Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dogs’ Night Out

As a pet lover, I’m always looking for fun things to do that involve animals. That was why, when my husband Fred showed me an article in a neighborhood newspaper about an upcoming event called Pawsapalooza, we had to go--especially because it was to be a celebration of all things canine. Plus, it was to benefit a worthwhile-sounding organization I’d never heard of before, called Pets Are Wonderful Support/Los Angeles (PAWS/LA). People were invited to come and bring their dogs, which meant that Lexie was invited, too.

The event was held last Saturday evening in an area of L.A.’s Griffith Park, across from the Los Angeles Zoo and right beside the Autry National Center. (Yes, the Gene Autry museum of the Old West.) I hadn’t really paid much attention to the area beside the museum before, but there was a large lawn right behind the parking lot.

We could tell we were at the right place when we pulled into the busy parking lot and saw the canvas covers over rows of booths of supporters who were selling pet-related items. Plus, there was the huge screen where a number of independent films that starred dogs were to be shown after sundown.

Admission was charged--people only. Dogs were admitted free. And the money went toward supporting the organization.

Dogs in attendance were of all sizes, from yappy puppies and teeny dogs who rode in their owners’ purses and pockets, to those as huge as a St. Bernard. Our tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lexie wasn’t even the only Cavalier. Another attended--one of the Blenheim, or red and white, coloration. There was a demonstration in the background of some well-trained dogs who ran relay races. The rest of the canines seemed to be there to partake of a good time, sniffing each other out and sometimes barking their greetings.

The booths included dog food sample giveaways and sales, window decals to inform rescue workers about animals inside homes, promotions of other upcoming animal events, introduction of pooper scooper services, and a drawing for prizes to benefit PAWS/LA. I hadn’t thought about it in advance but fortunately had some of my own books in my car, so I was able to donate one of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries plus another prior release that seemed highly pertinent to the occasion: my time-travel romance ONCE A CAVALIER which stars--what else?--Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

I learned that PAWS/LA was founded to help seniors and the disabled who need animal companionship but may be unable to secure or keep that kind of support on their own. The PAWS/LA website says that their mission is “preserving the healing bond between disenfranchised individuals and their companion animals; enriching their overall quality of life; and sustaining their independent living.” One of the delightful people I met at Pawsapalooza was the PAWS/LA founder. You can find out more about them at

Eventually, evening fell, introductions of important attendees were given over the loudspeakers, and finally the films were shown--none long, and most cute. A worthwhile evening? Absolutely. Just ask Lexie!



Monica Ferris said...

What can I say but Awwwwwwww! Also, wish I could have been there, it sounds like it really was fun. Oh, and also it sounds like a great place to set a murder . . .

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hey, Monica, I like that idea! Maybe I can work it into an upcoming Kendra mystery.