The Month of October Officially Renamed Dogtober.

Florida may not have four discernible seasons, but one look at the calendar and POOF. The Dog Days of Summer are over. October marks the beginning of what promises to be a very busy dog-social season. And Floridians love to party aplenty with their pups.

Tonight (Wed., 9/29) those partying pups with Dunedin Dog Rescue ( are closing out their summer with Dog Days of Summer, Gone at Decker Ross Interiors, 1445 Court Street in Clearwater. We hear some great food and entertainment will be available plus a chance to meet artist Anna Hamilton, she of the now famous DogEden Dog Mural in Dunedin and the soon-to-be famous PupArt Mural at Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City. If you want your dog to be forever immortalized as a Pirate Pup in Ybor, visit the following link and scroll down for sign-up information. Cool cats are invited.

Tomorrow night in Bradenton at the Roo (as the Kangaroo Pub is affectionately known), it’s Yappy Hour from 5p-8p. The Pub is located at 427 12th Street W. on Old Main Street.

The New Barker Pick-of-the-Week Pup Event goes to the Blessing of the Animals this Saturday, just outside the fabulously cool SONO Cafe: adjacent to the Tampa Museum of Art and overlooking the Curtis Hixon Dog Park. In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecology, the wonderful rescue group, St. Francis Society Animal Rescue is hosting the free event with their Adoptables on hand. Bring chairs and/or blankets to enjoy the view overlooking the water and the University of Tampa’s historical minarets. The vendor-filled event starts at 3p with an inter-faith service and blessing starting at 4p-7p. This is going to be a big one, so come early, bring plenty of water for yourself and pets. And, remember to count your blessings – each and every furry one of them.

Of course, there are plenty of Blessings of the Animals going on across Florida all weekend. The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is officially October 4 and commemorates his life. Two other Blessings taking place this Saturday worth mentioning: a Pet Fair with Blessings, starting at 10a at Lake Seminole Presbyterian Church at 8505-113th Street Seminole (Pinellas County) and in Sarasota at St. Wilfred Episcopal Church, benefiting the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Click here for an abbreviated list with a web address to find more Blessings in your zip code. St_Francis_of_Assisi@SONO

If you’re looking for some high-speed action this weekend, check out the Cruising 4 Critters III hosted by the Gulf Coast Harley-Davidson, benefiting the Humane Society of Pinellas.

Another high-speed, action-packed event will be at the Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg, 4400-B 34th Street (US Hwy 19). The Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club is hosting an Obedience and Rally. Whew – those dogs are fast and fun to watch.

Planning a little bit ahead – next Saturday (October 9) it’s the Natural Paws-A-Palooza hosted by Groovy Cats and Dogs, Carrollwood (Tampa). This will be an educational and entertaining afternoon of health and wellness for your pets. Area pet wellness and lifestyle experts, including Yvonne Guibert, will be on-hand along with veterinarians, trainers and nutritionists. It’s all free and there should be some cool handouts in the goody bags.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for Dogtober’s dog events. The Halloween events continue to be added to so be sure to keep checking back. And if an event hasn’t been included, well, 50 lashes with a wet Labrador Retriever’s tail. Send it along to

Remember to dog responsibly.

Weekend Pupdates for You and Your Dog.

There is a slight change in the weather. A tinge of fall perhaps? Well, this is Florida, and the weather here has been known to play tricks on its residents. Football season is here, but we’re not entirely done with hot weather. However, the dog-friendly activities have certainly kicked up a couple of notches, indicating that fall is just around the corner and folks want to get out. Seminoles, Gators, Bulls and Bucs fans can show their team spirit with some dog accessories from your favorite dog boutiques and stores. And let’s not forget our Tampa Bay Rays team spirit. You’ll find the best selections of dog gear with a wide variety of price points at places like Pet Food Warehouse, One Lucky Dog and Pawsitively Posh Pooch in St. Pete and Groovy Cats and Dogs in Tampa’s Carrollwood.

Today at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa it’s the AKC’s Responsible Dog Ownership Day. It’s a wonderful collaboration between the Tampa Bay, Brandon, Clearwater and Pasco Kennel Clubs and various breed-specific rescue groups. There is no cost, except for a $5.00 parking fee, it’s indoors and air-conditioned. If you’re interested in a particular breed of dog, this is the place to be today. Come out and speak to AKC handlers, groomers and trainers. Find out about the personality of a particular breed and if that dog would be a fit with your family and lifestyle. Come see agility demonstrations and even put your own dog through some agility tests – no experience necessary. The best message one can take away from the show might be the fact that there is a rescue group for almost any breed of dog. From puppies to seniors. Visit The New Barker for free goodie bags with coupons from Downtown Dogs, Fluffy Puppies, Tampa Bay Area Grooming Academy and more. Julie Ashlock with Canine Comfort Pet Massage will be giving massages at The New Barker booth. We’ll also be raffling a couple of grand prize giveaways, including some super cool stuff from Pet Flys. The show goes on from 9am until 5pm, today only.

While you’re in Tampa, consider stopping by Gaspar’s Grotto for their monthly Pets on the Patio Yappy Hour. Summer hours for today’s event are 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The Grotto’s Galley has been completely renovated and they’re introducing a fabulous new menu from Chef Craig Smith. Get a preview tonight and stay tuned to The New Barker online calendar and PupDates as we announce a week’s worth of Pirate, Pups and Partying at Gaspar’s Grotto, 1805 7th Avenue in Ybor City.

Does your dog like to swim? Then the Pup Splash at Ross Norton Pool and Park in Clearwater just might be the ticket for you and your dog, located at 1426 South MLK Jr. Avenue in Clearwater. Laura Allen Studios will be taking photos for The New Barker, so get your dog on out to the pool. Fluffy Puppies will be handing out some coupons and The New Barker will be giving away subscriptions. The hours are 10 a.m. until Noon for dogs weighing less than 20 pounds; Noon until 2 p.m. for dogs weighing more than 20 pounds.

Today’s weather is definitely Farmer’s Market weather. And one of the prettiest in the area is probably Sarasota’s Farmers Market, downtown. Grab a cup o’ java at Java Dawg. You can’t miss it: The big red double bus with the long line. The fresh artisan-roasted coffee is worth the wait. Then stroll through the fresh produce, colorful plants and be sure to stop by Wet Noses Dog Boutique’s own booth. Say hello to Christine. She always has something special to say and hand out. For a map and directions:

Tomorrow at the Dunedin Brewery, it’s Dunedin Dog Rescue’s monthly Suds on Sunday. Dogs get bathed and the owners get a free beer. It’s the best deal in town and becoming one of the most popular dog events in the South. Really. Where else can you hear some eclectic live music, get your dog washed and taste some of the most delicious micro-brewed beer ever? And while you’re in Dunedin, stop by Skip’s Bar and Grill to check out the famous DogEden art wall where hundreds of dogs (and cats) have been painted by artist Anna Hamilton. For location and directions to the Dunedin Brewery:

It’s a fun-packed, dog-friendly kind of weekend. Remember to have enough water on-hand for you and your dog. Email your photos ( of these and any other events you’ve visited. You and your dog could be in the next issue of The New Barker.