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Matt Malone doesn’t mind being called a professional dumpster diver. He tells me this a little after 2 am on the morning of July 7 as we cruise the trash receptacles behind the stores of a shopping center just off the Capital of Texas Highway in Austin. Given the image that conjures, though, it’s worth pointing out that Malone has a pretty good day job, earning a six-figure salary as a security specialist for Slait Consulting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Apocalypse. I’m not a pessimist by nature, but disaster scenarios have been forced on me by the culture’s obsession with them.
The 4th Street stairs are famously crowded with social climbers, but Santa Monica’s best staircases are the secret ones across the canyon. Moving inland along Mesa Road, where it intersects West Channel Road, make a quick left onto Sycamore Road. Passing house number 380, climb the staircase hidden on your right to Mesa.
Kirsten McMillan (Dog Club LA, 818-259-2023) is a third-generation animal trainer. Lions, tigers, and bears don’t faze her. Dogs are a cinch. Listen and learn
Janene Zakrajsek’s ancestors were carnivores. “I’m Slovenian,” says the co-owner, with husband Robert Gaudio, of Pussy & Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar (564 S. Main St., downtown, 213-438-0900; 4818 E. 2nd St., Long Beach).
Sheepherding instructor Janna Duncan (661-266-8418) puts border collies, Welsh corgis, and other purebreds and mutts through some exhilarating exercise, as they nip and nudge the real thing. Sessions ($45 an hour) are held at her Drummond Ranch on Angeles Crest Highway or in a pasture in Malibu.
A pedigree is posh. But a portrait is forever. Culver City-based artist Christopher Galligan paints cats, dogs, rabbits, and fish (upcoming commissions include a potbellied pig and a scorpion).
Animals big and small can get what they need at this funky country store (so can humans in search of wind chimes and garden gnomes).
“Frances, my eight-year-old daughter, fiercely defends the notion of our chickens as “pets.” To us, her skeptical parents, our relationship falls something short of the normal pet-human bond. Our hens don’t relish our presence.
“Animal custom fabrication”—that’s one way to describe what Bischoff’s Taxidermy (818-843-7561) can do for you and your pet, may it rest in peace. Founded in 1922, the Burbank institution can preserve just about any animal, from mice and hamsters to horses (they immortalized Roy Rogers’s Trigger in 1965).
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