California Life & Style

Our 2017 Pets issue

Are you into goat yoga? Tortoises? Cats or dogs? Whatever your pet preference, we've got the latest news on pets from Los Angeles Times staff and contributors, including:

  • How our pets do more than just greet us at the door: They help make us human
  • Of course we have cute photos + videos!
  • Tips for turning your pet into an Instagram star
  • The most popular names for puppies and kitties
  • A look at what the most fashionable L.A. pets are wearing these days
  • If you have ideas for future pet stories, email us at Home@latimes.com and let us know: We may include your ideas in future stories.

Who rescued whom?: Actress and animal rescuer Kaley Cuoco on the pit bull that changed her life

 (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“The Big Bang Theory” actress  Kaley Cuoco tells us about the animal that changed her life, and led her into rescue work. 

The unforgettable things that pets give us: broken stuff, healing love

 (Michael Glenwood / For The Times)
(Michael Glenwood / For The Times)

We asked our Travel editor, and fellow pet lover, Catharine Hamm to kick off our special Pets section with an essay about that indelible bond between animal and human. Grab a tissue and read on:

::

That crashing noise? It was an antique lamp that had belonged to my parents. And Beau, my hunka hunka burning Siamese love, had just sent it hurtling to the floor.

I wanted to throttle him. After I saw the look on his face, I wanted to pick him up, cradle him and tell him not to worry.

Because in the contest of things versus pets, there is no contest. The pets always win.

With luck and many volunteers, L.A. city shelters on track to reach no-kill status

 (Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)
(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

Inside a spotless neonatal unit, newborn kittens are survivors of a larger battle being waged in the No-Kill Los Angeles movement.

Led by Best Friends Animal Society, and partnering with local shelters, a passionate coalition of animal welfare groups is seeking to transform L.A. into a city where no homeless pet has to die — by year’s end.

And more volunteers are needed.

“We are absolutely committed to changing the landscape, to educate and inspire the public and to create chances for each animal,” says Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends in Los Angeles. 

Inside PetSpace: An animal shelter like no other

 (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Don’t forget to look up as you enter the new Annenberg PetSpace: There’s a ginormous motion-sensor sculpture of a wriggling pup, so happy to see you. Look to the right for its feline counterpoint: A curious kitty, poised to paw its prey.

It’s safe to say you’ve never seen an animal shelter like this.

The 30,000-square-foot center opened up this summer on Bluff Creek Drive in trendy Silicon Beach, the result of a years-long campaign by noted philanthropist and animal lover Wallis Annenberg, creating a unique place that celebrates the indelible human-animal bond.

Three great L.A. chefs and what they feed their dogs and cats

From left, Steven Fretz and his Devon Rex cat Lil Chef, Dakota Weiss and her French bulldog Chaplin and Josef Centeno and his Brussels Griffons Winston and Bear. (Left: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times; center: Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times; right: Christina House / For The Times)
From left, Steven Fretz and his Devon Rex cat Lil Chef, Dakota Weiss and her French bulldog Chaplin and Josef Centeno and his Brussels Griffons Winston and Bear. (Left: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times; center: Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times; right: Christina House / For The Times)

Picadillo with sweet potato, squash and braised venison, Japanese rice cakes, roasted chicken. This is what you eat if you’re an L.A. dog or cat and your owner happens to be one of the best chefs in the city.

Curl up with your pet — and a good book: 12 great new pet reads

Our books editor Carolyn Kellogg has curated a collection of beautiful books, silly interludes and animal stories that will make you smile and break your heart.

You won't believe the cool tech stuff we found for you and your pet

 (Petchatz.com)
(Petchatz.com)

The chief executive of Petcube, a company that makes interactive pet cameras, is betting that in five years, half of the country’s pet population will be Internet-connected to their owners via cameras, smart collars or other wearable tech.

“People love their pets like they love their kids,” Yaroslav Azhnyuk said. “Our research shows that people who have pets want to be very connected with them, because they love them unconditionally.”

Azhnyuk expects the pet tech market to grow in three main categories: cameras, trackers and feeders.

Here are just a few of the fun tech gadgets you can get for your pet:

Reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump's latest L.A. venture is simply for the dogs

 (Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

With its bright pink exterior and white picket fence, the Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center, one of entrepreneur and reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump’s latest ventures, is hard to miss, especially if the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” costar and her husband’s white Rolls-Royce is parked out front.

Lights! Cameras! Sit! Stay! The life of dog groomer and videographer Jess Rona

 (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Not just anyone is on a first-name basis with Katy Perry, but even fewer are on a first-name basis with her dog. “Nugget!” L.A. groomer, comedian and director Jess Rona said with affection. “I groomed her yesterday.”

Rona shot to insta-fame with her Instagram account @jessronagrooming, an ingenious feed that transforms her stylishly groomed dogs into movie stars — literally.

Dogs of all breeds become the stars of their own music videos, set to a soundtrack of pop and indie rock songs and filmed in slow motion, a fan blowing their freshly fluffed fur just like a model’s hair on a fashion shoot.

The videos are hypnotic — and hilarious, a testament to Rona’s talents as a longtime dog groomer and improv comic.

Life in L.A. with a miniature pot-bellied pig

 (Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

This spring, Hollywood stylist Tara Swennen drove to LAX to pick up her new family member. The Studio City resident wasn’t meeting a person, however. She went to greet her weeks-old miniature pot-bellied pig.

“She came from Idaho,” Swennen said at her home recently as her pig and her pug, Pepper, played in the yard. “I really didn’t know what to expect. … It’s just like having a dog.”

And what’s this pig’s name? Sprinkles, named after the cupcake brand.

How to make your pet Instagram-famous – and make money from it

 (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

There are all kinds of jobs today that wouldn't be possible without social media. One surprisingly lucrative gig: posting pet photos on Instagram.

If your pet can perform on video, that’s worth even more, especially if you make the leap to booking TV commercials.

It takes more than just a cute pet and a smartphone. To find out how to make your pet Insta-famous, we consulted the experts, including Geordi La Corgi, above: @LAcorgi has more than 238,000 followers on Instagram. 

Who wants to go for a ride?! Great hikes for you and your dog

 (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Here’s one way that dogs have a leg up on cats: Lucky dogs get to go hiking.

Los Angeles and Southern California are rich with hiking trails and walks that welcome well-behaved dogs on leashes, as long as they are leading well-behaved owners who will pick up after them, if you know what we mean.

If you’re heading out with a pet, make sure to bring plenty of water for both of you, plus a drinking bowl. Try to avoid the hottest part of the day (remember, your dog is wearing a fur coat!). Don’t push your dog beyond its limits. Consider doggie hiking boots, especially if you’ll be traversing hot pavement or rocky terrain that can be tough on tender paw pads.

And remember those plastic bags.

More from L.A. Times pets »

Here are some of our favorite hikes -- most of them dog-friendly -- as recommended by our in-house expert, Charles Fleming, who writes a monthly walking and hiking column that appears in our Saturday section. You’ll find detailed maps and hiking directions for them all at latimes.com/lawalks:

What's your favorite animal film? Here are some of ours:

Kate Mara stars as Megan Leavey in Gabriella Copperthwaite's "Megan Leavey." (Jacob Yakob / Dogs of War / Bleecker Street)
Kate Mara stars as Megan Leavey in Gabriella Copperthwaite's "Megan Leavey." (Jacob Yakob / Dogs of War / Bleecker Street)

If you want get your boo hoo on with a feel-good movie, watch "Megan Leavey." (It doesn't come out on DVD until next month, but it's already in our Amazon basket.)

It got us thinking about our favorite pet movies. Here are just a few we love, love, love...

And if we overlooked yours, tell us! We may use it in a future story.

How tech is working to take your pet from 'lost' to 'found'

 (Tri Nguyen)
(Tri Nguyen)

It’s a given that your pet has a chip designed to reunite you with your furry friend in case he or she goes missing. But sometimes that isn’t enough — such as if your pet goes missing in the middle of the night.

That’s where new pet technology comes in.

Here are some ways to keep your pets safe:

Unique ways to memorialize a beloved pet

 (Close by Me Jewelry on Etsy)
(Close by Me Jewelry on Etsy)

Sometimes the experience of grief can be assuaged by the mourning process.

And that's where memorials — photos, paintings, tiled stones, cremation jewelry — come in.

They're a very public acknowledgment of loss, objects that convey your sadness even if you are silent.

Here are a few examples we found of ways to memorialize a beloved pet:

 

Your embarassing pets stories...

 (Josh Edelson / Getty Images)
(Josh Edelson / Getty Images)

Pets are so special. And sometimes, so embarrassing.

For our Pets Issue, we asked our readers to share their most embarrassing pet stories. And you delivered. Here are our favorites.

Get ready to pounce! Our favorite toys for your favorite pets

 (Dog Diggin Designs, Hauspanther, Hurley)
(Dog Diggin Designs, Hauspanther, Hurley)

If you're looking for a little pet diversion, we've got suggestions:

Bow wow wow! Great dog bakeries around L.A.

 (Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)
(Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

Dog treats have come a long way from those boxes of desiccated bone-shaped crackers stacked in the pet food aisles of grocery stores. These days, your local bakery might have a tray of dog cookies displayed next to the kouign-amann and caneles, and the pet shop down the street is likely to carry organic, gluten-free meals made in-house, resembling a farm-to-table bistro more than a feed store.

Some pet shops have taken this even further, opening dog bakeries inside their stores, with elaborate pastry cases, even dedicated pastry chefs. This is a lot of fun for dog lovers who appreciate the artistry of a good pastry kitchen, and of course an awful lot of fun for your dog.

Want to help a military dog after watching 'Megan Leavey'? Here's what you need to know

Anubis, left, and Oreo both served their country well. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Anubis, left, and Oreo both served their country well. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

If the movie “Megan Leavey” made you ponder giving a forever home to a four-legged hero, the good news is that there are programs in place to make that happen. But when it comes to military working dogs, the adoption process is, well, a whole different animal from simply popping by the pound and picking one up. 

Don't look now, but there's a goat on your back!

 (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

File this under workouts you can’t believe are an actual thing.

Goat yoga, which is yoga practiced in the presence of — and in tandem with — live goats, is the latest exercise craze to capture the imaginations and Instagram feeds of Angelenos.

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