Make a date with your dog. We have some regular gatherings where people share a "yappy hour" with their dogs and often raise money for animal causes. And there are several can't-miss festivals this weekend and down the road where that pet costume will come in handy — if Spike hasn't already buried it in the back yard.
. Regular gatherings
Ales for Tails The first Saturday of every month, Yard of Ale, 406 S Howard Ave. in Hyde Park, invites you to bring your four-legged friends and enjoy drink specials and raffle prizes with a $5 donation for the Humane Society from 5 to 7 p.m. The next one is Saturday.
Suds on Sunday One Sunday each month (including this Sunday), the Dunedin Brewery literally turns into a dog spa mecca. The Dunedin Doggie Rescue's monthly fundraiser includes a dog wash, ear cleanings, etc. Washes $6-$12, depending on the dog size; nail trims $7; ear cleanings $3. Owners receive a Dunedin brew for every dog wash at 937 Douglas Ave.
Yappy Hour The third Friday of every month, the Sono Cafe terrace at the Tampa Museum of Art, overlooking Curtis Hixon Park's dog play area, is a yappy hour. Leashed dogs and their owners meet for drink specials, doggie treats and paw-lickin' goodies from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at 120 Gasparilla Plaza. Next one is April 15.
. Down the road
Bark Island April 9: Dogs and their owners are welcome to come to the beach. Must have current vaccination record to enter. Bring a leash. $7 per car or walk-up patron. Alfred McKethan/Pine Island Park, 10800 Pine Island Drive, Weeki Wachee. 7 a.m.
Bark at the Ball Park IV April 10: Take your dog to the ball game. Fido is welcome to join you to see the Clearwater Threshers take on the Dunedin Blue Jays and check out adoptable pets, pet-friendly raffle baskets and a post-game run of the bases at your side. Tickets are $5-$9 humans, $5 dogs. (727) 467-4457. Gates open at noon, and the game is at 1 p.m.
Family Fun Fest and Doggie Daze April 16: This carnival for pets and people features doggie demonstrations and an Easter Bonnet Pet Parade, doggie kissing booth and children's activities on the waterfront lot next to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater. Free. 10 a.m.
Bark in the Park April 16: Activities include contests for Frisbee toss, novice and open obedience and best dressed dog. Proceeds from all contest entries benefit the purchase of bulletproof vest for active duty K-9 police dogs and the retired police dog medical fund. It's at the England Brothers Bandshell Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Free; $10 per contest. 10 a.m.
SPCA Pet Walk Oct. 15. The SPCA's 21st annual 3K Pet Walk will once again line up walkers for the cause in Straub Park. This is a fun, 1.8-mile walk through the streets and along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. There are lots of giveaways and a pet Halloween costume contest at one of the largest and longest-running pet walks in Florida.