Th­ese lo­cal events are fun out­ings for both dogs and their own­ers

RSWLiving - - Department­s - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

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.


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; si­­conut-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.


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.


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;­ers 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.


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; the­bell­tow­er­; 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 free­lance­lBark_NoBite.html.


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 lee­ Wag­gin’ Tails Dog Park is at Ro­tary Park En­vi­ron­men­tal Cen­ter, 5505 Rose Gar­den Road, in Cape Coral. Dog reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired. Visit capec­o­


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 capec­o­ralan­i­mal­shel­

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.

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