Long Beach has been named one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States by SmartAsset.com.
Tying at number 17 with Boise, Idaho, Long Beach boasts 131 dog-friendly restaurants and 11 dog parks (including Rosie's Dog Beach). The study based its data on how many dog parks each city has per 100,000 residents, how many dog-friendly restaurants and shopping centers have been established, the median home value, city walk score and concentration of pet stores and veterinary offices.
Tucson, Ariz., and Las Vegas, Nev., made the top two in the list with roughly double the amount of dog-friendly parks and access to public spaces.
Long Beach has proven to be as dog-friendly as ever, even with the current pandemic, according to Staycee Dains, executive director at Long Beach Animal Care Services.
"Our adoptions have increased during the pandemic and have reached over 100% on the adoption rate for last year," she said. "What's interesting about that is not only have we done more adoptions, we've received less animals as well, making our intake down 35%."
In total, Dains said that the shelter has adopted out 578 dogs and cats so far this year, and with a few more months left in 2020, she added that she's looking forward to seeing how many dogs will find their forever homes.
People can look through available dogs online, or make an appointment to meet a dog at the Animal Care Center, at longbeach.gov/acs, or call 562-570-7387. There are no open-to-the-public hours.
Ana Bustilloz, director of communications and marketing at the Long Beach spcaLA P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, echoed similar numbers regarding adoption rates.
"When the pandemic hit, we immediately closed to the public, but we knew we wanted to get animals into permanent homes, if we could," Bustilloz said. "We believed this would be the best scenario overall, so we began online adoptions on March 20, and since then, we’ve adopted out 540 animals."
Bustilloz added that if the shelter were open to the public, adoption rates would be higher, but considering people couldn't walk in to meet the pets first, she said that the adoption rate so far this year is a win for the shelter. Last year, the city adopted out nearly 1,000 animals, so there's still plenty of time to reach more potential adoptive families.
"If we were open to the public, adoption rates would be higher, but considering the circumstance, it’s pretty remarkable," she said.
One benefit of the changing pandemic landscape has been the number of foster families available for dogs. This year, the number of foster families through the spcaLA alone has reached 155, and that number continues to climb.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, the spcaLA Foster Volunteers have been an incredible support system. Foster volunteers cared for puppies and kittens who were not old enough for adoption, pets who were ill and/or recovering, and... a break from the shelter routine," she said.
Anyone interested in fostering a dog can submit an application to spcaLA.com/volunteer.
At Live Love Animal Rescue, a Long Beach-based dog rescue that helps rehabilitate and re-home dogs, the pandemic story is similar.
"We have seen the community come together in very inspiring ways to support dogs in need since the Safer at Home order was announced and we have connected with hundreds of families interested in fostering and adopting," Angela Robinson, board member and grants manager, said.
The rescue was able to match foster parents with a dog at the rescue, creating spaces for pups to receive individualized care and training, with hopes it will lead them to their forever home.
"We've been able to place dogs in foster and adoptive homes in record numbers," she said. "We think that rescue dogs are great companions during the pandemic, and we are grateful that so many members of the Long Beach community agree."
For more information, go to liveloveanimalrescue.com. Foster applications are currently filled, but there is a waitlist.
And for people with dogs, go to longbeach.gov/parks, for a list of dog-friendly outdoor spaces. Dogs can be off the leash, but must be supervised by an adult at all times.
As for the 131 dog-friendly restaurants that helped make Long Beach's spot on the list, dogs are welcome on dog-friendly patios as long as they're leashed.
The study also provides tips for renting and home-ownership with a dog, like considering if the neighborhood is a good fit and analyzing what the neighborhood can offer the dog.
For more information on the study, go to smartasset.com/mortgage/most-dog-friendly-cities-in-america-2020.