Opening soon, this unique community center strives to nurture the human-animal bond
By Shanee Edwards
To say Playa Vista is dog-friendly would be an understatement. We love our furry friends, and they’re about to become an even bigger part of this community.
Coming to The Collective at Playa Vista in early 2017 is a unique human-animal community center called the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace. Early renderings of the nonprofit animal education, welfare and adoption center show a bright and dynamic two-story facility spanning more than 30,000 square feet.
Cinny Kennard, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation, says this one-of-a-kind endeavor will focus on the special bond we humans share with our pets.
What is the vision behind the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace?
Wallis Annenberg PetSpace will be a unique new community engagement center focused squarely on helping people understand the mutually beneficial and dynamic bond between people and their pets, as well as the origins and science of that relationship. There will be experts available to help people experience that everlasting bond and nurture it by utilizing immersive learning with animals, interactive technology, hands-on activities and more. It will be a place of joy, discovery and reflection, and will offer engaging programs relating to pets for people of all ages and abilities.
Why did you choose to locate it in Playa Vista?
We’ve been working with organizations in and around Playa Vista for years, and when we began searching for the space’s permanent location, we knew we wanted an area that would be very pet-friendly and welcoming while also active and community-oriented. Based on our experiences, Playa Vista was a perfect fit. Along with those attributes, we were also inspired by the innovative companies that surround us, including Yahoo, Google, YouTube, IMAX and others.
What types of services will be available to those who live or work in Playa Vista?
Wallis Annenberg PetSpace will offer something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a pet to adopt and wanting to understand their behaviors or you’re just interested in learning more about animals or how those relationships develop, we will bring learning opportunities and thought leadership to the entire community, as well as offer plenty of volunteer opportunities.
Are you collaborating with other animal organizations?
We’ll be working with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control to place pets — including dogs, cats and other small mammals such as guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters — back into homes. We have also partnered with and support other expert and specialized organizations, such as the California Science Center, Loyola Marymount University and Pediatric Therapy Network, to offer special programs including interactive exhibits, classes, workshops and conferences for the greatest education and impact.
Annenberg PetSpace will also collaborate with those in the growing academic field of Human Animal Studies, a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that examines the complex and multidimensional relationships between humans and other animals.
How is the PetSpace different from other animal facilities?
There is no existing place we can point to and say “we’re creating one of those.” Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is going to be unique. Whether you are a pet parent or looking to be one, there will be many ways to enjoy the space — from attending a symposium on the science and service of pets relating to human health, to a pet photography class, to watching a classic Lassie film, to learning how to exercise a cat, to playing with a future bunny pet, or watching a puppet show in the PetPorch Theater. There will truly be something pet-related to engage each and every visitor.
How will the PetSpace focus on animal welfare?
We’re going to bring together experts in the animal and human fields — medical professionals, sociologists, archaeologists, policy influencers and more — in order to lead and advocate dialogue and awareness of public policy relating to animals as well as champion high-level discussions around the science and origins of the human-animal bond.
Will there be any special events or educational programs for children?
Wallis Annenberg PetSpace embraces opportunities to serve people of all ages and abilities. There will be engaging programs supporting core curriculum running the gamut from science and math to learning empathy. In addition to lessons there will be opportunities for reading to pets, interacting with small animals, movie watching, fun arts and crafts, and more.