Spring into Action for Animals Needing Your Help

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9 mins read
Close up of a beagle dog laying on a floor indoors

The vernal equinox occurred Tuesday, March 19th, ushering in the first official day of spring. Still, there was plenty o’ the wearin’ o’ the vernal green as we prowled Sunday’s Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival on St. Patrick’s Day.

And lest there be any Wisteria Hysteria, Local News Pasadena’s intrepid Associate Publisher (and former Pennsylvania resident) has brought to our attention that the“Wistaria” spelling is, in fact, most correct, referencing Philadelphia physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar.

You meet the nicest people roaming the streets of Sierra Madre. Amidst the gleam of cherried-out vintage autos on display, locals swarmed the food trucks (Cousin’s Maine Lobster especially) and paraded their dogs decked out in every shade of shamrock.

Stylin’ Sandra Ayach soaked up some sunbeams with her tastefully green-tinted standard poodles Ginger (as in ale) and Jaeger (as in Jaegermeister) while her husband Jim, owner of Jim’s Auto Tech on Foothill in Tujunga, captivated a crowd of gear-heads with his restored 1968 Ford Mustang GT HP 427 in classic Highlander Green.

Jim Ayach describes the glossy emerald fastback, the model featured as Steve McQueen’s ride in “Bullitt” (1968), as “…a nod of appreciation to one of the best car-chase scenes of all time.”

  • Diagram
  • A car parked on the side of the road
  • A car engine
  • A car parked in a parking lot
  • A close up of a street
  • A large orange truck parked in front of a building
  • A car parked on the side of a road
  • A car parked on the side of the road

Right in the middle of the action was wildlife rescuer Cleo Watts and the Cleo’s Critter Care team, passing out clover-shaped, green-sprinkled sugar cookies and sharing good vibes. The main attraction: a “drey,” or squirrel’s nest, which looks so cozy you’ll want to miniaturize yourself a la Raquel Welch in “Fantastic Voyage,” hop right in and curl up.

And Cleo’s our area’s resident expert on all things squirrel (skunk, possum, raccoon, bunny, mouse and more). Last week’s violent winds blew so many dreys to smithereens, and as we go to press, Cleo is now caring for about 50 displaced baby squirrels.

Her nonprofit was honored last Friday night by a fundraiser, silent auction and celebration organized and hosted by JoAnna Schilling at the Huntington Library in San Marino. Elegant floral arrangements were donated by Forest Lawn. Fans of Cleo’s drove in from as far away as Long Beach (looking at you, Sue and Sandy) and grooved to the mellow song stylings of the David Eastlee Trio. Special thanks to Shannai Romero @PinkDreams.Studio for photographing the event.

During her keynote address, wildlife vet technician Kim Bachar explained how recent changes in the laws enforced by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife are forcing rehabbers to desert their practices in exasperation. The reason it’s happening: the Department is restructuring its minimum standards and mandates with zoos in mind, as opposed to rehabbers doing wildlife rescue.

She said, “In a permanent zoo setting, animals need enrichment. But when we rescue a wild animal, our goal is different. We work very hard to get the animal healed and well, and then, if possible, release it back into the wild as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The increased difficulty of meeting these new restrictions places enormous pressure on Cleo, Kim (who’s “trying to retire”— ha!) and the few others with current wildlife training and licensing in our area. Footage of a hawk, shot twice with a pellet gun, rescued by Cleo in October 2023 and rehabbed by Kim, flying from its carrier after a carefully monitored recovery, brought tears and applause. And donations. Visit the site to learn how you can help, including through an Amazon wishlist.

Meet tha DUKE

Duke, a big, beautiful male Husky puppy, was rescued from Skid Row, where he was chained up and starving. Now, he’s ready for a foster or forever fam.

He’s currently safe and healthy at a boarding facility in Tarzana and, if nothing else, needs company for walks and hikes while his fans search for a deserving human and home. If you’re out in the Valley, he’s available for walks between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM — contact Ronnie at 310-804-1555 for more details, including adoption deets.

Ronnie says that Duke is not aggressive and always wags his tail when passing other dogs: “He pulls a little on the leash for the first five minutes as he is so excited to get out, but after that, he’s actually very easy to walk.”

Meet Jack and Juno

Neighbor Michael P. discovered this PURR-FECT pair on his doorstep eight months ago. The male tabby (Jack) was skin and bones. The lovely Calico (Juno) was hugely pregnant. Today, both DSH cats are healthy, fixed, chipped, vaxxed and litter-trained. They belong together. Juno is shy with people and very much bonded to her striped companion.

To meet Jack and Juno, visit https://www.adoptapet.com/pet/40904633-pasadena-california-cat

Or contact:
Christina 323-630-1367 or
Michael 323-630-3692

Meet Remy

Thanks to our friend Darlene for this sweet post.

Remy —male feline, DSH, named for the sleek and silver “Remington Steele”— is ready for a home of his own. Age estimated to be between 1 – 2 years old.

Here’s his story: “This steel-gray, handsome young lad came into a crowded L.A. shelter with a life-threatening urinary blockage. We stepped in and got him the emergency care he needed, and now he is doing great. He will need to be on a prescription diet for life to prevent future blockages. He’s neutered, current on vaccines, and will be chipped. In other words, he’s ready to go! According to his foster dad, Remy is cool with other cats and is an all-around good boy. Want a sweet lap cat? Rey’s your guy! More photos and adoption application: www.lifelineforpets.org/remington-steel.html

Meet Demodectic Mange

Dogs and other mammals are susceptible to several types of mange, with demodectic being the most common. This specific type, also called Demodex canis, demoted cornei and Demodex injal, is caused by a tiny eight-legged parasitic mite that roosts in hair follicles. When a dog is healthy, the mites are present in small numbers but don’t really cause trouble, just as colonies of mites live at the base of human eyelashes. The thought may make you squirmy, but hosting opportunistic species is common throughout the animal kingdom.

Normally, a robust immune system suppresses the mite population on the skin of a dog. However, genetics play a role. This leads to the misunderstanding that mange is highly contagious (it’s not) since several puppies in a litter may display symptoms. In many cases, puppies acquire the mites from their mother while nursing. Also, many puppies under the age of two years or so don’t have enough immune resistance to keep the mites under control because they’re still growing.

Senior dogs may also be vulnerable since immune function typically declines with age. Illness and malnutrition can increase a dog’s likelihood of acquiring full-blown demodex mange at any age if the predisposition has been inherited.

Hair loss, beginning on the face, is unmistakable evidence of Demodex. The skin starts to appear crusty and red, with scaly lesions, and may also seem moist or greasy. Secondary skin inflammation and infection often accompany the infestation, along with painful swelling of the paws, swollen lymph nodes, bumps, thickening, sensitization and pigmentation of the skin, and increased itching at night. Fever and lethargy may result as the infestation progresses. If the mites colonize the ear canals, ear infections and hearing loss are possible.

The good news is that demodex is treatable, as in any secondary infection that may arise. A veterinarian will prescribe shampoos, dips, oral and injected medications.

This backstory is to prepare you for siblings Paulie #A794664 and Poppy #A794663

Poppy #A794663 is female with brown fur.

Paulie #A794664 is male with black and brown fur.

Both have severe cases of Demodex, which realistically may be their death sentence— not because the mange is so deadly, but because their infestation and accompanying skin infections make them ugly to look at.

Potential foster and adopters who are unfamiliar with Demodex may be afraid that the mites will attack them or their other pets. This is not the case— this mite is not like fleas or bedbugs, which can take over your household in a matter of a few days.

Their breed is identified as Australian Cattle Dog mix, and their age is estimated at 13 weeks.

Poppy’s infestation is severe enough that she may only be adopted by a rescuer via a medical waiver.

She is experiencing a severe case of Demodex with secondary dermatitis and possible Malassezia (fungal) infection.

The chances of these two pups finding homes are slim. To meet them, call (909) 386-9820.

Devore Shelter
19777 Shelter Way
Devore, CA 92407

Meet Lily and her two gorgeous kittens

Lily is a female feline, DSH, with a gray tabby stripe and no blaze. She was dumped at a shelter because she was in distress as she attempted to deliver a kitten that was “stuck” in the birth canal. Jan, who rescued her, says,    “She was skinny, and the surviving kittens were full of fleas. She is very sweet and quiet. Her coat is super soft, and she has lovely light green eyes. Playful as well. When she meows, it is not loud. Completely healthy, spayed, vaccines, treated for fleas.”

Her two kittens, one midnight black and one marmalade, are nearly as big as their mama.

To meet these cats, call Jan at 805-796-8053 in Pasadena after April 9.

Where to begin?

OK, kids, we don’t know much. Except this: Things are dire over at Apple Valley Animal Shelter. Our friends at www.theothersideofthecage.org share the fact that this particular shelter doesn’t post on social media, etc. There is very little networking.

Simply put, if you’re ready for a pet, it may make sense for you to start by looking where the need for rescues, fosters, and adopters is greatest.

Apple Valley Animal Shelter
22131 Powhatan Road
Apple Valley, CA 92308
(760) 240-7555

Have you heard of the WHITE COAT WASTE PROJECT?

Hold onto your hats, animal lovers. Here comes the mother lode: animal testing.

Yes, we know. We often tend to focus on cosmetics, which are still tested on live animals in China, for example, even though a tissue sample would be as useful in most cases, and hundreds of samples of the latter could be obtained from cadavers. Most cosmetics brands in the U.S. and Europe have significantly backed off animal testing, or at least it’s going that way, primarily as the result of public outcry.

But there are other kinds of animal testing. Vaccines are tested on animals, for example. So…the outcry is not as cut-and-dried as it may seem.

“Violet’s Law” isn’t even engaging in the argument but simply raises the following point: After an animal (beagle, monkey or rabbit, for example) has been used for testing, why is it routinely euthanized? The petition seems a bit ambiguous. Some of the literature trumpets “Stop Government Animal Experiments.” But elsewhere in the campaign, the pitch seems to be to release animals that have served as, well, guinea pigs, metaphorically speaking, to the public for adoption as pets.

In any case, check out the bipartisan Violet’s Law, which is identified as H.R. 1465/S. 7070, moving to make animal retirement and adoption an option in federal government laboratories.


Our culture’s obsession with youth even extends to our pets. In general, people tend to gravitate to young animals—puppies and kittens. We get it. They’re adorable. And to some degree, they’re tabula rasa— a blank slate, easier to train than older animals.

But then there’s the sweetness of age. This senior kitty has seen a lot. Her life expectancy realistically is less than a decade. But so what? A calm, mature senior animal can make a great companion for someone who is looking for calm conversations, shared naps, snacks, silent telepathic communication, and relaxed grooming sessions versus anything manic or heroic. Human seniors also receive a discount when adopting from Pasadena Humane. Sometimes, a senior pet is ideal for a senior human in terms of the energy output needed.

  • Female feline
  • Medium-length coat, kinda fluffy
  • Age: 10 years old
  • Coloring: Pastel calico tones of taupe, cream, gray
  • Jade green eyes
  • White muzzle and blaze, “M” eyebrow markings
  • Spayed
  • Medium size
  • In good senior health

For an appointment to visit Sweet Pea, go to: www.pasadenahumane.org/adopt/adoption-process/#before-you-adopt

Pasadena Humane
361 S. Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
For an appointment, call 626-792-7151, ext 975

Got an animal in need of a home? Click the button below and complete the form.

The short URL of this article is: https://localnewspasadena.com/m23c

Victoria Thomas

Victoria has been a journalist since her college years when she wrote for Rolling Stone and CREEM. Victoria describes the view of Mt. Wilson from her front step as “staggering,” and she is a defender of peacocks everywhere.
Email: [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. What a great, informative and entertaining article! Kudos to Victoria Thomas!

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