These local events are fun outings for both dogs and their owners
A Barkin’ Good Time
Face it: We all love going out and having a good time, and dogs—as social as they are—also enjoy it! Just like children, and adults for that matter, dogs become restless. Thus it’s important to keep them occupied to help relieve boredom, assist with socialization, provide mental and physical stimulation, and a bonding experience. Plus, dogs that stay busy usually keep out of mischief, as dog owners can attest.
There are many upcoming community events in which dogs and their owners can get out of the house and have fun together. How about you and your canine pal heading out to a ballgame, running or walking in a race for a good cause, or mingling with a shopping crowd? The following activities take place during the next several months.
ENJOY SOCIAL HOUR AND SHARE THE FUN WITH FIDO
What: Dog’s Nite Out When: First Thursday of the month, November through April, 6 to 8 p.m. Where: Coconut Point, 23106 Fashion Drive, Estero; 239-9929966; simon.com/mall/coconut-point Dog’s Nite Out is held between Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill and Rodizio Grill. Enjoy socializing, activities, vendors, discounts and exclusive offers. Representatives from rescue organizations and area humane societies are in attendance.
TAKE YOUR DOG OUT TO THE BALLGAME
What: Fort Myers Miracle Bark in the Park When: Ten Saturday home baseball games throughout the year, including against the Charlotte Stone Crabs on April 20 and Palm Beach Cardinals on April 27. (Check website for times.)
Where: Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, 14400 6 Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers; 239-533-7695; milb. com/fort-myers
Bark in the Park ballgames are very popular and average about 2,000 to 3,000 fans per game, making for lively outings. “I would definitely describe them as affordable family fun,” notes Marshall Kelner, broadcast and media relations manager for the Fort Myers Miracle Baseball Club.
Tickets—for you and your dog—cost as little as $7.50 in advance. Pooches and parents sit side by side in the stadium and cheer on the team. In addition, there are plenty of activities for children, including games on the field in between innings, and the opportunity to run around on the outfield berm and to play in the “Kids’ Zone.” Leashed dogs of any size are welcome, but no other pets are allowed.
RUN OR WALK WITH YOUR POOCH AND HELP GCHS
What: The Fast and the Furriest When: Sunday, April 6, from 6 to 10 a.m. Where: Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, 14400 6 Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers; 239-533-7695; milb.com/fort-myers The Fast and the Furriest is the Gulf Coast Humane Society’s 8th annual 5-kilometer/1-mile walk. “Come and run or walk with your pooch, while helping the shelter animals of Gulf Coast Humane Society,” explains GCHS community relations coordinator Brian Wierima. The event is one of GCHS’s biggest fundraisers of
the year. Last year, 430 people took part— all for a good cause. GCHS works to provide care for animals by offering them refuge, providing their medical care and facilitating an adoptive home at its no-kill shelter.
SHOP WITH CANINE FRIENDS TO BENEFIT GCHS
What: Yappy Hour at Bell Tower Shops When: Second Friday of the month throughout the year, including Friday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Friday, April 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Bell Tower Shops, Daniels Parkway and U.S. Route 41, Fort Myers; thebelltowershops.com; 239-489-1221.
Assist the Gulf Coast Humane Society as you “enjoy festivities at Bell Tower Shops with your dog and family. Enjoy music, vendors and food," adds GCHS's Wierima. Visitors can meet adoptable dogs. Dining is available at any of eight pet-friendly restaurants.
Also, be sure to get a pic with your pooch. Pets Du Soleil Location Photography will be there. For a $20 photo session (multiple pet discounts are offered), you’ll get instant proofs and a great picture. Plus, 25 percent of session fees and package orders will go to GCHS. Find out more info at freelance .iwarp.com/AllBark_NoBite.html.
DON’T FORGET DOG PARKS
When thinking of places for outings with your canine, don’t forget dog parks. Lee County Parks & Recreation runs several parks that allow dogs. Canines can be off their leashes at some of them and others require dogs to be leashed. Visit leegov.com/parks/dog-parks. Waggin’ Tails Dog Park is at Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, in Cape Coral. Dog registration is required. Visit capecoral.net.
BENEFIT FOR ANIMAL SHELTER
And although you can’t take your dog, Cape Coral Animal Shelter’s annual benefit “Decades Party” is set for Saturday, March 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. It will be at the Wicked Rum Distillery, 131 SW 3rd Place, Cape Coral. The celebrated decade is the 1970s. Attendees will enjoy music, dance contests, costume contests, auctions, food, a cash bar and other fun activities. Tickets are $100. Information is available at capecoralanimalshelter.com.
From left: The Fast and the Furriest event raises money for the Gulf Coast Humane Society; dogs can be baseball fans too at the Fort Myers Miracle Bark in the Park.