A French Bulldog. Via Pixabay.

If you want to adopt that perfect pooch, the high-tech world arrives Saturday in Playa Vista with a “Pet Vision Wall” touch screen, interactive “PetBooks” and mechanical — and, of course, real — dogs and cats.

You don’t just wander by cages to pick out your family’s new canine or feline friend, you’ll be in for a whole new experience in “adoption suites” to find the right kinds of animals who become “teachers and healers” showing how to “live and love” at the moment.

Grand-opening festivities will be held in Playa Vista Saturday for this unique facility celebrating the relationship between people and their pets, and working to find homes for animals.

The Annenberg PetSpace is billed as “the first destination of its kind with a combined focus on adoption, education and academic investigation into the origin, evolution and dynamics of the bond between people and their animals.”

The opening festivities will start at noon at 12005 Bluff Creek Drive, with free food trucks, a DJ and emcee, behind-the-scenes tours, rescued animal adoptions and other activities for all ages, according to the Annenberg Foundation.

A core goal and activity of the space is pet adoption, according to the foundation. Starting on opening day, 40 adoptable dogs and 40 adoptable cats from Los Angeles County shelters will be housed in “adoption suites featuring state-of-the-art interactive digital displays called PetBooks, where, with just a touch, visitors can get answers to questions about each animal and learn what’s needed to care for them.”

Visitors will encounter a giant touch screen called the “PetVision Wall” to help them tour Annenberg PetSpace and find the perfect pet.

“In my life, animals have been a profound gift — not just dear companions, but teachers and healers, showing how to live and love fully and in the moment. That’s why the opening of Annenberg PetSpace is so thrilling for me,” said the foundation’s chair and CEO, Wallis Annenberg.

“It will be a world-class space in which to study the joys and mysteries of life in all its forms. It will be an innovative and interactive place for families to engage with animals and animal lovers of all kinds. And it will be a chance for me to pass on the kind of awe and affection and insight animals have provided me for all my years,” she said.

From conception of PetSpace to its design to construction, the Annenberg team worked with Los Angeles area animal welfare organizations, including Los Angeles Animal Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, spcaLA and the Humane Association of California.

An animatronic dog and cat welcome visitors, and the space also features a human-powered hamster wheel, places for children to climb and explore, a slide, and several areas where animal adoption specialists can bring available dogs, cats and rabbits to interact with visitors.

The foundation has also created the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute “to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship, high- level policy discourse and public education on the relationship between human beings and their domestic animals.”

The first group of Annenberg PetSpace Fellows — experts in veterinary medicine, sociology, cognitive science, zoology, animal behavior, history, genomics, and urban ecology — gathered in March at the Annenberg PetSpace and the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in the Coachella Valley to discuss opportunities for engaging academics around the world in collaborative research and dialogue on humans’ relationship with animals. The participants plan to publish a paper on their findings and recommendations.

Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, a  Barnard College researcher in dog cognition, said, “As Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Institute Fellows, this group is forging a new way to think about the human-animal relationship.

We are each informed by different academic and theoretical perspectives which have an overlap of interest, but divergent histories and methods,” she said. “The study of human-animal interaction needs this kind of interdisciplinary approach as the field evolves and grows. It’s an honor to work with Annenberg PetSpace to advance the study of the human-animal bond.”

For more information on adoptions, volunteering, programs, hours and more, visit annenbergpetspace.org .

—City News Service

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