Happy National Pet Day! Take a stroll in Downtown around 6 PM and notice an amazing phenomenon; scores of dogs and their owners out for their evening walks. We spoke to some of them (the owners, that is) and discovered common threads in their responses: All of them mentioned how wonderfully pet-friendly Downtown has become, and how having a pet has gained them new friends throughout the Downtown community. 

Meet these Downtown dog owners (and one cat owner!), read their heartwarming stories, and discover why Downtown is such a great place for your pet to live.  



We met Kristine and her canine companion Zooey Dogchanel at Shoreline Aquatic Park on a breezy April day. “We live in a great place — urban and beachy at the same time — so I think it’s great that Zooey can experience all the sights and sounds,” said Kristine. 

Kristine is a full-time human resources professional who works out of her Downtown home. “Zooey is kind of my co-worker,” she told us. When the two of them are out for a walk anywhere in Downtown, Zooey, a cute Terrier mix who is going to turn 12 in June, gets noticed quite a bit. “She’s kind of a diva, but she’s my best friend,” Kristine explained. “I always have to think about her before I make any kind of decision.”   

Kristine met Zooey through some friends who had found the pooch wandering down the street by herself. “They put out fliers and waited, but no one claimed her, so I adopted her,” Kristine recalled. “I would say that she found me.”  

The two pals love to meet new dogs and dog owners during their walks. “I feel more safe and confident walking around the city with her. There’s definitely a sense of camaraderie with other pet owners: You understand what they’re going through,” said Kristine. 



Roshni and her husband Muhammad have noticed something about their gregarious and fun-loving Golden Retriever, Pepper Potts; She’s a star! “People recognize her from her Instagram page, @PepperOfLongBeach, all the time,” said Roshni. 

The couple were originally temporary foster parents for Pepper Potts, who is named after Marvel Comics superstar Iron Man’s secretary-turned-superhero. Pepper Potts entered service dog training at a California prison — but failed because she was too nice! “All she wanted to do was play and cuddle,” said Roshni. “We got her back and adopted her. We like to say she has pivoted careers; Now she gets to be a local celebrity.”  

Roshni, who works remotely for Stanford University and is also a student there, described Pepper Potts as “the most humbling dog I’ve ever had. She’s a high-anxiety dog with abandonment issues. I thought I knew a lot about dogs, but it turns out I was just scratching the surface.” 

The trio loves to go for walks throughout Downtown, and now, because of Pepper Potts, they know someone on almost every block. “Pepper brings lots of love and joy,” said Roshni. “We’ve met some of our closest friends through her.”  



There are also plenty of cat owners in Downtown, as Willmore District resident Mallory will attest. “I have two Orange Tabbies,” said the teacher who works for the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove. “Reggie is eight years old, and big. Charlie, who is three, is more wary and shy. They’re not really into each other, but they both love me! They’re more like siblings than buddies. They are definitely like my children.”  

Reggie and Charlie are both housecats; The apartment’s small patio is their only outdoor experience. They like it that way, though. “They’re very self-sufficient, and they don’t get bored,” said Mallory. “I’ve seen them just stare out the window at a wall for hours and never lose interest.”  

Mallory got Reggie, “a big cuddlebug,” at an Upland animal shelter. “He was in a back room by himself,” she remembered. “When he saw me, he charmed me by putting on a big show, and I just had to have him.” When she was ready to get a second cat, she picked Charlie because he looked just like Reggie.  

With two climbing towers, all kinds of toys, and plenty of food available at all times, Reggie and Charlie have it made. “They have a great life, but they’re different than dogs. Dogs seem to like everyone. With cats, you have to earn their love.” 



Amrita and Jaron are the proud owners of another Downtown dog with star power! Kobe, their handsome Shiba Inu, is “quite a show-stopper,” said Jaron. “When we’re out walking, people in cars pull over just to say hi to him.”  

Kobe was a puppy when the couple moved from the east coast to Downtown Long Beach during the pandemic. “When we were first exploring Downtown, Kobe fell in love with Long Beach Creamery,” Amrita recalled. “To this day, whenever he gets near the place, he’s determined to go in and get his ‘pup cup’ of ice cream. It’s the cutest slurping you ever saw!”  

Amrita and Jaron both work from home — she for a school network, he for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu company — and it can get stressful. “Kobe is definitely my stress relief animal,” said Amrita. Jaron pointed out, though, that Kobe is “like a drill instructor. We have to do everything he says.” Amrita agreed. “It’s Kobe’s world,” she said. “We’re just living in it. 

“Some people think urban communities are gritty and unfriendly, but out here at five o’clock you can see all the workers getting home and walking their dogs,” Amrita continued. “Sometimes you see people and dogs with matching outfits and hairdos! You ask a new person, ‘what kind of dog is that?’ — and that’s where the friendships begin.” 



Kelsey, who is Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s General Manager, and Carlos, a pilot for Delta Airlines, care for two dogs in their Downtown studio loft. Mookie is a super-active and friendly four-month-old Pit Bull/Boxer, and Penny is a world-wise 11-year-old Beagle/Cocker Spaniel. The couple share the same challenge as many other residents of urban environments; no private yard or outside space for the pets. 

“First thing in the morning, before we even brush our teeth, we walk the dogs,” said Kelsey as the two hounds barked and wagged their tails. “Because Mookie is still being potty trained, they get five walks a day!” The excitable Mookie and his older, mellower roommate Penny love to include The Pie Bar in their walks, because owner Laurie Gray puts out “puppy pies” for them — little dog-friendly pumpkin pies.  

Mookie usually starts off the walks strong, but fades down the stretch. Penny, with years of experience, knows how to pace herself. The quartet often takes the waterfront path all the way to the Shoreline Aquatic Park lighthouse and back, usually seeing several of their dog-owning friends along the way. “When we’re done, we’ll all go to Anna’s Joint on Pine for a post-walk bite to eat,” said Kelsey. “Anna’s is super pet-friendly, with great food and great people.”  

Carlos elaborated on the pet-friendly theme: “Every single place we go, someone has their dog there. I can’t think of too many spots where dogs aren’t allowed,” he said. “As far as Downtown apartments go, it’s hard to find one that isn’t dog-friendly, which wasn’t the case 10 or 15 years ago.” 

So many Downtown-ers submitted amazing photos of their beloved pets, we had to make sure everyone had a chance to ooh and aah at the cuteness of Downtown’s growing pet community! See below for all photo submissions:

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