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It’s so hot, we saw two trees fighting over a dog.

It’s the day after the 4th of July and members of our household (dogs and humans) came out of it pretty much unscathed. We won’t count the one pile of poop, dropped in-house (by one of the dogs) as a result of the rain and constant setting off of fireworks by the neighbors. Four dogs, one accident – pretty decent odds. Still, I wonder why we were the ones uncomfortable with walking down the street and asking the neighbors for a reprieve from the constant barrage of explosions. We decided it would be better to just hunker down with the pups and wait it out. Better that, than being classified as cranky neighbors, or worse, unpatriotic.

We ventured outdoors with the dogs around midnight to the distant sound of fireworks. There were spent casings on the back deck. A cloud of smoke hung in the air from the aftermath of the neighbor’s grand finale. A little unsettling. As someone wrote us on Facebook: all is quiet for now. Until New Year’s Eve.

Tonight at 7p on CNN’s Headline News Network, Jane Velez Mitchell will devote an hour on another explosive subject: that of animal rights. Among other things, she will be speaking with Bob Barker and Pierce Brosnan. Should be a heated hour of discussions and footage.

Tampa Bay Rays (and dog lover) James Shields pitched a sizzlin’ game last night against the Twins, giving him his 50th career victory. Now that’s hot. The Rays are playing at home tonight against Boston. It’ll be the start of a seven-game series at home.

Hot ticket item of the week for dog lovers: This coming Saturday, The New Barker is co-hosting Bark at the Ballpark with the Tampa Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Party with your dogs on the promenade and then catch some smokin’ minor league ball as the Tampa Yankees take on the Brevard Manatees. Dogs and humans must have a ticket to get in. And there are some free ones floating around town: Downtown Dogs in Tampa’s Hyde Park; Groovy Cats & Dogs in Carrollwood; Fluffy Puppies, Clearwater location; Paw Paws Boutique in Countryside Mall; One Lucky Dog and Pawsitively Posh Pooch, each on 4th Street NE, St. Pete; Gone to the Dogs on St. Pete Beach. See you at the ballpark.

And, be on the lookout for the summer edition of The New Barker, coming out soon. It’s going to be hotter than (ahem) a fire cracker lit on both ends. Bada BANG.

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