FOLBA Pet Appreciation Fair and WALK: Commune with Your Utmost Beast

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Walk for the Animals Long Beach

Walking or watching are both fun at the annual pet fair and fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Kate Karp

“If we could walk with the animals, talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,” sang Rex Harrison’s Dr. Doolittle in the film of the same name. Anyone who’s ever loved a pet knows full well that they talk if you know how to listen, and all attendees of the Friends of Long Beach Animals (FOLBA) Pet Appreciation Fair and WALK for the Animals that takes place Oct. 8 in El Dorado Regional Park will have a chance to walk with them, too. 

To the tunes and beat of Long Beach’s own Blue Steel Band and MC Dale Worsham’s critter patter, humans and their pets (mostly dogs, with the occasional parrot and reptile—cats prefer to watch it online) will enjoy “fair food,” cruise the vendors, learn about their wild marine counterparts from the Aquarium of the Pacific mobile unit, and spectate the canine counterparts of Little League and the Olympics: the hurdle-braving agility and Flyball demonstrations of the Muttley Crew and the saucer-slinging skills of the Disc Dogs. Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) will offer low-cost vaccines and microchips for pets’ health and safety, and the Long Beach Fire Department will demonstrate pet resuscitation techniques that have rescued area dogs and cats from death by smoke inhalation. There will be lots of topics to chew on and, it is hoped, no bones of contention.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend the day with your pets, having fun and letting them shop and you shop, too,” said pet communicator Terri Steuben, who really can talk to the animals. “If they stop by my booth, we can relay the messages they want to tell you.”

Human children can have their faces painted and wear themselves out on the Moonbounce. Caricature artists and clowns will be there for the self-confident and the fearless. Can you fashion an outfit for your pet and maybe a matching one for yourself? Can you teach residents of your ant farm to line up information? Do you know of an animal other than a bulldog that can ride a skateboard? Enter the pet costume and trick contests, with Press-Telegram columnist Tim Grobaty sharing judging responsibilities.

“I hope to see lots of families coming out to enjoy a day in the park with their children and pets,” said Dawn Weller, the event’s lead organizer. “The event offers fun and a full day of entertainment for walkers, nonwalkers and pets of all ages.”

This is the 11th WALK for FOLBA. It started in 2000, with all funds raised going toward the all-volunteer organization’s mission of promoting the humane treatment of animals through public education and support of legislation that makes animal abuse and neglect serious crimes. The WALKs also support SNIP (Spay/Neuter Incentive Program) created to diminish pet overpopulation by reaching out to low-income residents of Long Beach and providing low-cost options for spay/neuter.

“Friends of Long Beach Animals has been helping our animal friends at the shelter and in the community for over 20 years now,” said past FOLBA president Shirley Vaughan. “We can’t do it without the support of our members and friends that attend our events. We ask for your support again this year.”

This year’s 2K/5K WALK registration starts at 9 a.m. WALKers may participate as individuals or team members. Fees are $25 ($30 on the day of the event), and each entrant will receive a swag bag containing a raffle ticket, a commemorative T-shirt and an assortment of goodies. The WALK itself begins at 10 a.m. and continues through acres of picturesque parkland over a dedicated concrete walking path. The route is suitable for humans and dogs of all ages and abilities and is also an enjoyable warm-up for Run Long Beach the following day.

There are some impressive prizes to win. The top individual adult fund-raiser awards include a six-month membership to the Belmont Athletic Club; a two-and-a-half-hour session with Sunset Flying, with you piloting the plane—eeyah; and a $150 gift certificate for the elegant Madison restaurant on Pine Avenue. The top junior fund-raisers will receive four Disneyland tickets or four Knott’s Berry Farm tickets. Team prizes include a harbor cruise on a private cabin cruiser and a bowling party with pizza and soda for the junior team.

Ultimately, it’s location location location. The park is steps away from Animal Care Services, where there are countless dumped, unwanted and abandoned pets that would really love to have someone rescue them and talk to them forever.

“They sit there every day and wait for the right one to come and take them home,” Steuben said. “Whenever I go to the shelter, I always tell the pets to look at the people through their mind’s eye and see which one you want to go home with. If they come to you, they’re yours.”

For more information, visit

WALK for the Animals logos

The 2011 WALK for the Animals is presented by The Friends of Long Beach Animals, Long Beach Parks and Recreation and Long Beach Animal Care Services.

About Kate Karp
I used to teach school until I found that I could instead be paid by the hour for correcting errors on paper and occasionally on the whiteboards of the other teachers. I now happily sit on my can all day, proofreading and otherwise editing copy and taking the occasional walk or yoga class. Sometimes I write stuff and share writing credits with animal advocate Judy Crumpton for Long Beach Post's Pet Post. Reading, animals and trying to earn my breathing space on the planet are my interests.

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