Does one of your New Year’s resolutions include adopting a new pet? Are you confused about where to begin your search or about how to find the right pet? A visit to the Santa Monica Library website (smpl.org) could be a good place to start. Each month the library features an animal that is up for adoption at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter. The program, Library P.A.L.S., was launched in early 2016 with “Sugar” Caine, an adorable Pit Bull mix, as the first featured pet. Each month a new pet is hi-lighted.

This past December’s pet is a six-year old Cattle dog mix named “Lola” who loves to chase her tail and is seventy pounds of cuddly cuteness. She is still up for adoption and looking for her forever home. Lola’s picture, bio and reading list (what, you didn’t know dogs could read?) can be found on the library’s main web page (smpl.org). The library’s featured pet for January is Oliver, a one-year old male German Shepherd mix who loves to be active and show off the tricks he’s learned.

Alejandro Mendoza, Santa Monica Animal Shelter Administrator, states that they are “dedicated to saving and improving the lives of pets through adoptions, encouraging community spay and neuter services, and humane education programs. Each year we help lost, abandoned and homeless animals find nurturing and forever homes” says Mendoza. Throughout last year the Shelter held education programs at a number of library branches to educate children and adults about how to take care of pets, find the right cuddly creature for their home, and teach the importance of spaying and neutering animals to help reduce the number of homeless pets.

In May, 2016, in honor of National Pet Week, the library held a donation drive benefitting the Santa Monica Animal Shelter. Collection bins were placed in all library locations and much needed supplies, such as new toys, unopened food, leashes, collars and new bedding, were then donated to the Shelter by the generous library public. If you would like to make a donation, drop off unopened food and new pet supplies at the Shelter during open hours (Tuesday – Saturday, 8am – 5pm).

If you are looking for a pet, the Santa Monica Shelter has many ways for you to explore the animals they have up for adoption. These include two websites: www.petharbor.com (for a list of pets in Santa Monica and Los Angeles County Shelters) and www.petfinder.com (for a list of more available pets). You can visit the Shelter to see the adoptable animals in person, with no appointment necessary. They are located at 1640 9th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (310-458-8595). Operating hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Animals at the Shelter include dogs (currently there are 12 up for adoption of all shapes and sizes), cats (only a few at the moment, the Spring is when they see their numbers increase) and rabbits. The cost to adopt a pet is between $80 – $150 depending on if the animal was previously spayed or neutered.

Are you an animal lover but are not quite ready to adopt a pet, or have made a resolution to volunteer in the community this year? The Shelter is currently seeking volunteers aged 18 and up, with a commitment to work eight hours per month. Tasks for volunteers include walking dogs, cleaning cages for dogs, rabbits and cats, as well as helping to train the shelter pets. Those interested in volunteering can contact volunteer coordinator, Kathy Rios, at the Shelter (310-458-8595) or stop by during open hours to pick up an application.

In January, the Montana Branch library is sponsoring a program called “Craft for a Cause”. Teens in grades 6 and up can earn up to one hour of community service credit for making fleece toys and blankets for the animals at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter. The library is providing the materials, with in person registration at the program on January 31 at 4 p.m. Those teens who don’t need community credit are welcome to stop by and join in the fun.

Karen Reitz manages the Ocean Park Branch Library. She is often seen around town walking a Forte Rescue dog (farescue.org) named Sophie whose favorite past time is chasing squirrels and skateboards around the Ocean Park neighborhood.