Conejo Valley residents love their pets, and rescue animals seem to hold a special place in their owners’ hearts. The Agoura Animal Care Center, run by the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, has contributed many of these treasured pets to our community.
According to Denise Rosen, manager of the Agoura animal shelter, more than 1,000 animals were adopted from the Agoura center last year. This may seem like a lot but, Rosen says, “We are the smallest L.A. County Animal Care Facility and we take in the least amount of animals compared to our other county shelters.”
Although the Agoura shelter takes in “mostly dogs and cats,” says Rosen, “We also care for stray and unwanted horses, rabbits, goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes, parrots and other birds,” and all of the animals are eligible for adoption.
Adopting from the Agoura shelter is an easy and affordable process. Available animals are posted on the county’s website (AnimalCare.LACounty.gov), and can be searched by shelter, breed, age and size.
According to the county site, “If you see an animal on the website that you are interested in adopting… visit the animal care center in person to view the animal. Since animals have unique and individual personalities, this helps ensure the best possible match between you and your new pet.”
“People decide on the pet they want after visiting the Animal Care Center,” says Rosen. “We have play yards for the dogs where people looking to adopt a dog can meet and spend time interacting with the animal before they adopt.”
Adoption fees vary, “depending on how long we have had the animal and if we have performed spay or neuter surgery,” says Rosen. For more details on the adoption process, please visit AnimalCare.LACounty.gov.
With their unique and sometimes quirky personalities, our pets often become the stars of the family—obsessed over, pampered and treated like royalty. Conejo Valley Lifestyle caught up with some of the most precocious pets in the area to see what they’ve been up to since their adoption…
Scarlett is a 2-year-old gray striped tabby who was adopted as a kitten by Westlake Village residents Tracy Brister, Leslie Thompson and daughter Michaela.
“The Agoura shelter is just down the street from us, and we’d heard good things about it-so when we were ready for a new furry friend, we thought we’d give it a try,” recalls Leslie. “We are so glad we did!”
“Scarlett was in a cage with a large litter of kittens at the shelter. Every time we opened up the cage to look at a particular kitten, she would manage to sneak out and we would have to catch her and put her back. After five or six attempts at this, we realized that she was the one.”
Scarlett took time out from updating her Instagram account (@meetscarlett) to comment on her life post-adoption:
Named after Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind, the fetching feline says, “I have a sassy purrsonality, just like she does.” She adds, “I enjoy ruling the household. Everybody here is well aware of my reign as Queen.”
Favorite Food: “Caviar, sourced from wild king salmon caught off the coast of Alaska.”
Favorite Band: “The Pussycat Dolls”
Hobby: “Sleeping on fresh, clean laundry.”
Favorite TV Show: “‘Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan’ because I like to see those dogs get schooled!”
When they adopted her from the Agoura shelter, the Loper clan didn’t realize what a sweet addition Molly would be to their family. At the shelter, the four Loper children, ages 8-14, “immediately fell in love with” the Dachshund/Labrador mix, and “we stayed an hour while the kids played ball with her,” says mom, Jennifer.
Adopting a dog that would be gentle with children was important to their family, especially for their 10-year-old son John, who has Down syndrome.
“Molly is super patient with John when he grabs her and hugs her,” says Loper. “He always tells her he loves her!”
Molly took a break during her favorite game of catch to share about life with the Lopers:
How I Got My Name: “The kids named me Molly because I look so Irish!”
Hobby: “Playing ball—any time, any day!”
Favorite Team: “Notre Dame—GO IRISH!”
Relationship Status: “Single and loving it!”
Favorite Food: “Avocado”
Favorite Family Member: “John, because he lets me kiss his face and sometimes he kisses me back!”
Kim Ferry and her two sons adopted Lily, an orange tabby cat “who acts and thinks like a dog,” from the Agoura shelter in 2011, and she is “the best adopted friend ever!” says Ferry. “She meows when we get home and loves to play jokes on us.”
Named after a character in the Harry Potter series, Lily Potter is also known as “A Menace to Society” and “Furr-ocious Beast.” We caught up with Lily as she was relaxing to some music by Cat Stevens.
What I Love About My Family and Home: “I pretty much run the joint. These humans are really trainable and they do my bidding. I meow-they feed me. I sit close-they pet me. I get cold-they snuggle. It’s a good partnership.”
Favorite Snack: “When the family is eating breakfast, if they look away or leave their seat, I like to lick their eggs. Yum!”
Favorite Hobby: “’Tail Torture,’ where I sit near or on one of the boys and gently slap my adorable tail on their face-humans love that! I also like to run as fast as I can from one random empty room to another for no good reason.”
Favorite Team: “Detroit Lions”
Favorite Movies/TV Shows: “The Pink Panther series, ‘Nine Lives,’ ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and ‘Cats & Dogs.'”
How I Help the Family: “I’m a great nurse when the boys are sick. I’m studying to be a purr-a-medic.”
If you are thinking about adding a pet to your household, consider adopting a rescue. While the Agoura shelter is an excellent option for pet adoption, there are several additional rescue organizations also at work in our community, including L.I.F.E. and Shelter Hope Pet Shop. Says Agoura shelter’s Rosen, “In addition to our Animal Care Centers, I would recommend any rescue that pulls animals from shelters to help save a life and give them an opportunity at finding their forever home.”
Full disclosure: Over the years, this writer has adopted two dogs from the Agoura shelter. The latest, a surprise birthday present for her son, is a dynamo named Chop. He likes to snack on ice cubes and lounge by the fire.