The OC is one of the most iconic destinations anywhere in California, not to mention the entire United States! And if you visit this beautiful part of the world with your pooch in tow, there’s no shortage of wonderful dog-friendly experiences just waiting to be explored.
Orange County also boasts a wide range of paw-some animal rescue groups that are always looking out for the needs of unwanted, abandoned, abused, and neglected animals in the area.
Orange County Humane Society (OCHS) is a perfect example. Founded in 1949, OCHS has provided shelter and care to hundreds of thousands of animals in need, helping them get back on their feet and find permanent homes. With a mission to protect abused, unwanted, neglected, and under-appreciated animals, OCHS plans to keep pursuing this mission until stray and sick animals no longer roam the streets.
The Pet Adoption Center of Orange County is another of the region’s dedicated animal advocates. With a mission to help adoptable pets find loving people and the resources they need to be a family for life, the Center accepts pets from local animal control agencies and animal welfare organizations. Those pets are housed in a modern, comfortable, adoption-guaranteed facility in Lake Forest, where they receive much-needed care and shelter before being paired with loving owners.
These are just two of the animal rescue and welfare organizations serving Orange County. There are many, many other wonderful groups which we simply don’t have the space to mention here, but all of them do amazing work for the animals and all are worthy of recognition.
The Pet Adoption Center of Orange County invites animal lovers and their furry friends for a day of pet-friendly celebrations! Held at the Lake Forest Sports Park & Recreation Center, this bone-anza features four hours of non-stop doggy fun and games. Following a blessing of the animals, you and your pooch can strut your stuff in the Dog-a-Palooza Pet Parade. When you’re done showing off, there are exciting canine demonstrations to watch, cute and cuddly adoptable animals to meet, and vendors selling all manner of pet-related products. Food trucks, live music, and giveaways also feature, so get there early to ensure that you don’t miss a thing!
Barks of Love Animal Rescue is an Orange County all-breed dog rescue committed to helping dogs in need find their perfect families. Bark Bash is its big annual fundraiser and is held to raise money to open a facility that will become the rescue’s home. All the furry fun takes place at the Gray Matter Museum of Art in Costa Mesa, where the whole family (including your pooch) can meet adoptable dogs, lock lips in the doggie kissing booth, get their pup pampered, take in some exciting agility demos, and much more! There’s food, music, and on-site pet photography as well, with entry via a $10 minimum donation. Best of all, kids and dogs get in free.
Held in Surf City at Huntington beach, this legendary canine surfing event is famous the world over! If you want to see a host of brave and furr-ociously talented dogs hit the surf to tackle some gnarly waves, this is the event for you. It’s free to attend with your furry friend, so you can enjoy some sun, sand, and surf. There’s also a surFUR expo packed with dog, health, and community booths. It’s hard to think of a more enjoyable and entertaining way to spend a day outside with your dog, so hit the beach and get ready to be amazed!
Get ready for a barking good time at Bark Fest, the annual fundraiser to benefit local rescue group 4Life Animal Rescue. Held at Pet Hospital in Orange, Bark Fest promises an action-packed afternoon of furry family fun. Highlights include dog-friendly games and contests, food for two- and four-legged guests, professional pet portrait sessions, live music, and so much more! It’s a great day out for pet lovers and dogs of all shapes and sizes, so mark it in your diary for next November.
Do your kids love nothing more than showing off their pet to their friends? This family-friendly event lets them take a game of “show and tell” to the next level, inviting kids aged between five and 12 to help their favorite animal strut their stuff. Held in Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano, the parade features awards for best team costume, best domestic pet, best exotic pet, and more. There’s a $5 entry fee and some great prizes on offer, and pets must be leashed, haltered, or caged. Children also need to be accompanied by an adult.