On Saturday, pack the sunscreen, water bowl and leash, and escape to an island with your four-footed friend.
Your destination is Honeymoon Island State Park, where the 16th annual Mutt Strut, hosted by the Humane Society of Pinellas, takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"It's a great way for people to show off their dog and meet other dog lovers," said Twila Cole, special-events coordinator for the Clearwater shelter.
Your dog's day out includes a mile-long stroll around Osprey Trail, agility demonstrations, games, shopping for the latest pet products and perhaps winning a prize or two.
You'll be helping homeless animals when you strut your mutt.
The walk, led by the shelter's costumed mascots Duncan (a dog) and Daisy (a cat), officially begins at 10:30 a.m. Walkers collect donations individually or form "packs" and collect.
Prizes go to the biggest fundraisers. The first 400 walkers receive "wag bags" filled with goodies. Everyone who raises money receives a dog bandana, and those who raise $25 or more get a T-shirt as well.
Last year, about 1,200 humans and their pet pals participated in the shelter's signature event. "We expect to raise over $60,000," said Cole, including collections, donations and sponsorships.
In the picnic area, look for breed rescue groups, expert advice, and vendors selling crafts, clothes, leashes and toys.
Animal Planet Pet Video, a subsidiary of Animal Planet, will hand out cat- and dog-friendly DVDs so the furry kids can watch a little TV while home alone.
The videos feature birds, fish, squirrels, bunnies and other subjects of interest. They have "seven layers of sounds only animals can hear," said Gail Armstrong, spokeswoman for the video company.
They will also conduct a talent search for future training videos, which are distributed nationwide to animal welfare organizations.
Don't miss the agility dogs, trained at the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club.
A raffle for gift baskets features a weekend stay at TradeWinds Island Resort. Cole said her favorite basket includes human and pet gifts and a Rooms to Go gift certificate, "because we all know puppies chew."
Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at [email protected]