You’ve probably heard your own rugrats talk your ear off about “pups this” and “pups that,” or perhaps your littles have started begging “pretty pleeeeease” for one of their very own. To help you out with this canine conundrum (to get a dog, or not to get a dog—that is the parental question), we’ve rounded up the best places pint-sized pup lovers can get their fill of wet noses, wagging tails and unconditional puppy love.

Flf3IYQ-hwwMWmuI12B4C8RzdF2luZsawqHbMMIm2rYphoto: Aurelia D’Amore Photography via Jennifer O’Brien

Dogs Without Borders Takes Kid Volunteers
Volunteering with rescue dogs is a priceless opportunity to teach your tykes compassion, social responsibility and selflessness. If you have a pint-sized pup lover who is ready to put in a fun day’s work taking care of some very special dogs, Dogs Without Borders happily welcomes school-aged volunteers to help out at their adoption fair events. There is no lower age limit, but the rescue does request that tots on the younger side be supervised by a parent or guardian while at the fair. Adoption events usually take place Saturdays at Tailwaggers in Hollywood and Sundays at Petsmart near The Beverly Center. To sign up, be sure to check out the volunteer section of their website.


Image-1photo: Karma Rescue 

Karma Rescue’s Reading Isn’t Ruff Program
Karma Rescue is dedicated to creating a compassionate society that provides refuge and protection for all animals. They are committed to building more humane youth in our communities and to that end, created “Reading Isn’t Ruff”—a free, dog-assisted literacy program available in LA Public Library branches across the city. The program encourages kiddos (grades K-6) to read aloud to certified Therapy or Canine Good Citizen dogs. Once a week after school, Reading Isn’t Ruff visits an LAPL branch where they set up large blankets to create two separate reading stations for kids. Little ones gather together on the blankets to read to pooches during the one-hour visit. Additionally, there are aides on hand to read aloud to younger pre-readers. Not only does the program build self-esteem and confidence around dogs, but it also improves social, emotional and academic development, even boosting kids’ reading skills by as much as two grade levels. For upcoming locations and dates, search “Reading Isn’t Ruff” on the LAPL website.

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img_2634-e1461007735211photo: Jennifer O’Brien

The Dog Café – Play with Rescues
America’s very first Dog Cafe in Silverlake is the perfect spot to take pup-lovers who either can’t or don’t yet have a dog at home. Families have the unique opportunity to hang out in a super relaxing space and give some much needed love and affection to deserving rescue dogs who are currently searching for their forever homes. While your kids play, you can kick back nearby and enjoy a hot cup of joe or one of many beverages from the café menu. Most drinks on the menu are included with the price of admission (a $10 donation). We highly recommend making an advanced reservation online as this spot is extremely popular. Who knows, you may even come home with another kid or two? It should be noted that for the safety of children, as well as the dogs, kiddos must be age 5 & up to visit.

240 N. Virgil Ave.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.01.17 AMphoto: Wags and Walks via Facebook

Wags and Walks Adoption Events
Usually on the first Saturday of every month, Wags and Walks rescue hosts a dog adoption event in front of Kip’s Toyland at The Original Farmer’s Market. And if you’re like every other LA family on the weekend, you’re probably already at The Grove anyway. So stop by to give your kiddos some furry face time with these wonderful pups. Wags and Walks hand-picks their pooches from local shelters based on their family-friendly temperament and likelihood to thrive when placed in the right home. Also, they don’t choose prospective adopters based on how many hours they work or whether they live in a large house over an apartment. Just like the amazing dogs they rescue, they know loving families come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date listing of adoption event days and times.

The Original Farmer’s Market
6333 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles

ophoto: Puppies & Reptiles via Facebook

Puppies & Reptiles – Puppy Parties
Who wants one puppy for their birthday when you could have a puppypalooza! Puppies & Reptiles is fully licensed and insured family-owned kennel in Torrance that breeds and home raises Maltese, Yorkies, Doxies, Shih Tzus and Jack Russells. They will happily bring 10 precious puppies to your kiddo’s birthday party for everyone to love on. During their visit, they provide all food and toys for guests to feed the dogs and play with them. Puppies & Reptiles limits the number of kids in the puppy pen to 10 at a time, but will happily rotate groups if you have additional littles at the party. The play area can be set up indoors or outside in the shade if the weather is cool enough. Prices start at $200 for the first hour and go up from there. Oh, they do adult parties too. Just sayin’.


Where do take your kiddos to play with pups in LA? Bark at us in the comments section below!


—Jennifer O’Brien