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The federal eviction moratorium has ended. What does that mean for LA County renters?

Daily News - 12 ore 5 min fa

Many renters are concerned about their futures as the federal eviction moratorium — put in place last year to keep tenants in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic — expired over the weekend.

But in California, renters are still safe from no-cause or nonpayment evictions through Sept. 30. And tenants in Los Angeles County specifically have even more protections through the end of September.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who’s protected under the state eviction moratorium?

Anyone who experienced financial struggles because of the pandemic is protected from a no-cause or nonpayment eviction from their home if they provide a signed declaration attesting to those difficulties to their landlord within 15 business days of receiving a notice to “pay or quit.” The ban applies to residential tenants who rent a physical structure, such as a house or apartment, and to people who rent land, such as mobile-home owners, for their home.

Who’s protected under LA County’s eviction moratorium?

The LA County moratorium applies to all of the same people as the state ban — that is, renters of both buildings and land — but unlike California’s ban, it also applies to commercial tenants. It’s effective in both unincorporated and incorporated LA County.

What’s the difference in the state and county bans?

LA County’s eviction moratorium goes further than California’s, both in terms of who is protected and what those protections are. The state’s prohibition applies only to evictions for residential tenants, while the county’s includes commercial tenants. And while California law protects renters from nonpayment and no-cause evictions, LA County’s law also prevents tenants from being kicked out for:

  • no-fault reasons, like plans to remodel or demolish the property;
  • having unauthorized occupants or pets, if those people or pets need housing because of the pandemic;
  • being a nuisance; or
  • denying entry to a landlord.

One exception to LA County’s law, though, is that a landlord can evict a tenant from a single-family home if the landlord owned the home before June 30 of this year and intends to use the house as their own residence or as a family member’s residence.

Some cities, like the City of Los Angeles, also have their own eviction bans in place. But those are only effective if the protections offered are stronger than LA County’s. LA City’s prohibition, for example, largely mirrors LA County’s, except the moratorium currently lasts through Aug. 1, 2022 — nearly a year longer than the county’s or the state’s.

Does that mean that rent accumulated during the pandemic is waived?

No.

Both California and LA County’s moratoriums still require tenants to pay back any rent that has accumulated while the eviction bans have been in place. The state law requires renters to pay 25% of the debt they’ve accumulated over the prior year by Sept. 30.

After that point, any unpaid rent from before Sept. 30 that a tenant still owes would become consumer debt, meaning a landlord could pursue it in court or sell it to a collections agency. But the renter could not be evicted because of that debt.

Renters can, however, be evicted for nonpayment if they fail to pay full rent on or after Oct. 1.

People who make 80% or less than their area’s median income, though, have more options. They can apply for the state’s CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program, which will pay owed rent dating back to April 1, 2020, in full, along with up to three months of prospective rent. Once renters apply for that program, their state protection from eviction extends through the end of March.

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LA County’s law, meanwhile, gives renters until Sept. 30 to pay any debts they accumulated before Oct. 1, 2020. Any debts accumulated after that point are subject to payment according to the state’s law.

Will the state, county or city eviction moratoriums be extended further?

That’s unclear at this point. Throughout the pandemic, the bans have been extended by a few months at a time as COVID-19 has continued to impact the economy and people’s ability to find work. State officials said Monday, Aug. 2, that it was still too early to predict whether the eviction bans will still be necessary after the end of next month.

Where can I learn more?

For more information on the state protections and rental relief program, visit housing.ca.gov. Information on the county’s regulations can be found at dcba.lacounty.gov/noevictions. And for details on LA City’s moratorium, go to hcidla2.lacity.org/highlights/renter-protections.

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Reports: Lakers reunite with Howard, Ariza, Ellington; Caruso leaves for Bulls

Daily News - 12 ore 12 min fa

The phrase “Laker for life” is truly getting a workout this offseason.

In the first few hours of NBA free agency on Monday, the Lakers reportedly have agreed to terms with three veterans: Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Dwight Howard. All are older players on one-year deals with needed skills to build a roster around the Lakers’ star trio – and notably, all have been Lakers before.

ESPN was first to report Ariza’s deal; Yahoo led on Ellington’s deal and The Athletic was the first to report on Howard. A person with knowledge of the Lakers’ offseason plans had previously told Southern California News Group a Howard reunion was possible this offseason.

But the first day was not without pain: Alex Caruso agreed to a four-year, $37 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN, which leaves the Lakers without perhaps their best perimeter defender from last season and a perennial fan favorite who was on the 2020 championship team.

Both Ariza, 36, and Howard, 35, won titles with the Lakers in previous stints: Ariza was on the 2009 title team that topped Howard’s Orlando Magic, and Howard won it all in 2020 in his second stint with the franchise. The Lakers are betting that these older players will help reignite championship magic on a roster built around All-Stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

Ariza averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Miami Heat last season after his contract was bought out by Oklahoma City. The UCLA product is entering his 18th NBA season, and the Lakers will be his seventh team in the last four years.

After Howard once thought he might be returning last offseason, he makes his third trip to L.A. after playing one season in Philadelphia, where he averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds. He’ll give the Lakers a physical presence at center, as well as familiarity with Coach Frank Vogel’s scheme.

Ellington returns to the Lakers after a one-year campaign during a forgettable 2014-15 season. The 33-year-old shot better than 42% from 3-point range while averaging 9.6 for the Detroit Pistons last season.

More to come on this story.

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How San Manuel Casino’s expansion aims to elevate dining in the area

Daily News - 12 ore 14 min fa

Officials at San Manuel Casino hope the new Serrano Vista Café will not only raise the property’s dining profile, but also be the next step in elevating the dining options in the surrounding area

The restaurant, which debuted Monday, Aug. 2, is part of a $760 million expansion of the Highland area resort in the foothills along the 210 Freeway in San Bernardino County.

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“This is the first of a handful of outlets that will be opening with the expansion,” Linchul Shin, San Manuel Casino’s director of food and beverage, told invited guests at a preview of the restaurant. “I think it’s really going to set the precedent for what we want to do for this entire area.

“Admittedly, maybe the first thing that you think of when you think of this area may not be high-end luxury, but our goal is to redefine that narrative,” he added.

  • Ahi tuna poke is on the menu at the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland on Monday, Aug. 2. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) at San Manuel Casino in Highland on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Prime flat iron steak with Argentinian chimichurri sauce is served at the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) at San Manuel Casino in Highland on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • The Spicy Thai salad is on the menu at the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) at San Manuel Casino in Highland on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Coconut cream pie is on the menu at the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Old school grilled cheese with tomato soup is on the menu at the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Images of orange groves decorate the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Bottles of alcohol are seen at the bar inside the new Serrano Vista Café at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • The Serrano Vista Café opened for dinner Monday at San Manuel Casino in Highland. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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Serrano Vista’s current menu includes sandwiches, burgers, pasta, chicken, salmon, and locally sourced steaks and produce. Prices are $14-$36.

It has a full bar and house-made soft drinks.

Serrano Vista is currently open for dinner, 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Reservations can be made on the casino’s website.

It will eventually expand to a 24-hour operation, first with lunch, then with breakfast and finally graveyard hours, according to executive chef Matthew Smith.

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And that’s only the beginning.

“We have some really exciting spaces we’re going to activate,” he said.

They include a reboot of The Pines Steakhouse, currently on the second floor of the casino. It will move to the first floor of the casino in space added at the north end of the property in the expansion. After that, the space for the existing steakhouse will be used for a different concept.

“The new Pines, I think, is going to be one of the finer fine dining steakhouses in Southern California,” Smith said, with Grade A Wagyu beef from Japan, other specialty steaks from local farms, and fresh fish flown in from Hawaii on the menu.

No time frame was given for the changes.

San Manuel’s other fine dining restaurant, Hung Bao Kitchen, is returning to a full menu after serving a limited menu earlier during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Smith, as are George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen, which is counter service, and the casual full-service restaurant Rock & Brews.

Serrano Vista Café is part of phase one of San Manuel’s expansion. Before the restaurant preview, general manager Peter Arceo led a tour of some of the other features in the expansion.

It included the Enclave, a VIP gaming room with a bar that has a smoking box to give flavor to cocktails such as an old fashioned; three retail shops, including a shoe shine stand offering $7 shoe polishes for men’s and women’s footwear; and the Overlook, a bar at the entrance of a 429-room hotel that is  set to open by the end of the year.

The hotel is part of the second phase of the property’s expansion. Phase three is an entertainment center that is expected to open in 2022.

The hotel’s entryway is currently blocked with a screen and a high-definition TV. It is halfway between the casino’s first and second floor, separating guests from the slots as they check in, according to Arceo.

San Manuel Casino

Where: 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland

Restrictions: Guests must be 21 year or older, mask wearing strongly recommended for people vaccinated against COVID-19 and required for people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Information: sanmanuel.com

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Bacteria advisories lifted at beach near Hyperion plant

Daily News - 12 ore 22 min fa

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department lifted a series of bacteria warnings for Dockweiler State Beach on Monday afternoon, Aug. 2, following tests at several sites that showed the beach no longer exceeds state standards.

County officials repeatedly warned visitors over the weekend to exercise caution when surfing, playing or swimming in the waters near the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant due to higher than usual amounts of bacteria. Tests conducted Monday, however, showed the beaches had returned to an acceptable level, according to the public health department’s beach quality tracker.

Only one Los Angeles County beach, Avalon Beach on Catalina Island, still displayed a bacteria advisory as of 4 p.m. Monday.

Excessive levels of bacteria can cause illness, such as vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.

Public health officials have maintained that the increases in bacteria seen last week were not due to the emergency discharge of 17 million gallons of untreated sewage from the Hyperion treatment plant earlier this month. Bacteria levels often fluctuate day to day and can be impacted by the weather, officials said.

Operations at Hyperion, located just south of Los Angeles International Airport, were disrupted when an unusually large amount of debris caused a flood at the plant July 11 and forced workers to expel the sewage from a pipeline a mile from shore. Strong smells have emanated from the plant since the incident, prompting Los Angeles to offer hotel vouchers and reimbursements for air conditioners to El Segundo residents.

The flooding damaged the plant’s equipment and reduced its ability to treat the more than 260 million gallons of sewage that passes through it on a daily basis. As a result, the facility has continued to release millions of gallons of partially treated sewage — sewage that goes through the full treatment process, but does not meet state standards — from a 5-mile outfall while repair work is underway.

Tests conducted near the 1- and 5-mile pipelines did not show the same high level of bacteria later found near the beaches, according to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Experts say it is unlikely, due to the depth and distance the wastewater is released, that the partially treated discharges at the 5-mile outfall will impact the shoreline.

Beachgoers can call the county’s 24-hour beach closure hotline at 800-525-5662 for up-to-date information about beach conditions. Additional information is available on the Public Health Department’s website.

More on Hyperion

Officer who responded to Jan. 6 attack is third to die by suicide

Daily News - 12 ore 33 min fa

By Whitney Wild and Paul LeBlanc | CNN

A DC police officer who responded to the US Capitol insurrection has died by suicide, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

“Officer Gunther Hashida, assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, was found deceased in his residence on Thursday, July 29,” department spokesperson Kristen Metzger told CNN in a statement.

Hashida joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 2003 and responded to the Capitol on January 6, Metzger said.

“We are grieving as a Department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” Metzger said.

This is the third known suicide of an officer who responded to the Capitol during the attack, and it is the second known suicide by a DC officer specifically.

Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the force, and US Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, a 16-year Capitol Police veteran, also responded to the insurrection and later died by suicide. A recent Senate report into the security failures of the day lists both Smith and Liebengood among those who “ultimately lost their lives” following the attack.

Another Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the attack, Washington DC’s chief medical examiner determined in April.

The Justice Department has charged more than 550 people in connection with the insurrection, according to CNN’s latest tally, and the attack is at the center of a high-profile House select committee investigation.

During a hearing before the panel last month, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn delivered an emotional plea to officers who defended the Capitol to seek out professional help if they need it.

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“I want to take this moment and speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of January 6. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said.

“What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”

Angels recall Jo Adell as they continue giving opportunities to young players

Daily News - 12 ore 45 min fa

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Angels are clearly shifting their focus toward the future.

Just over an hour after Manager Joe Maddon announced that pitcher Chris Rodriguez would be making his first big league start for the Angels on Monday night, outfielder Jo Adell walked into the Angels clubhouse for his return to the big leagues.

Adell arrived too late to be in the starting lineup, but his promotion to the big leagues is nonetheless a watershed moment.

Adell, 21, was considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball before his disappointing debut season in 2020. He hit .161 with a .478 OPS and demonstrated clear defensive issues, most memorably a four-base error at the very ballpark where he returned on Monday.

His game showed enough holes that the Angels acquired veterans to move ahead of him on the depth chart. They had him start the 2021 season back at Triple-A.

Adell hit .292 with 23 homers and a .943 OPS this season at Salt Lake. He struck out 97 times and walked 22 times in 336 plate appearances, a pair of statistics that each give some reason for concern.

The Angels, however, made a statement with the roster move that they are ready to give him another shot.

The announcement about Adell came after Maddon’s pregame media session, so it’s unclear at this point exactly how the Angels plan to use him.

He played all three outfield spots at Salt Lake, with 28 games in center, 24 in left and 18 in right. Adell was listed in left field in a lineup that the Angels released just before re-issuing a corrected one without Adell.

Brandon Marsh has been playing center field since he came to the big leagues just over two weeks earlier. Marsh has been solid defensively, but he’s struggled at the plate, carrying a 4-for-33 slump into Monday’s game.

Left fielder Justin Upton has also been slumping since he came off the injured list just over a week ago. The Angels also have veteran Adam Eaton playing in right field.

ROTATION UPDATE

José Suarez will start on Tuesday for the Angels, but they are still undecided for Wednesday and Thursday.

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Shohei Ohtani is a candidate to start on Wednesday, but the Angels need to see how he comes out of a bullpen session from Monday afternoon. Ohtani had his start pushed back a few days because he hurt his thumb when he was struck by a foul ball in the dugout.

The Angels also have Dylan Bundy as a candidate to start on Wednesday. Patrick Sandoval could start on Thursday.

NOTES

Neither outfielder Mike Trout nor third baseman Anthony Rendon traveled with the Angels for this four-game trip to Texas, although both had made the previous trip to Oakland and Minnesota. Maddon said on Sunday that Rendon (hamstring) still isn’t doing baseball activity, and Trout (strained calf) remains in a holding pattern while waiting for him to no longer feel discomfort. …

The Angels optioned infielders Kean Wong and Matt Thaiss, creating spots on the roster for Adell and Rodriguez.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP José Suarez, 4-4, 3.45 ERA) vs. Rangers (RHP Jordan Lyles, 5-7, 5.04), Tuesday, 5:05 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

Hollywood economy gains traction as tourists, events return

Daily News - 12 ore 46 min fa

Hollywood is bouncing back.

After weathering a sharp downturn in tourism, temporary business closures, stay-at-home orders and a host of pandemic-related safety restrictions, business is picking up, although some continue to struggle.

A second-quarter 2021 report from The Hollywood Partnership shows a nearly 50% increase in hotel occupancy compared with the prior three months, and a 164% rise in pedestrian traffic.

The partnership manages the city’s Property-Based Improvement District, which stretches along the world-famous Walk of Fame and spans Hollywood Boulevard from the LaBrea Avenue Gateway on the west to the 101 freeway to the east.

‘Not entirely out of the woods’ Performance venues in Hollywood took took some of the heaviest hits during the worst of the pandemic. But things have picked up, and venues like Hollywood Bowl now have full 2021 schedules. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

“Though we are not entirely out of the woods yet, we can see the clearing through the trees,” partnership President and CEO Kristopher Larson said. “The past three months have delivered a litany of good news stories and other indications for enthusiasm about the road ahead.”

Larson said pedestrian traffic is rapidly rebounding in Hollywood, bringing visitors from not only the region but from the entire country.

“We track cell phone data on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” he said. “We use a tool called placer.ai, which contracts with a bunch of different apps. It’s not perfect, but it does show that more than 60% of visitors to the Walk of Fame are currently coming from out of the area.”

Metro ridership, hotel demand up

The report’s second-quarter data shows the highest level of Metro rail ridership since the onset of the pandemic. Metro Red Line ridership increased by 16% on weekdays and by 23% on Saturdays and Sundays compared to first-quarter ridership estimates.

The report also shows demand for hotel rooms in Hollywood was up 74% during the second quarter of 2021 and up 233% from a year earlier during the worst days of the pandemic.

Five new hotels are currently under construction in the Hollywood Entertainment District, a 12-block area along Hollywood Boulevard that’s recognized for its historical significance. Those projects will add 830 additional hotel rooms.

The frame for the 134-room Whiskey Hotel, just north of Hollywood Boulevard, has quickly taken shape, the partnership said, and a new Hyatt hotel on Cahuenga Boulevard recently secured a $27 million bridge loan to continue construction.

Other hotels in the pipeline include the Godfrey Hotel, Thompson Hotel and Tommie Hotel.

Larson acknowledged Hollywood is still digging its way out of an unprecedented downturn.

“When the pandemic began last year we saw the most severe dip ever in pedestrian counts,” he said. “It was an eerie place. People just didn’t come out.”

Performance venues took some of the heaviest hits, Larson said, but venues like Hollywood Bowl now have full 2021 schedules.

Still struggling

The partnership’s report bodes well for Hollywood’s recovery, although some businesses are still struggling.

“We were closed for about two and a half months last year and our sales dropped by 90%,” said Maria Cruz, general manager for Hollywood Souvenirs. “We’re slowly picking up, but now that people are going back to school we seem to be taking another dive.”

The shop — which sells everything from T-shirts, trophies and key chains, to Marilyn Monroe cutouts, gift baskets and customizable Walk of Fame stars — is also looking to boost its staffing.

“We’ve tried to call most of our employees back but some just aren’t coming back to work,” Cruz said. “With COVID, they’re still afraid to get close to customers who aren’t wearing masks, and others are on unemployment and may be making more money that way.”

Stout Burgers and Beers has fared better.

The North Cahuenga Boulevard brewpub continued to offer outdoor and takeout service during the pandemic and it also has on-site parking, which many Hollywood businesses don’t have, according to General Manager Justin Davis.

“I think businesses that weren’t able to offer outdoor service because they didn’t have room struggled more because a lot of customers just figured they were closed,” he said. “The Delta variant might be responsible for a little bit of a slowdown for us the last week or two, but our business has mostly remained steady.”

Here’s why you should adopt a pet from an animal rescue

Daily News - 12 ore 47 min fa

When you’re looking to adopt a new furry, scaly, feathered and/or hooved companion, an animal rescue is a great choice. Rescues generally pull the most at-risk animals from shelters, the streets or from owners who can no longer take care of them and give those animals a better chance at a brighter future.

Finding a rescue is as easy as Googling “dog/cat/this-very-specific-kind-of-pot-bellied-pig rescue,” but what’s the best way to sort through the 87 bazillion results you’ll get?

“Reputable rescues want to match the family with the right animal both for the animal and the adopter,” says Claudia Marie of The Little Lions Foundation. “A reputable rescue ensures that all the animals in their care receive what they need to thrive, which includes basic vetting such as vaccines, de-wormers and spaying/neutering.”

If something seems off with a rescue, listen to your gut. And there some common signs that a rescue might not be for you.

“Red flags for a rescue are when they don’t really ask the adopter any questions and are in a hurry to complete the adoption,” says Marie.

Other warning signs? “If the rescue is slow to communicate, don’t do proper vetting or have poor reviews on Yelp or social media,” says Roni Naccarato of Zazzy Cats.

And if a rescue seems like it’s assessing you? That’s a good thing.

More ‘Pets’

“A reputable rescue requires a multistep confirmation process for either adoption or volunteer application. This is to make sure the cats/kittens and adopters are a good fit for each other, and reduces risk of stress/returns,” says Janet Pao, who works with multiple rescue organization via her mobile Moon Cat Café.

Reputable rescue organizations clearly explain the adoption process and relevant expectations ahead of time, adds Pao. “This includes providing an adoption contract where the adopter agrees to provide the best care possible and proactively communicate any urgent issues, and where the rescue agrees to take back the animal if the adoption doesn’t work out after mutual attempts at resolving any issues.”

Having to answer a bunch of questions – whether the pet is going to go outdoors, whether you rent or own, if you are aware of the costs of pet care – is kind of annoying, but it’s a sign that the rescue is doing its best to make sure you and your animal will be well matched and that you will be a responsible pet owner.

And if you can’t adopt right now – whether because of space, finances or your cat is extremely against it – there are all kinds of other ways to help. The No. 1 need for most rescues is cold hard cash. Money allows rescues to buy supplies more cheaply in bulk and the flexibility to put the funds toward whatever is most needed in the moment. If you can donate, the money will be well-used and appreciated.

If you have more time than money, then there are all kinds of other ways to help. You can foster an animal in your home, volunteer at a sanctuary or sign up to work at adoption events. You also can walk dogs, play with puppies to socialize them or clean cages. Less obvious ways to help are volunteering to do social media for a rescue, take thirst-trap photos of adoptable animals, cart animals around or organize fundraising events.

“Most rescues have lots of different volunteer opportunities with varying levels of commitment,” Marie says. “You don’t have to commit to more than you can handle.”

Here are some quality rescues to find your perfect dog, cat, horse or that specific pot-bellied pig. (Note: Many rescues don’t have a physical location and are often staffed by a few overworked leaders and a network of local fosters. Contact each rescue directly for how to meet an animal.)

Cats

Beach City Kitties | Venice

Rescues kitties from the streets and local shelters, then fosters and find homes for them. Also works with FixNation (fixnation.org) to TNR (trap-neuter-return) local feral cats.

Cats in Tow Rescue & Sanctuary | Brea, 7114-878-1371

Fosters cats and kittens and hosts a cat adoption center in Brea. Also operates a sanctuary and transition center in Anaheim for cats deemed “unadoptable” because of age, health conditions or temperament.

Kitty Bungalow | Los Angeles

This “charm school for wayward cats” focuses on feral cats and kittens, providing force-free socialization techniques to take street cats from “hiss to home.”

The Ark of San Juan Capistrano | San Juan Capistrano

This nonprofit and its army of volunteer foster caregivers help raise and rehome kittens and cats found stray or relinquished to the Orange County animal shelter. The nonprofit is also known for helping cats in need of medical care, which are often too costly for government shelters.

The Little Lion Foundation | Long Beach

Pulls kittens from high-risk shelters and specializes in nurturing vulnerable neonatal kittens (with the mama cats, if possible) at their nursery until they’re ready for adoption. Also works with transportation volunteers to send adoptable kittens out of state to cities where the adoption demand exceeds shelter supply.

San Gabriel Valley Animal Advocates | La Puente, 626-373-8748

Highly experienced in both trap-neuter-return for feral cats and socializing kittens/cats until they are ready for adoption. Also focused on educating the community about the importance of spay/neuter.

Second Chance Pet Adoption | Westminster, 714-487-1518

Connects the public with spay/neuter resources and fosters kittens and adult cats until they are ready for adoption. Holds adoptions in Huntington Beach and Murrieta.

Tiny Paws & Whiskers | Orange County

Focus is on orphaned kittens. Works to help community cat population by ensuring that all cats coming through the rescue are spayed/neutered, tested for feline disease and encourage owners to keep cats indoors.

Zazzy Cats | Long Beach, 323-687-4225

Fosters and adopts out cats and kitten from shelters and pulled directly from the community, including hoarding cases, owner surrenders and owners who’ve suddenly passed away.

Dogs

A Purposeful Rescue | Los Angeles

Primarily focused on South Central Los Angeles, pulls “overlooked” dogs (i.e. shy, stressed out, in need of extra care) from high-risk shelters and rehabilitates for adoption. Also does community outreach and spay and neuter education.

Barks of Love Animal Rescue and Placement Services | Fullerton

Rehabilitates and re-trains dogs that qualify for adoption, with a goal of reducing euthanasia rates in local shelters.

Balooja’s Foundation | Upland, 323-823-3891

Saves abused and unwanted dogs from euthanasia in high-kill shelters. Works with all breeds, especially harder-to-adopt dogs like chihuahuas, pit bulls, senior dogs and dogs with medical needs.

Cell Dogs | Santa Ana, 714-747-6782

Rescues dogs from local shelters and, before adopting them out, enrolls them in basic obedience training programs that take place in correctional facilities and actively involve inmate trainers.

Cuddly Canines Rescue | La Habra

Dedicated to rescuing pregnant dogs, nursing moms, or orphaned bottle babies from high-kill shelters.

Ghetto Rescue Foundation | Anaheim, 714-924-4733

Rescues homeless, abandoned and abused “street” dogs in high-crime, low-income communities. Also provides community shot clinics and funds veterinary services for lower-income families, including the homeless population.

Live Love Animal Rescue | Long Beach, 562-810-5350

Rescues all kinds of dogs, including extreme behavioral and medical cases. Dogs receive veterinary care and behavioral training before heading to their forever homes.

Waggin’ Trails Rescue Foundation | Huntington Beach, 714-328-8661

Works to rehome animals locally and also with out-of-state rescues to transport animals to areas such as Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Western Canada where shelters are less impacted and these animals are readily adopted.

Senior dogs

Frosted Faces Foundation | Ramona, 715-574-6320

Provides quality medical care and finds homes for senior dogs. Includes a Seniors for Seniors program which matches older dogs with humans 65+, eliminating some of the barriers to ownership with free vet transportation, medical care and guaranteed care if the human becomes ill or unable to take care of the dog.

Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary | Acton, 661-286-2066

Rescues primarily large-breed senior dogs who have been abandoned in shelters. Dogs live out their lives in the sanctuary or are placed in a foster or adoptive homes.

Leave No Paws Behind | West Covina, 626-667-7575

Specializes in senior, special needs, terminal and end of life dogs. Rescues, vets and places them in foster, adoptive or hospice homes.

Specific dog breeds

Note: There are rescues for all kinds of dog breeds – too many to list, in fact. But here’s a sampling of what’s out there.

Boxer Rescue LA | Encino, 310-862-0044

A kennel facility in East San Fernando Valley with available dogs. While at BRLA, boxers are provided safe housing, medical care and their behavior is observed for the most appropriate placement.

German Shepherd Save Haven | Laguna Niguel, 949-363-5254

Rescues, trains and re-homes German Shepherds from shelter environments and from owner surrenders. Also provides education to the public on the temperament, personality and life span of the breed.

Labs and More Rescue | Oceanside

Rescues large dogs and mixed-breed dogs, often with past medical trauma, from high-kill shelters. Also helps pregnant mothers, puppy litters, seniors and otherwise homeless, discarded dogs.

Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles | Los Angeles, 310-327-7871

Dedicated to the rescue, care and placement of abandoned, neglected, unwanted, displaced and abused pugs.

Southland Collie Rescue | Riverside, 951-789-6325

Finds homes for purebred collies (and occasionally collie mixes) rescued from shelters, abandoned or given up by owners who can’t or won’t care for them anymore. Checks all dogs for temperament and provides medical care and spay/neutering. Dogs stay in foster home or their O’Neil’s Collie Haven.

Sunny Saints St. Bernard Rescue | Bellflower, 949-275-8730

Rescues adoptable lost, abandoned or surrendered St. Bernards, supplies medical care and re-socialization in foster homes and places them in permanent adoptive homes.

Cats, dogs…and more

CARMA (Compassionate Animal Rescue for Medical Aid) | Mission Viejo, 949-231-9184

Veterinary professionals who rescue sick or injured animals, provide them with medical care and find homes for them.

Forever Home Pet Rescue | Porter Ranch, 818-530-5305 | Long Beach, 562-257-3663

Rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of abandoned and neglected animals, mostly dogs and cats, with the occasional bunny, hamster or bird.

Homeless to Forever Foundation | Arcadia

Rescues cats, dogs and other animals scheduled for euthanasia and helps find homes for them.

Paw Prints in the Sand | Newport Beach, 949-423-3644

Gives at-risk animals – cats, dogs, sheep, pigs – a second chance with medical care, behavior training and rehoming.

WAGS of Westminster | Westminster

The nonprofit shelters and cares for pets, investigates animal cruelty cases, rescues neglected pets, treats sick and injured strays and educates the community about humane issues and responsible pet care. The shelter provides care for dogs and cats, rabbits, snakes, tortoises, birds and even potbelly pigs.

Dog and cat cafés

The Dog Cafe | Los Angeles, 323-485-4077

Have a cup of coffee and hang out with some pups. If you fall in love with one (or two), they’re all adoptable rescues looking for a new home.

Moon Cat Cafe | Various locations

Mobile cat cafe with coffee, pastries and adoptable cats ready to meet you.

Horses

Red Bucket Rescue | Chino Hills, 909-627-2524

Rescues slaughter-bound, abused, high-risk and desperate horses (and donkeys!), then rehabilitates and trains in preparation for their forever homes.

Hanaeleh Horse Rescue and Advocacy | Trabuco Canyon, 949-842-7408

Rescues and rehabilitates neglected, abused and/or homeless horses, and finds them new homes. Provides a lifelong sanctuary for unadoptable horses.

Other critters

California Potbellied Pig Association | Pleasant Hill

Dedicated to the support of potbellied pigs and their companions. Offers information and public outreach as well as adoptions through their Petfinder page.

Fine Feathered Friends Foundation | El Segundo, 310-334-9062

Takes in homeless or found birds and tries to reunite them with their former owner and, if unsuccessful, finds them new forever homes.

Orange County Cavy Haven | Orange County, 714-242-7548

Rescues and rehomes abandoned guinea pigs from shelters throughout Southern California.

Reptile Rescue Mission Viejo | Mission Viejo

Rescues and rehabilitates injured and abused reptiles – from ball pythons to bearded dragons – then helps find them homes

Rabbit Rescue | Paramount, 562-862-8844

No-kill rabbit shelter staffed and run entirely by volunteers. Rescues, rehabilitates and places rabbits, and provides public education about proper rabbit care and the importance of spaying/neutering.

Wee Companions Small Animal Adoptions | San Diego, 619-934-6007

Specializes in small furry exotics including, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, mice and rabbits.

Irvine-based JustFoodForDogs wants to change the way your dog eats

Daily News - 12 ore 48 min fa

It’s true, many dogs will eat whatever you put in front of them – and a lot of dogs will also help themselves to treats from the cat’s litter box or the neighbor’s yard. They might even eat your car keys. But that doesn’t mean what they’re eating is good for them.

For serial entrepreneur Shawn Buckley of Newport Beach, an eye-opening trip to the pet store in 2009 to buy his dog a bag of kibble spawned a business idea that would change the way dogs eat.

In 2010, Buckley launched JustFoodForDogs, an Irvine-based company that works with a team of in-house veterinarians to formulate pet-friendly meals that use only fresh, whole-food ingredients that are USDA certified for human consumption. He’s also the author of “Big Kibble: The Hidden Dangers of the Pet Food Industry and How to Do Better by Our Dogs,” published in November 2020.

While you could totally eat this food during a zombie apocalypse, the meals are nutritionally balanced for animals. And if you think your dog goes bananas for pellets, just wait until you see how excited they are to eat actual food.

Full disclosure: My former partner and I fed our Newfoundland/Lab mix JustFoodForDogs to help with his allergies, arthritis and stiff joints. Before long, his skin issues disappeared, his mobility improved and despite being more than 10 years old, he began acting like a puppy again. He was so excited to eat his new food that he howled and salivated in anticipation as soon as we took it out of the fridge.

What is it that makes dogs go bonkers for JustFoodForDogs? I asked Buckley five questions about his quest to bring real food to four-legged friends everywhere.

What led you to the realization that the dog food industry was lacking in high-quality food?

Back in 2009, I was feeding my beloved dog Simon a very popular kibble brand, specifically the lamb recipe. One day when I went to Petco to get it, they were out, so I purchased the same brand but the chicken recipe instead. I found it odd that the chicken recipe was the same price as the lamb.

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Even though I don’t personally eat meat, I know that lamb is more expensive than chicken so I randomly started looking into what is in kibble that would cause or allow this. What I learned shocked me.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which is a private organization and not a government entity, allows truly awful ingredients to be included in the production of pet food. Unsurprisingly, those little pellets commonly referred to as kibble are hyper-processed, and in some cases downright dangerous.

The [giants of the pet food industry] literally own hundreds of pet food brands between them. And these are not companies that began by sitting around a table asking themselves, “How do we make the best pet food?”

These companies are able to get rid of the waste that’s a byproduct of their other products and use those “ingredients” to make pet food. The list of unseemly ingredients the AAFCO allows in the production of pet food should scare anyone. One of the acceptable ingredients is poultry feces (provided it is dehydrated to a moisture content of 15%).

Why do you think people are becoming more interested in transitioning their dogs away from “traditional dog food” to human-grade diets? Why is this happening now?

It’s multi-factorial. Over the past several years in the U.S., we have averaged about one pet food recall every six days. That is a shockingly high number when you consider how small the pet food business is in this country compared to, say, human food.

People have come to love their four-legged family members more than ever. The days of sending your dog outside to a doghouse for the night are all but forgotten, and yet we still feed them food that was invented before most (of us) were born. And just like we witnessed in the “Big Tobacco” industry, Americans are scrutinizing the “Big Kibble” industry because they want what’s best for their pets.

It’s been a long time since I have witnessed an industry so out of touch with its customers, and that’s why this is happening now.

Another trigger for “now” is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Pet Product Association, the number of households that introduced a new pet into their home during the pandemic exceeded 5 million in the U.S. Many of these people are new pet parents who went pet food shopping for the first time and found themselves asking, “Isn’t there something better?”

Lastly, but by far most importantly, pet parents who have tried fresh whole-food diets (either commercially or by making it themselves at home) have seen massive improvements in the health and vitality of their dogs and are eager to share the news with other pet parents. The movement of fresh food for pets has truly been driven by the public.

What kinds of benefits do pet parents see once they move from dry pellet food to this fresh, whole-food diet?

The changes are immediate and significant. Depending on the dog, most reports include one or more of the following: Less itching and scratching, much better weight control, less tummy upset and GI issues, much better poo, overall improvement of their health, and more energy and vitality.

Do you have anecdotes about making a believer out of a skeptic?

One of my favorites was a vet with serious concerns about such a radical change in feeding modalities. Many vets are accustomed to recommending kibble or cans because they have historically done so. She spoke out strongly against these changes in the pet food industry.

But after learning about the science behind it, including numerous peer-reviewed published research articles on our specific food in highly respected journals such as the Journal of Animal Science, Translational Animal Science and others, she started recommending it. Since that time, JustFoodForDogs has become the official food in hundreds of clinics and veterinary hospitals around the country.

How are the recipes created? Do you have a dog-food chef and a dog taste tester?

We have an in-house team of veterinarians who create recipes for daily diets, oversee quality control and even teach continuing education classes to thousands of vets nationwide on nutrition and whole-food diets. In addition, they create our line of prescription food products customized for sick pets.

Consumers really need to do their homework when researching pet food. There are many companies that post the photos and bios of vets as if they are on staff when, in reality, they are being paid for use of their image and credentials and contribute very little to the creation of their respective products. We’re a bona fide “vet-centric” company.

In addition, JustFoodForDogs is the only pet food company in the country that provides its recipes (our most valuable intellectual property) to the public for free. You do not need to buy our food since we offer the recipes so you can make it from scratch at home. Your dog doesn’t care who makes the food (neither do we), but it will make a massive improvement in the health of your dog to eat real food.

JustFoodForDogs cooks its pet food products in kitchens open to the public in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and at Petco’s flagship store in New York City’s Union Square, where pet parents can see how the food is made. The company also operates pantries and store-in-store formats within Petco and Pet Food Express locations nationwide.

Scientists debate how and if animals talk to us – even if we understand them just fine

Daily News - 12 ore 48 min fa

Move over Dr. Doolittle. After spending a year indoors with our pets, we might think we can talk with the animals better than ever before. We interpret certain barks as excitement, certain meows as anger.

But what if our pets are actually trying to talk to us?

Scroll through social media enough and you’ll come across an Instagram-famous dog named Stella. Why is she famous? Well, Stella’s owner, Christina Hunger, is a speech language pathologist and wondered whether she could teach her dog to talk. Using a few buttons with voice-recorded words on them (like the “That was easy” button that seemingly everyone bought from Staples in the 1990s), Hunger taught Stella to press them to communicate her wants and needs. When she’s hungry, she can press “eat” and when she wants to go for a walk, she can press “outside.”

Over the years, the collection of a few buttons expanded to a huge network of 48. In one of her most recent videos, Stella presses “No. Outside. Come. Outside.” to which Hunger responds, “You’re right, we haven’t been out yet.”

Watch enough of these videos and you may become entranced by Stella’s language ability, but Stella and her buttons have sparked quite a debate about whether what she’s doing actually counts as language. In the scientific community, the debate about whether and to what extent non-human animals can acquire language has been happening for decades.

Language-learning poster children

The mid-20th century sparked interest in not only conspecific communication (between members of the same species), but also in interspecific communication (between members of different species). Specifically, communication between humans and other animals. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, researchers Keith and Catherine Hayes tried to teach a chimpanzee named Viki to speak. After years of training, Viki was only able to produce four words: “mama,” “papa,” “cup” and “up.”

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Due to the difficulty chimpanzees have in producing speech sounds, further studies shifted to communicating with hand gestures. Nim Chimpsky and Koko the gorilla are two of the most famous creatures to have learned signs. After learning more than 1,000 gestures derived from American Sign Language, Koko was revered by many as “having learned ASL.” But this interpretation has been widely discredited by language experts due to the limited scope, complexity and sequence length of Koko’s signs.

In the non-primate realm, a famous parrot named Alex was studied by animal psychologist Dr. Irene Pepperberg for 30-plus years. By the end of his life, Alex knew more than 100 different vocal labels for objects, actions and colors. He could look at a group of objects and tell Pepperberg how many green objects or cubes or keys were in front of him.

One final example of an impressive word learner is a border collie named Chaser. Over a three-year period, Chaser was able to learn more than 1,000 proper-noun names of objects. Her owner, Dr. John Pilley, would introduce a new toy to Chaser by saying “This is __” and then he would hide the toy and ask her to find it. What started with just a few toys eventually grew to an impressive collection of 800 cloth animals, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees and more than 100 plastic toys.

Even though all these examples fall short of animals learning a full human language, they’re still remarkable examples of animal capacities for communication with humans. So, what about the four-legged pets living in our homes? They communicate with us all the time, right?

Reading facial expressions

Let’s start with an obvious center of communication: the face. I often take my dog’s smiles to mean she’s happy while I might interpret raised eyebrows as concern. Are dogs actually able to communicate with their faces, or am I just imagining things?

Researchers have shown that domestic horses are able to produce 17 different facial expressions, domestic cats are able to produce 15 facial expressions, and dogs can produce more than 20 facial expressions.

We humans are much better at differentiating between all of the eyebrow furrows and ear raises that dogs make than those made by other domesticated animals. Plus, dogs can recognize human facial expressions, which isn’t as well proven for cats or horses. In fact, humans are better at reading facial expressions made by dogs than we are at reading facial expressions made by our closest living relative, the chimpanzee.

Cat owners might disagree with the idea that humans and cats don’t have a special face-reading connection. Many of my cat-owning friends say that their feline pets show calm contentment by slowly blinking their eyes and sometimes closing their eyes altogether.

Recent research by Tasmin Humphrey and colleagues at University of Sussex investigated what animal scientists call the “slow blink sequence.” In the lab, the slow blink sequence is defined as a series of half-blinks followed by either a long narrowing of the eyes or fully closing their eyes.

The team observed that after seeing their owners slow blink, cats were more likely to initiate a slow blink sequence of their own! The team also compared how cats responded to unfamiliar experimenters giving either a slow blink or a neutral face to the cat participants. Cats were much more likely to approach the experimenter after seeing a slow blink. It seems that cats and humans use slow blink sequences to communicate positive, relaxed emotions to one another. Even when they’re strangers!

Sniffing emotions

That awkward rear end sniff by a dog is the canine equivalent of a handshake. Dogs are using their sense of smell, otherwise known as olfaction, to identify us and identify our emotions. This is likely due to their remarkably acute olfactory sense. In fact, their odor detection is around 10,000 times better than that of humans. It has been proven that dogs are able to identify their owners and distinguish between the scent of their owner and the scent of a stranger, even without either person in the room.

Even more surprising is that dogs use their impressive sense of smell to detect our emotional states. Although body odors seem nasty to us humans, they contain important chemical signals that convey information about how we’re feeling. Human odors communicate negative emotional states like fear and disgust, but they also have been shown to communicate positive emotional states like happiness. We as humans often sense these without even knowing it! When we receive one of these chemical signals, we automatically display a less intense version of the emotional state the other person is in.

It turns out dogs do something similar! In one experiment, retrievers sniffed human body odors from people who were either fearful or happy at the time their sweat was collected. After a whiff of happy sweat, the dogs were more likely to show “happy behaviors” like approaching and interacting with a stranger. Meanwhile, sniffing anxiety sweat made the subjects more likely to show fearful behaviors like retreating to their owner and avoiding the stranger in the room.

While dogs are naturally gifted at distinguishing between odors, they likely learn the associations between our odors and our emotions throughout their lives.

Brrrr-hm!

Given what we know about the famous noun-learning border collie named Chaser, it’s no surprise that pets can learn human words with training. Teaching our dogs to “sit” and “shake” might take some time, but eventually they figure it out. But can humans use vocal sounds to communicate with other species without training them? Surprisingly, yes!

One such human-animal connection has been developing for hundreds of thousands of years. In Mozambique, honey hunters use a distinctive call to get the attention of wild birds, called greater honeyguides, that instinctively lead them to wild bees’ nests. Once the inter-species team reaches their destination, the human subdues the beehive and takes the honey, while the honeyguide takes the beeswax.

Claire Spottiswoode, an evolutionary biologist, and two collaborators in South Africa studied this ancient connection by comparing the specialized “brrrr-hm” sound used by honey hunters with other human and animal sounds. They found that honeyguides don’t give away their beehive secrets in response to any old sound. When playing a recording of the specialized call, the researchers were significantly more likely to be led by a honeyguide to a bees’ nest.

Given how hard I have to work to teach my dog to roll over, it’s impressive that honeyguides seem to instinctively respond to the “brrr-hm” call of a human by swiftly guiding them to where they need to go. Even if the dog in your house or the bird on your patio hasn’t learned the names of 1,000 different toys, they’re still paying attention to you and communicating with you in their own way. And, even when you’re not aware of it, you’re communicating with them, too.

Nora Bradford is a PhD student in cognitive science at UC Irvine and a writer for NPR’s “Loh Down on Science.”

Science-approved reasons why having a pet is good for you

Daily News - 12 ore 48 min fa

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers, with a black-and-white pawprint, asking the age-old question, “Who rescued who?” We usually laugh them off, but what if they’re onto something?

While it’s well known that animals can offer emotional support as well as service (when properly trained), there might be more to it. Recently, researchers have been looking more and more into the health benefits that come with animal companionship. These studies have spanned across the social sciences, medicine and animal behavioral sciences.

To see what Fluffy or Fido might be doing to help you, keep reading!

Benefits of having a pet

Having any pet, regardless of type, has been shown to have health benefits. Whether the animal has fur, feathers or scales, the companionship of an animal has been shown to help with mood.

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Specifically, playing with a pet causes the release of dopamine and serotonin. These are the chemicals in the brain that are commonly associated with happiness and good moods. Additionally, physical contact with an animal, such as cuddling or petting, quickly results in feeling calmer.

Pet owners, on average, also have lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride – signals of heart disease – than those who don’t have pets.

Worried about pets and kids? Don’t be. Having a pet around can help kids learn responsibility, but it also leads to greater empathy. A pet’s presence can also decrease separation anxiety.

Am I too old for a pet? Goodness no! There are plenty of benefits of pets for older adults as well. Having a pet really helps maintain a consistent schedule, which can reduce symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression. Beyond that, companionship is a life-lengthener. Having a built-in BFF can actually make you live longer.

Furry friends

What’s the best way to keep your kids from having a pet allergy? Introduce them to cats and dogs early in life! Research shows introducing your 1-year-old to some furry friends has up to 33% effectiveness in staving off pet allergies.

Canine cures

Did you get your steps in today? If you have a dog, you’re four times more likely to meet your daily exercise goal than those without one. Extra studies also saw that having a dog was helpful for those attempting to lose weight. Why? That’s because dogs provide a different type of support than a human exercise buddy. Since dogs don’t usually have a schedule, they’re consistently available when you are, and they don’t usually make owners feel judged.

Although, before you run out and get a dog, note that some studies found that those with large dogs tended to exercise more, but smaller dogs didn’t inspire the same effect.

Also, while you’re getting out and about, you’re likely to meet more people. Having a dog can make it easier to start and keep up new friendships. Social relationships between humans are often formed at dog parks, training classes and during walks.

Feline facts

Fluffy always seems convinced that purring near you is healing you. But is it true? Maybe! Cats purr at a frequency of 26 Hz, the same frequency used by doctors for tissue regeneration. This means that the vibrations from purring can help heal wounds and relieve pain. Cat owners are also 40% less likely to have a heart attack.

Fishy friends

Want the health benefits of having a pet without the trouble of constant care and potential allergens? Having a fully stocked aquarium in your house could be a great, hassle-free alternative.

Taking a step back and watching fish “just keep swimming” has been shown to help your heart. Fish observation (at home or at an aquarium) has been shown to help lower blood pressure as well as lower your heart rate by five to six beats per minute.

Have you ever wondered why you tend to see fish tanks at dentist offices? It turns out that the mesmerizing movement has been shown to lower anxiety. So, if you’re worried about the dentist finding a cavity, just know that those swimmers are there to calm you down.

Using the knowledge that having aquariums could help those in very stressful situations, researchers decided to see if they also could help Alzheimer’s patients. The studies found that having fish tanks around had some very positive results. Patients were eating about 20% more and appeared to be more alert and relaxed. The tanks even held the patients’ attention for around 30 minutes.

Winging it

Bird or a plant – which do you think is more beneficial? Sorry plant parents, but one study that asked this question found that while plants didn’t really make much of a difference in the lives of older adults, birds did. Having a bird as a pet improved the quality of life for the subjects.

So, if you’re thinking about getting a pet, consider these as some items for the “pro” category.

Are you stressing out your dog?

Daily News - 12 ore 48 min fa

When humans make friends, we look for qualities such as loyalty, companionship and compassion. But what about man’s best friend? Since ancient times, humans domesticated mutts to hunt, herd and retrieve. These four-legged friends also make great companions. But how deeply do our furry friends empathize with us?

A research team at Linköping University in Sweden wanted to investigate owner-dog relationships related to stress. They knew that individuals of the same species can mimic each other’s stress. For example, children will feel stress if their mom is stressed out.

But Ann-Sofe Sundman wanted to determine if the same was true of a multi-species relationship.

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In other words: Do fur babies feel it when their dog parents are stressed?

To study this, Sundman examined more than 50 herding dogs (border collies, German Shepherds, shelties) and their owners. Owners and their dogs provided two hair samples, a few months apart. The hair samples allowed the team to measure stress over time based on levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that ends up in our hair and stays there! Additionally, dog owners completed two personality surveys, one about themselves and one about their pets.

Sundman found that long-term stress levels of herding dogs are strongly correlated with the stress of their owners. This research concluded that man’s best friend can commiserate with his owner’s stress.

But what about dogs who are bred for more independence than the cooperative herding breeds?

Using other dog breeds, Amanda Höglin led a study to determine if the level of cooperation of our four-legged friends affects canine stress imitation. The team studied more than 40 dogs from two breed categories. Hunting dogs, such as Swedish Elkhounds and Dachshunds, were bred to hunt independently from their owners. Ancient breeds, including Huskies and Shiba Inus, are more like their wild wolf cousins.

Like the previous study, this experiment also collected hair samples and personality surveys. Höglin found that hunting dogs were more affected by owner/dog relationships than ancient breeds.

For example, hunting dogs with more agreeable owners were less stressed, but personality didn’t affect stress much in ancient breeds. Unlike herding dogs though, long-term stress levels in both hunting and ancient dog breeds did not correlate with owner stress.This shows that while owner personality can affect stress levels in many kinds of dogs, something about cooperative breeds lets them actually synchronize their stress with us too.

Now if only Fido would relax during his weekly bubble bath.

Meet the neighborhood vet who keeps beloved horses healthy

Daily News - 12 ore 48 min fa

Kirk Pollard, DVM, pulls up to a gray barn on an already hot Saturday morning. As he walks into the barn aisle, a shaggy white Percheron gelding sticks his head over the stall door, reaching to greet his familiar visitor. In a dulcet voice known to soothe equines and humans alike, the veterinarian greets his longtime patient. He runs a gentle and knowing hand along the draft horse’s speckled side, and the horse nuzzles him in return.

Pollard, aka Dr. P, is the James Herriot of the equestrian community Orange Park Acres in Orange County – and beyond. Like the much-loved veterinarian-author of “All Creatures Great and Small,” his daily rounds run the gamut from drama to comedy, and sometimes, inevitably, to tragedy. Pollard and his business partner, Dr. David Treser, have run Equine Veterinary Associates, Inc. for almost 40 years. It is one of the most highly regarded equine practices in Southern California.

“What makes Kirk stand out in the industry is his unwavering dedication to maintain a practice culture that sets the standard in the field of equine veterinary medicine,” says Treser. “He attends multiple veterinary conferences a year to stay on the leading edge of new developments in equine medicine and surgery, and continues to polish his skills, knowledge and expertise. Kirk works for some of the most well-known and established clients and stables in the Orange County area, and he also enjoys the ‘companion animal’ side of equine veterinary medicine where horses are loved and cherished family members.”

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Being a large animal vet is a physically and mentally demanding profession. There’s a classic scene in Herriot’s well-known memoir where he was shoulder-deep in a cow, trying to save an unborn calf – in Pollard’s practice, it would be rescuing a horse with severe colic from an untimely demise. And in any veterinarian’s work, there are times they have had to make the wrenching decision that an animal can’t be saved.

It makes you wonder what keeps Pollard, and horse vets everywhere, going.

“You’ve got to care about the animals,” says the vet, sitting in a hot and dusty tack room on a recent working weekend. “There’s a love of working with animals that you always feel close to. In the end, it comes down to really enjoying working with them. Even the ones that don’t want you, you realize that somebody has to help them.”

**

My husband, Terry Dowdall, and I moved to Orange Park Acres last February, along with our two horses, Amore and Emma Golda, both drafts – the large, heavy horses traditionally used in farm work but also ridden under saddle. Pollard had been our vet for many years, but the relocation made him our neighbor as well.

The recent PBS adaptation of “All Creatures Great and Small” was the first TV show that Terry and I watched in our new home. It prompted us both to reflect upon the commitment, scientific acumen, profound humanity and sheer grit demanded of veterinarians. And it reminded us of Dr. P.

Our own senior gelding, Amore – that’s him in the opening paragraph of this article – wouldn’t be alive today were it not for Dr. Pollard. Amore had been abandoned in poor health, with several chronic conditions undiagnosed. While Dr. Pollard soon had him on track and enjoying a good quality of life, one ailment proved particularly difficult to treat.

Writer Jan Breslauer with her draft horse, Amore, at her barn in Orange Park Acres. (Photo by Samantha Dunn)

Pollard persisted in testing, applying the latest scientific developments, and shifting strategies as needed, until Amore was comfortable and his condition was under control. Sometimes, he would drop by just to visit Amore and, as he would say, “administer carrots.” No wonder that big white horse loves him.

We are certainly not the only ones with such a tale to tell. Pollard has tended to the showbiz steeds and the humble alike: from the Disney drafts and the horses of Medieval Times, to the backyard pets of hither and yon in Orange and Riverside counties.

The people in Orange Park Acres, a nearly 100-year-old equestrian community in central Orange County, may seem far from the crusty farm folk of Herriot’s Yorkshire. Yet they love their animals no less passionately. Moreover, their dedication to a life with animals is evinced by the great lengths they go to pursue a more rural lifestyle amid sprawling suburbia.

“Kirk Pollard is one of the most dear and caring people I know,” says Sherry Hart-Panttaja, owner of Hoofprints Equestrian Program, a training and lesson facility, and president of the Orange Park Association. “He is the vet I use because he understands the costs involved with horses and the business of promoting and educating the public. He does everything possible for my horses and I to all stay healthy.”

The good doctor grew up in these parts. Raised in Southern California, he attended Cal Poly Pomona and UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine, which is the top vet school in the West and one of the best anywhere. Back in the day, Pollard recalls, “You could ride from Long Beach all the way to Whittier narrows. My family had horses and I just naturally fell into the groove.”

The only other profession Pollard ever considered was medicine for humans. “But in the end, I chose veterinary school because of my background and experience with horses and the love of the science, regardless of if it was human or animal.”

Decades of practice have given him perspective.

“What we always tell our new veterinarians, and especially kids who want to be horse veterinarians, is that it’s not 8 to 5,” explains Pollard. “And it’s not four or five days a week. It’s almost seven days a week. Look, this is not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle. You can’t separate the two. And if you’re not prepared for that, then this is not the right thing to do. You live, breathe and sleep it.”

Veterinarians need to have good bedside manner and be able to handle humans in situations that are often emotionally fraught. In this regard, large animal vets are no different from small animal vets.

“We always tell pre-veterinary students that this profession is not about working with animals/horses versus people,” says Pollard. “It has everything to do with people who happen to own horses. The horses don’t call you out, the owners do. And you have to be available!

“Working with the horses is the perk. You have to love the science of medicine and then you have the privilege to apply this knowledge to these amazing animals and be able to work outside. Well, if you can’t appreciate that, it is impossible to describe how lucky I am.”

Pollard seems to be as concerned about the people as the horses. “He is always so worried about all of us going through tragedies and illnesses with our horses,” says Hart-Panttaja. “A vet’s life is so thankless and difficult.”

**

Pollard has witnessed a shift in the field. “The profession has really taken a turn,” he explains. “What was once a male-dominated profession, is now female-dominated. When I got in, we had, probably out of 100, maybe 20 women. And now, it’s just the opposite; there are very few men. In fact, all our associate veterinarians, interns and staff are women.”

The other trend in equine veterinary practice is the increase in available technology.

“Technology and just the overall quality of care and what we can do – like digital radiography, portable ultrasound, shockwave therapy, gastroscopes, laser therapy. Orthopedic therapy has increased significantly too.

“The new vets come out and they’re enthralled with the technology,” he continues. “And it is exciting. But you can’t get away from the blood and guts. You still have to get inside [the cow, à la Herriot] and do those kinds of things.”

Rather than euthanize certain horses, Pollard has been known to take home terminal horses whose owners could no longer care for them. He usually has several such hospice horses at home.

“As his neighbor, I see him constantly working and helping others, no matter how much it takes away from his own personal life,” says Hart-Panttaja. “These horses he rescues and cares for until they need a safe transition over the rainbow.”

Yet, you can ask him, “What’s the best part of the job?” and he is quick to answer.

“Horses,” says Pollard, without missing a beat. “Being around them. Getting to know them. They all have different personalities, just like people. And not only the horses, but the science as well. The science is important because that is what constantly evolves and keeps the profession new and improves the quality of care you can apply.”

Without hesitation, he is equally quick to add: “The worst part is the traffic.” That “worst part” has serious ramifications for attracting veterinary talent to the region.

“The quality of care in our immediate area is very high,” he explains. “It does attract new vets to come to the area, but then comes the reality of sitting in traffic. It eats at some people. And even though they want to practice here, it just overwhelms them. It’s a special kind of tension because it’s an injured animal that you’re trying to get to, and you don’t have any special kind of emergency clearance. Traffic is by far the biggest problem.”

Along with doctors and dentists, veterinarians have among the highest rates of suicide.

“Yes, it’s really gone up in veterinary fields,” Pollard acknowledges. “You get very compassionate people who do the job. And there’s an underbelly to our job that’s not always easy. Animals die, and sometimes tragically. And you are the ultimate one who handles that.”

The tremendous stresses are compensated, at least in part, by the satisfaction of being able to help.

“Once you’re around the animal, and you see that it has a need, and you have the ability to stop that suffering or to help, the satisfaction that you get when you drive away is what keeps you going to the next one,” says Pollard. “But you have to be aware that the next one’s coming. Maybe you can fix that one, and then you get back in your vehicle, and then there’s three more waiting now. You’re never caught up.”

In the end, the life of an equine veterinarian is not an easy one.

“Family events became a private joke,” says Pollard. “The joke/bet was, will he show and then there was the over/under bet as to how long I would be able to stay. Emergency colics, lacerations, illnesses and mares foaling cannot be planned for … unless of course you try to make personal plans. It’s like that saying, ‘If you want to make God laugh, make plans.’

“I always drive separately in my work truck to any personal function because anyone that rides with me knows the reality of the uncertainty of the profession,” he continues. “I had a foal named after me, called SuitNtie, because that is how I came to deliver it that night. The mare was trying to deliver, and I was not the on-call doctor for the practice that night, but the foal’s head was directed down in the birth canal as it was being pushed out. Sometimes minutes matter and you don’t ask a lot of questions when you get calls like that. ‘Doc, I see two feet but no head.’ You just stop what you’re doing and go. I cannot count the number of uneaten dinners I’ve purchased over the years.”

But for Kirk Pollard, DVM, it is a calling.

“If you like what you do, you aren’t aware of time,” he says. “There’s a certain peace. And then you wake up one day and look in the mirror and you wonder why your dad is standing there staring back at you! It goes by in a blink.”

A hawk teaches a Banning falconer what matters in uncertain times

Daily News - 12 ore 49 min fa

I did not want to bring a red-tailed hawk home, and I certainly did not want to nurse one back to health.

It was April 17, 2020, and we were two weeks into the statewide shutdown. I wanted to respond to my friend’s text that I could do nothing to help, but we had just discovered that getting a hawk appropriate care was a longshot. Wildlife rehabilitators were unsure if allowing the public to drop off injured animals would bring COVID-19 into their facilities. No one was comfortable with strangers arriving bearing gifts, feathered or otherwise.

I examined the two photos my friend had snapped and wondered why the red-tailed hawk could not fly. It was in juvenile plumage, but not a fledgling. This bird had been hatched in 2019; I could tell by its dark eyes and battered bleached feathers.

This hawk had weathered its first year in the wild, beating the odds only to finally make one decision bad enough to likely end its life. It had chosen to hunt in the nesting territory of a pair of its kin. If they could not drive the interloper out, they were going to kill it. It looked like they had already made a strong effort.

I have been a falconer for 25 years, had volunteered at raptor rehabilitation centers, and had worked with birds in free flight shows for a decade. I do not have a rehabilitation license and do not often take broken birds into my home. There are professionals for that. All the same, the pandemic had me feeling helpless. There was little I could do to help humanity defeat a virus, but I could at least to try to save one hawk.

Falconry beginnings

I discovered I wanted to be a falconer when I was 8 years old. My grandfather pointed out a peregrine falcon perched on the television antennae on our roof. I had never seen a peregrine anywhere but in books. The pesticide DDT had decimated the population and they were uncommon at the time. This one was particularly uncommon.

More ‘Pets’

The peregrine was wearing bells and anklets, the equipment of a falconry bird. So, my grandfather spun a tale of falconry in Southern California. He had just read “The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage,” and the descriptions of local falconry in the book were fresh in his mind. He did not tell me about falconer Chris Boyce’s exploits selling secrets to the Soviet Union or how he had been captured near Riverside.

Instead, he explained how you could win the trust of a falcon, set her free, and join her in a wild hunt. I watched the peregrine for an hour wishing I had a glove and could call her down to my fist. This bird had a falconer and I wanted to grow up to be one.

To become a falconer in California, you have to be licensed. This requires taking a test, building facilities that must be approved by a CDFW warden, apprenticing under a general or master falconer for two years, and paying for an annual falconry license and hunting license.

I started working on getting my falconry license when I turned 18, but it was no small feat to find a sponsor for my apprenticeship. Falconers tended to keep to themselves, books on falconry were hard to find and there were very few women involved. The Internet has improved the accessibility and demographics of the art, but with its rich history dating back thousands of years, there is much that has remained the same.

In particular, that dogged determination to bridge the distance between our human mind and a raptor’s wild thoughts persists at its core.

An apprentice falconer may only work with a juvenile red-tailed hawk or kestrel their first two years. My first falconry bird was a red-tailed hawk trapped in Ontario, CA. In the early 1990s, the city of Ontario was still mostly Delhi sand dune habitat, sprinkled with abandoned vineyards. Before it was overtaken by miles of warehouses, the sandy landscape was a playground for jackrabbits and Western cottontails. So, it was also a bastion for the red-tailed hawks and golden eagles that hunted there.

I named my red-tailed hawk Sadie, and for the two years until I released her back into the wild, we roamed all the wild open spaces available to us in the Inland Empire. During the hunting season, which runs from October to April, I spent most of my free time alone with a hawk in the field. I discovered in those first years what mattered most to me.

I feel connected and part of a greater natural world when I wander with a hawk. I feel deeply grateful to be healthy and alive when I witness the gauntlet wildlife runs daily to survive. When I am trusted by a raptor and nature invites me to not just view, but be an element of landscape, I know how lucky I am to walk this incredible planet.

Saving Sawyer

I grabbed a glove, tied a bandana around my neck to use as a mask and then drove two miles up the road and into the chaparral to pick up the flightless hawk. He was in my friend’s yard on the ground, the two adult red-tailed hawks still above him in the pines, screaming out their familiar territorial cry. He spread his wings to their full 4-foot span and raised his hackles, mouth open in defiance, but he did not fly or even run.

I scooped him up, securing his legs and then palpated his wings. I could not find any breaks in the fragile bones. I saw no wounds. Yet, when I felt his breast muscle, his keel bone was painfully thin. His feathers were so bleached he was almost white, and many had been gnawed by lice down to nothing but a quill. My best guess was that he had a concussion. I figured I could at least treat him for parasites, get some quail and mice into him and evaluate from there.

Older hawks do not tend to settle easily into a comfortable partnership with people. So, falconers trap juvenile raptors early in their migration. Young hawks settle into a relationship with ease and return to the wild just as easily.

I’ve heard it estimated that 80% of raptors do not survive their first year. So, perhaps they just appreciate the human assist that makes their hunting more successful. Having veterinary care, consistent food and a person to run interference from coyotes and larger raptors gives them an even better chance at survival. This hawk knew an entire year on its own. I was not sure he was going to tolerate being suddenly immersed in the human world.

I had no place to put him but on a perch in the hallway of my house. I envisioned a terrified hawk and a disastrous attempt at rehabilitation. Yet, within a day he gobbled down the rich food I offered. A few days later he was stepping up onto the glove. A few days after that, I was sitting on the toilet when I turned to see a hawk at the end of his leash peeking through the doorway. He was wearing an expression of curiosity and a dash of hopefulness that I might have a mouse hidden somewhere.

  • Falconer Rebecca O’Connor with a rescued red-tailed hawk at her home in Banning on Monday, June 21, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Sawyer, the red-tailed hawk saved by Rebecca K. O’Connor, investigates her refrigerator as a fledging. (Photo by Rebecca K. O’Connor)

  • Professional falconer Rebecca K. O’Connor successfully raised Sawyer, now a full-grown adult red-tailed hawk. (Photo by Rebecca K. Connor)

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I did not want to bring a red-tailed hawk home, but I added him to my license and named him Sawyer. After all, Tom Sawyer had convinced his friends that whitewash was all the rage, and he was quite fond of a girl named Becky.

It took months for Sawyer to completely recover from his concussion and act like a regal red tail. Then I watched as he dropped his ratty juvenile feathers one by one, transforming into a stunning hawk with the brick red tail for which his species is named. I observed his sheltered metamorphosis while the world seemed like it was burning and wondered if I had the ability to change into something wonderful as well. Maybe I do. I really don’t know.

What I do know is that the peregrine came off the federal endangered species list in 1999 because biologists and citizen scientists brought the population back from the brink. I know that Rivers & Lands Conservancy, where I work, holds much of what remains of the Delhi Sand Dunes and it is now protected in perpetuity. I know that October is coming and when it does, Sawyer and I will be out in the field alone and a part of nature.

I may not have wanted him, but once again, a red-tailed hawk is going to remind me what matters most.

Based in Banning, CA, Rebecca K. O’Connor is the author of numerous books, including the novel “We Were Wilder” and the essay collection “Far From Fearless.”

Why you should consider buying a purebred puppy

Daily News - 12 ore 49 min fa

My Bumblebee is a pure joy. She’s 12 pounds of happy Tibetan spaniel who loves giving kisses, bouncing around me when I get home, and going on joy rides to play nose work, the sport we both love.

She’s also the first purebred dog I’ve owned since I started adopting dogs 40 years ago. I know she is because, unlike my other dogs, she didn’t come from a shelter, rescue or the back yard of someone who didn’t want their dog. She wasn’t rescued.

I bought her. I paid $800 to a breeder in Oregon and considered that a fair price for knowing the dog I got.

Why would someone who has been rescuing dogs for 30 years buy a dog from a breeder? Why would anyone buy a dog from a breeder?

Ignoring the dog fancy – the people who breed dogs to hopefully promote healthy, solid specimens of the breed and jog around show rings with them seeking championships that bring bragging rights about their dogs’ soundness – the main reason to get a purebred dog is because you know what kind of dog you want.

Purebreds come with all sorts of benefits, the easiest of which to explain is that they look like what they are. A golden retriever looks like a golden retriever, a poodle like a poodle. That golden should be friendly, easygoing and eager to please. The poodle will be intelligent, have tightly curled hair and be a great swimmer. (Bonus: She will be less likely to bother someone who’s allergic to dog dander and saliva)

More ‘Pets’

The internet is full of information about different breeds and what they innately do. Labrador retrievers want to play; sighthounds, such as salukis and greyhounds, enjoy running; border collies like to herd, and Maltese will sit on laps. These are, of course, generalizations, but purebreds were created to perform certain jobs or functions, and good examples of the breed carry an instinctive drive to perform them.

So, if you want a lazy dog who will be your favorite streaming buddy, don’t get a high-energy, high-drive Belgian Malinois that needs to have a job and do it often. If you want a running buddy, steer clear of English bulldogs and other snub-nosed breeds with body structures that make them ill-suited for heavy exercise. Knowing what a breed is meant to do can help you decide which breed is right for you.

Of course, purebred dogs are available from rescues and shelters. Many end up there, and they need homes. But if, like me, you want a dog you can raise and shape from puppyhood, a breeder may be your only option. Puppy Tibetan spaniels simply don’t end up in shelters. Adults? Oh, yes. But I’ve never seen a puppy at one.

If you’re a first-time wannabe dog owner, a reputable breeder may be your best dog source. Once you’ve researched the breed you want, a good breeder can help you decide if that dog will fit your lifestyle.

The keyword here is “good.” Because dog breeders are a dime a dozen. Solid, reputable breeders aren’t.

Differences between good and bad breeders

Your No. 1 job, if you’ve decided you must have a certain breed of dog, is to find a reputable breeder who does right by his dogs. Have a conversation before you see any cute puppies and fall in love. That makes it easier if the breeder doesn’t:

*Require you to fill out an application. Good breeders want information about the people purchasing their puppies. You should be asked to provide references from friends, trainers, veterinarians or others expected to have some knowledge of your life and experience with dogs. Bumblebee’s breeder called all four of my references and asked how I raised my dogs and – very important to her – how I handled having big and small dogs, because Tibbies are only about 12 pounds, and I had an Australian shepherd and a chow mix at the time. Good breeders care about their puppies and want to ensure they end up in good homes.

*Require a contract. The contract generally will stipulate the amount you are paying, that you understand specific behavioral and health issues of the breed and will deal with those that may arise, that you are getting the dog as a pet and will provide proof of spay or neuter within a certain period, among other things. Good breeders don’t want the dogs they sell as pets to reproduce; that wouldn’t be working to maintain the integrity of the breed. And they don’t want unwanted animals brought into the world.

*Provide written proof of vaccinations and health care. Good breeders do not make a lot of money, if any, on their pups. Prenatal care for the mother and early age medical care – including health checks, first and maybe second vaccinations, worming treatments and any other care necessary – for the puppies isn’t cheap. Ask for copies of the records. Make sure the vet on the documents is real.

*Socialize the pups to people and other dogs. Sure, puppies play with their littermates, but they also should meet healthy dogs they don’t know and learn that they are OK. And they should be exposed to handling by as many different types of people as possible. Good breeders understand that early socialization is critical to well-developed dogs.

*Allow you to meet the mother, and the father if possible. Breeders often inseminate their females or use a male owned by another breeder to widen the gene pool, which results in healthier, sounder dogs, so the male may not live on the premises. But the mother absolutely should. If you aren’t allowed to see the mother, or if the breeder wants to meet in a parking lot to “make it easier for you” (or whatever reason), run. Fast. When you visit the breeder’s home, mom and pups should be healthy. Mom should have the type of temperament you’d like your pup to have.

*Agree to take the dog back if things don’t work out. Don’t be shy about asking about this; settle for nothing less than a solid “Yes.” Things sometimes don’t work out, and while this isn’t what you should want or expect, a reputable breeder cares enough about his dogs to take them back.

*Specialize in one, maybe two breeds. Good breeders limit the number of breeds they handle. Often those breeds are related – both are hunting breeds, for example. This allows them to focus on matching dogs with health, genetics and temperaments that are the most likely to result in healthy, happy, good-tempered pups. Too many breeds likely means it’s a puppy mill where dogs are churned out with the bottom line being money, not concern for the dogs.

*Belong to his breed’s club. Good breeders share information with one another, know which dogs have what issues (if any), and what lines create solid puppies. Breed clubs are a great place to find good breeders, because before joining, the breeders have to sign a code of ethics and show that they breed healthy dogs.

You don’t have to do all of this. You can find purebred (or allegedly purebred) puppies nearly anywhere. But if the breeder isn’t willing or interested in meeting the above criteria, you could be in for a world of hurt. Your pup could be sick, have physical abnormalities like poorly formed bones, or other issues that could cost you, monetarily and emotionally, shortly after you bring him home.

Ultimately, the responsibility is yours. Do your homework. Find a breeder who truly cares about her dogs. When you do, you’re likely to end up with a little honey like my Bee.

Maryanne Dell, who has been rescuing dogs and finding homes for them since 1991, is the former pets columnist at The Orange County Register. Email ocrpotw@gmail.com.