Holly Compton

Holly Compton fostered and then adopted Taz after the 2017 Foster the 4th event.

Friends, family, and barbecues … for most people, the Fourth of July is a happy holiday. But for pet owners, this annual celebration can be a time of trauma.

Each year, the explosions, pops and squeals of fireworks makes dogs panic and flee their homes. Scared and separated from their owners, lost canines fill kennels everywhere, including the Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS).

In 2017, LBACS and Live Love Animal Rescue decided to work together to prevent this yearly overcrowding. In a program called “Foster the 4th,” the rescue placed shelter dogs with foster families for the first two weeks of July. By proactively creating kennel space, these volunteers prevented the euthanization of 27 dogs. This July, the program aims to save 57 dogs.

Emily Ann Peters, president and founder of Live Love Animal Rescue, said her organization works to meet pets’ needs for safe and stable lives.

Handsome Horton

Handsome Horton and the Kofflers.

“We want to inspire and engage the Long Beach community,” Peters said. “Fostering is a great way to get dogs out of the shelter and help them find forever homes.”

Thanks to donations, including an $8,000 grant from the Edith J. Goode Residuary Trust, the rescue is able to give foster families the supplies, training and support they need to be successful.

“We help foster families with crate training, we buy collars, food and bedding, and we pay medical bills,” Peters said. “Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Richard and Luciana Diamante volunteered to host a dog when “Foster the 4th” launched in 2017. The full-time parents of two rescue dogs, the Diamantes added Naia, a small white 6-month-old puppy, to their home for a few weeks.

“The Fourth of July is a hard time for dogs, so we decided to help,” Richard Diamante said. “We loved having Naia with us and we were able to find a great home for her. After that, we just kept fostering. It’s hard to say goodbye to them, but there are so many dogs that need our help.”

Live Love Animal Rescue holds regular events that showcase available foster dogs. After Handsome Horton made an appearance at a Live Love showcase event, he was adopted by the Koffler family in 2018. Horton now goes everywhere with his family and even has his own Instagram page.

“Ever since Horton’s been in our family, he’s given nothing but snuggles and unconditional love, and has brought so much more awareness to the need for fostering and adopting these loving animals,” Joyee Koffler said.

According to Peters, it is easy to become a foster family.

“We have an application and we do home checks to see the space and meet families face to face,” Peters said. “But we try not to make things too complicated.”

Richard Diamante agreed with this assessment.

“Some rescue organizations are kind of neurotic, but Live Love is not like that,” he said. “They do their due diligence, but they don’t require as much documentation as some places do. They are very rational and in tune with dogs’ needs.”

To foster a dog this July, visit https://liveloveanimalrescue.org/foster-the-4th and click “I’ll Be a Foster” or call 213-282-PAWS (213-282-7297) with questions.

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