Summer fun with your dog: Beaches, ballparks and sidewalk cafés


For dogs who are more interested in spectator sports than in swimming, the Humane Society of  Pinellas County is offering one last chance to Bark at the Ballpark on June 27 at Bright House Field in Clearwater. Aside from watching the Clearwater Threshers take on the Dunedin Blue Jays, dogs can participate in contests, enjoy treats and run the bases with their humans at the end of the game. Humans can adopt pets, participate in raffles and enjoy a great day out with their best buddies. Tampa dogs can get in on the fun, too. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s 4th annual Bark at the Ballpark is on July 10 at Steinbrenner Field, where the Tampa Yankees face the Brevard County Manatees.

And, of course, some dogs prefer the café scene. For these dogs, Yappy Hours and dog-friendly brunches abound. Check out monthly events at Dunedin Brewery (first Sunday) or Savannah’s Café in St. Petersburg (third Sunday). For those willing to venture further afield, try Piglet’s Pantry’s Yappy Hour (third Friday) in Mount Dora. Piglet’s Pantry is a high-end dog bakery and shop with every dog toy and dog-themed gift item imaginable, and it’s located in the center of charming Mount Dora. A more complete list of monthly, weekly, and occasional dog-friendly dining events is available online from the New Barker magazine.

Now that Memorial Day has kicked off a summer of fun, don’t forget your best friend.

Our all-time favorite spot to cool off and enjoy the best of life in Florida is the award-winning Fort De Soto dog beach. Fort De Soto's Paw Playground is separated into large-dog and small-dog fenced yards, plus there's a beautiful stretch of beach where dogs can run off leash. The Paw Playground has a rinsing and cooling station where you can wash the sand and salt water off of your dog and give him a drink of fresh water. Please be considerate and pick up after your pet — bags are available in the Paw Playground and on the dog beach. Remember that dogs must be on leashes everywhere in the park except the fenced area and in the marked section of the dog beach. Rangers do patrol and ticket violators! Our dogs enjoy rolling in the sand, watching the occasional dolphins cavorting in the bay, and chasing balls and floating toys into the water.

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