Photo Credit: Martin Hernandez

Hi, I’m Penelope, a five-year-old female Calico. To spend time with me is to have a lesson on the rules of etiquette. The instant you catch my eye, docile and in perfect posture, I will eagerly prance towards you, greeting you with only the sweetest meows and purrs. My hospitality includes being the first to invite you to pet me, to which I repay with gentle face rubs and headbutting. Without hesitation, I love to share my toys so we can play together. And when the fun ends, I will look upon you in humble gratitude for your time. Plus, I’m incapable of complaining! Even if you awaken me, interrupting a perfect nap, in my slumber I’m forgiving and kind, and always open to spending quality time with you again. Of course, my exceptional manners are bound to make you question your own. But I will never boast my superiority, and always make you feel like you are the most perfect person to me. Penelope, ID#A060258, is available for adoption at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter located at 1640 9th Street, Santa Monica CA, 90404. The shelter is closed to the public and adoptions are by appointment only by calling the shelter at 310.458.8595.


Many love the idea of their dogs being able to roam free outside. But in Santa Monica and many other cities, it’s illegal for dogs to be off-leash in the public, and it’s unsafe.

Penalties for being in violation of leash laws include hefty fines, and court appearances. If your dog bites another animal or person, this may lead to serious financial and legal ramifications, and animal control can confiscate your dog.

You are also putting your dog and the public at risk. Off-leash dogs have increased chances of getting into and eating dangerous things. Triggers on walks can cause dogs to run away, even into busy streets. Off-leash dogs can antagonize other dogs on-leash, provoking dog fights. If your dog is not socialized with people or animals, it greatly increases the chances dog attacks, serious injury, and even death.

Having your dog on-leash offers many opportunities! You can give your dog training cues to help them practice their obedience skills, discouraging leash pulling and reactivity. When your dog is focused, physical exercise and mental stimulation by the environment is more consistent, promoting socialization.

Since your dog is in close proximity to you, if your dog is triggered or you encounter danger, having your dog on-leash gives you better timing to address and manage their behavior, and the opportunity get you and your dog to safety more quickly.

A leashed dog is happy, healthy, and safe dog! And one that can revel in a lovely stroll with you!

Pet of the Week is provided by Carmen Molinari, a long-time volunteer at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and founder and CEO of Love At First Sit, a pet care and dog training company in Santa Monica. Learn about her, pet tips, and Love At First Sit services at