we just ended up calling 311 and reporting him to Animal Control. At least he wasn’t on a main artery with lots of traffic.

But a few weeks before that we were driving up and down Los Feliz Boulevard with the windows down and our heads stuck out – kind of like dogs ourselves – listening for the jingling collar of a mutt we’d been tracking since Griffith Park. Where the shepherd was hostile, the mutt was evasive, and again we simply called 311.

They’re not all failures. We’ve caught a few, and reunited them with their owners. Like the dalmatian Alanna watched fall out of a moving SUV at the intersection of Franklin and Vine. Or the black lab that seemed to be waiting for me the moment I left our apartment. Or the scruffy mixed-breed I coaxed into a helpful stranger’s car during an interrupted run.

Seriously: You guys need to keep a better eye on your dogs.
Continue reading The Problem With Leash Laws

SPCALA’s Friends For Life Spring Camp is enrolling now

Occasionally — not as often as I’d like — I do some volunteering with the SPCALA, southern California’s very own Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I’m a humane education volunteer, which means that I don’t spend as much time cleaning up dog poo as I do interacting with kids. Your feelings on this may vary depending on your tolerance for animal scat and other people’s children.

This spring the SPCALA is running Friends for Life, a week-long camp where kids can learn the basics of pet care, interacting with animals, and even a bit of dog training. When I volunteered at Friends for Life a couple of years ago, the kids were sorted into smallish teams; each team was paired with a dog, and under the supervision of camp staff, the kids taught the dog a variety of obedience commands (sit, heel, come, et cetera) and agility tricks like running through a tunnel.

The benefit to the kids is obvious; they learn the basics of a valuable skill set, but they’re also able to develop traits like patience and responsibility. For the dogs, the benefits might be even better: A well-trained dog that’s proven to be good with kids is more likely to be adopted. (Parents experiencing any trepidation at this point should note that the dogs themselves undergo a strict screening process before being allowed to take part in the camp.)

The kids, of course, may also be asked to help clean up after their dogs. Trust me: Picking up dog poop is a valuable skill. I wish more people in my neighborhood had it.

Camp runs from March 29 to April 2, then again from April 5 to April 9. More details are at the SPCALA website.

Metblogs Cat of the Week: Little Sister

Hi! I’m Little Sister. My mom has had success finding homes for kitties before, via Metblogs. If you’ve been reading for a few years, you’ll know about her cat saga.  Now, she’s trying to find a home for me!

I am gorgeous, if I do say so myself–with long Himalayan-style fur that’s a mix of tabby stripes & calico and marmalade colors. Every time Mom comes home I run to greet her at the gate, and I love being petted. I’m less a fan of being picked up, but can you blame me? I grew up as a feral cat, and being picked up scares me.

Mom says I have to find a new indoor home because coyotes have found our yard where we all live and are killing us one by one. I’m pretty creeped out by that. I hope you can adopt me, because then I’ll be safe! I like being outdoors, but I know my life span will be longer and I’ll be healthier if I become an indoor cat. Mom would let me live in her house but I give her the sneezles.

If you adopt me, I will probably hide under your bed or in your closet for a week before I start to venture out and explore. Pet me and you’ll find I’m a purring machine! I’m mellow and easygoing, and over time as I become used to being an indoor cat I’ll become the perfectest cat in the world! I’ve been spayed and mom says she’ll get me all new shots, which sounds not so fun.

If you’d like me to be YOUR best friend, email mom at lucindamichele (at) metblogs (dawt) com. Meow.

Healthy Spot in WeHo

11570_197498378462_147337263462_3086760_3288802_nI’ve written about Healthy Spot before.  It’s my neighborhood dog store; it’s my dog’s version of “Cheers.”  Because, really, everyone there knows her name, from the groomers to the girl in charge of their doggie daycare to the owners.  I wish I frequented a store catered to humans where the people knew my name, and what my favorite treat is (FYI: for future reference, it’s those tiny Andes thin mints – so tasty and satisfying).  Healthy Spot opened near me in Santa Monica in 2008; now, not even two full years later, they’re bringing the cheers, the organic, not-recalled dog food, and their dog-related services to West Hollywood.  Located on Santa Monica and La Cienega in a space that formerly housed a Famima!!, Saturday is their grand opening bash.  You’ll get to sample their store, peek inside their doggie daycare, check out the grooming salon, and, most importantly, get free stuff.  There will be doggie bags full of samples for the first 200 dogs; complimentary nail clippings with any purchase; and a raffle and silent auction in support of Best Friends LA.  Cheers!

The West Hollywood branch of Healthy Spot is at 8525 Santa Monica Boulevard.  The grand opening party is from 10am – 4pm.

Buy Cheap Stuff and Help the Kittehs

Mink's feral cat photo used through Creative Commons
Mink's feral cat photo used through Creative Commons

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, the Stray Cat Alliance is having a giant indoor “yard” sale at 2201 Westwood (the site of the former Hollywood Video store on the corner of Olympic). The sale runs Saturday (Caturday as some would have it) 30 January from 8am to 3pm and Sunday 31 January from 9am to noon. The Stray Cat Alliance are those folks who care for strays, trying to match them with people, neuter and spay where needed and generally do what they can to work toward a “no kill nation.” So yeah, come buy things and help save the wild kittehs

To donate items, please email: [email protected] or call (310) 281-6973

To volunteer the week before or during the sale, email: [email protected]

Best in Show, And Then Some

DSC_0187I have a shiba inu.  This usually isn’t a problem for people who don’t mind purebred dogs anymore than they mind eating breakfast for dinner, but every once in a while at certain parties, I run into someone who flippantly says things like, “Your dog sounds nice, but I like to save dogs from the shelter.”  Then I get schooled about the immorality of selective breeding and an angry litany of supposed diseases and defects my dog will have as result of generations of (in)breeding.  And, as much as I try to explain the virtues of responsible breeding and purebred dog ownership, I usually end up testing whether my dog understands my hand signal for “bare your teeth and growl.”

The American Kennel Club/Eukanuba 125th Annual National Championship dog show held just two weekends ago in Long Beach, then, would be a bad place for those adamantly against the purebred pup.  Too bad, as watching the (over)celebration of the best of each breed was highly, highly entertaining.  Self-riteous people looking for a bone to pick at every turn really do miss out on all the fun.

It was a soggy day – hard to remember when we’ve been getting spring-like weather, isn’t it? – but surprisingly, once you reached the floor of the show, it didn’t smell like wet dogs at all.  It smelled a bit like hair product mixed with human sweat.  The sweat of competition.

Some Best in Show moments from behind the blue carpet of the ring, after the jump.

Continue reading Best in Show, And Then Some

Judge Thomas McKnew (LA Superior Court) Suspends LA’s Trap-and-Release Programs for Feral Cats

Kittens from the neighborhood that I can't afford to spay or neuter. Shall we kill them?

You know the great clinic I told you about (click for pics of cute kittens) some months ago that will spay & neuter your kitties for free? Fix Nation? They’ve now been suspended from providing those free services.

Here’s what happened:

“Wild bird groups sued the City of Los Angeles in 2008 to stop its support of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), the humane, community based method to control feral cat overpopulation. They claimed that under the California Environmental Quality Act, the City of LA could not provide discount spay neuter coupons to feral cat caregivers or promote TNR without an Environmental Study and Impact Report, based upon the utterly false premise that if TNR is promoted by the City, fewer cats will be killed in shelters, meaning more cats left in the environment to kill birds.

Last week, after a summary trial of this action, Judge Thomas McKnew, of the LA Superior Court, bought into this spurious argument and issued an injunction preventing any City support of TNR.”

-from this article

Way to go, dude!

I encourage you to sign the petition here to return the city’s support of TNR programs. With these programs no longer free, people like me will not be able to afford to trap, neuter & release the wild cats in our neighborhoods–meaning unchecked breeding and even MORE birds killed. And, of course, more cats killed or living fearful & malnourished lives on the street.

DOGGIES!!!!! Er, Ahem, The AKC Dog Show is Today

Getting fluffed for show.

I never thought I would be one of those people, but here I am:  I went to a dog show yesterday.  The 2009 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship started Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center and finishes today, Sunday, with the Best in Show being crowned at some point tonight.  There also is a highly entertaining agility contest – disproportionately attended by lesbians (not that there is anything wrong with that; I was there too) – in which big and small dogs race their way through an obstacle course.  If you have no plans on a lazy (and hopefully dry) Sunday and have a spare Andrew Jackson in your wallet, tickets at the box office are $20 and free for kiddies.

I know what you’re thinking: Best in Show and one of Jane Lynch’s finest performances outside of Glee. And, really, it is hard not to mock the entire event, or any event in which a group of obsessed people congregate to out-obsess the other.  But, for dog lovers, it’s also a nice chance to see all sorts of different dogs like the Xoloitzcuintli, learn about different breeds, and see how they fluff the bichon frisee’s fur.  It’s electric.

If you can’t make it, no fear: a full recap will be up next week for those who live vicariously through their computers.  The pictures might be the best photos I have ever taken.