Advertisement
  1. Things to Do

Tampa's Pet-A-Palooza a hit with dogs and owners

Nine-year-old Lina Bowers, left, watches Chili, a 1-year-old shelty, skateboard down the stairs as 9-year-old Lucy Allan, right, waits with Twig for their turn to perform during Pet-A-Palooza outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday. Among other favorite attractions at the event were kiddie pools and Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel. See story, 6B. To see more from Saturday’s activities, go to Links in today’s Times at tampabay.com.
Published May 19, 2013

TAMPA — Sure, the skateboarding shelties and long-jumping dogs wowed the crowd. And yes, the water-skiing squirrel elicited oohs and ahhs.

But, for many at Pet-A-Palooza, there was a much cooler attraction waiting.

As temperatures climbed into the 80s outside Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, dogs of all shapes and sizes flocked to the plastic kiddie pools scattered across the property.

"He loves to swim," said Matt Will, of Tampa. "Every time I try to tug him out of there, he doesn't want to come."

Standing firm, Rue, a 2-year-old pit bull mix the color of chocolate, waded in the shallow water with his tongue hanging out.

Hunter, a black and white border collie, had the same idea.

"We saw this as soon as we walked in and he went straight for it," said his owner, Kristi Albright, of Plant City, as Hunter splashed around at her feet.

After a quick dip, though, it was back to the free event's main entertainment, including a show by Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel.

Just like in her cameo in the movie Anchorman, Twiggy glided across the water on two legs as a remote-control boat pulled her along.

Lou Ann Best of Deltona has been training squirrels (all named Twiggy) for 33 years. What started as a joke has turned into a job that has taken Best and her squirrels around the world.

"It's kind of like training a dog or a husband," Best said. "You just give lots of love and affection and tell them the same thing over and over."

After her husband's death in 1997 due to a boating accident, Best tweaked the show to include information on water safety for children.

Twiggy wears a red, white and blue squirrel-sized life jacket to help demonstrate the point.

Also popular Saturday were Twig and Chili, the skateboarding shelties, and the Dock Dogs competition where anyone could enter a dog for the chance to see if it could jump the farthest into a 40-foot-long pool.

The day was also a chance to socialize — for dogs and their owners.

Members of the Chihuahuas of Tampa Bay Area group met up and visited the various organizations' booths while pushing their tiny pups in strollers.

"Events like this allow them to get used to the big dogs and keeps them socialized and well-adjusted,' said Debbie Flamboe, of Seminole. Her dog, Isabella Rose, has her own leopard print stroller that helps keep the small dog out of harm's way.

And for groups such as Heidi's Legacy Dog Rescue of Lithia, it was a chance to teach others about the importance of adoption.

"We have 132 dogs of every breed and size who need homes," said the group's president Lori Hoffman. The dogs all currently stay in foster homes, she said.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. MICHELE MILLER | Times 2018
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will roll into downtown New Port Richey for the Cotee River Bike Fest held Oct. 11-13. Times (2018)
    The weekend event brings thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to town while benefiting local charities.
  2. Bigger. Taller. Glitzier. A $720 million expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa has added a 14-story hotel, right, next to the casino's original hotel on the left. Richard Danielson
    Nicole Kidman and Christie Brinkley walked the red carpet, and two members of the Wallenda family walked a high wire strung between the casino’s two hotel towers.
  3. The Cotee River Bike Fest will be held Oct. 11-13 in downtown New Port Richey. Times
    Local offerings abound for those wanting to get out and about.
  4. The African American Heritage Trail in St. Petersburg begins at the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    It has been five years since the historic trail celebrated its grand opening, but many still don’t know it’s there.
  5. The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride combines dapper duds and vintage-inspired bikes on a ride to raise money for men's health charities. Mari Sabra
    The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride returns to Tampa Bay as local motorcyclists join a worldwide run to raise money for men’s health charities.
  6. Natalie D'Alessandro and Izaac Deal break out into dance during the inaugural Pride Festival in 2018 in downtown New Port Richey. MICHELE MILLER  |  Times (2018)
    New Port Richey gathering will feature a week of lead-up events.
  7. Suzanne Natzke, an artist and teacher with the Pasco Fine Arts Council, arranges her watercolor paintings for an upcoming exhibit, 'Moments in Time.' The exhibit will be held through Oct. 21 at the council's new gallery at Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel. MICHELE MILLER  |  Michele Miller
    The countywide Council will exhibit work at the Avalon Park West community.
  8. The Tampa Bay Lightning has tapped Cigar City Brewing to bring its Jai Alai, Guayabera, and Florida Cracker beers to Amalie Arena as the team’s official craft beer partner. (Photo via Tampa Bay Lightning) Tampa Bay Lightning
    Cigar City also will move its popular annual Hunahpu’s Beer Festival to Amalie Arena starting next March.
  9. Pinellas County resident and bestselling author Lisa Unger. Courtesy of Jay Nolan
    Plus, Tampa’s Sulphur Springs Museum will host Raymond Arsenault for a discussion about ‘Arthur Ashe: A Life.’
  10. Cyclists make their way north at Main Street in Dunedin along the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The trail runs from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. There are several options for food and drinks along the trail. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    From the breweries of Dunedin to the Tampa Riverwalk, these rides show off Tampa Bay’s character
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement