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Every dog has his day

If the recent comedy hit Best of Show is all you know about dog shows, consider checking out the AKC-sanctioned Tampa Bay Kennel Club Dog Show, today through Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The all-breed event starts out small with about 500 dogs 11 a.m.-8 p.m. today, builds to 1,800 dogs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, and then to 2,200, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

This isn't just for folks who beribbon their chows and dream of Westminster. "It's a good place for people to go to get familiar with breeds, talk to handlers and find out what to expect if they get a puppy," said event coordinator Mary Manning. "We encourage people to come with their families."

But is it at all like Best of Show? "That was hysterical," laughed Manning, who bred basset hounds for 25 years. "It's a bit of an exaggeration, but that's pretty much it. There really are people who think of their dogs as their children."

The fairgrounds are on U.S. 301 off Interstate 4, Tampa. Admission is $3 adults, $1 for ages 5-11; parking $5. Call (813) 264-9836 or (813) 621-7821.