There will be Dock Dog qualifiers, dog adoptions, children's crafts, Cocktails and Canines and more as part of National Dog Week, to be celebrated at the Shell Factory & Nature Park. The events will run this Thursday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 30.
National Dog Week was established in 1928 by William Lewis Judy, a dog fancier who also helped create the Dog Writer's Association of America. The last week of September each year is focused on the celebration of all canines in the nation.
"We're going to the dogs," said Shell Factory owner Tom Cronin. "We're animal lovers, and we have made the entire place completely dog-friendly. They can shop in the stores in a cart or on a leash."
There are two dog-friendly restaurants as well and, during the week, there will even be a 1-year birthday party for a special dog, and the public is invited.
"This Thursday at Dogbones Cafe we will have our first doggy birthday party," said the Shell Factory's Richard Dunmire. He has been instrumental in setting up the entire complex to be dog-friendly.
"The birthday party is for Lollypop, our dachshund, and she has invited numerous friends, human and canine, and even sent out doggy invitations."
If You Go
Shell Factory & Nature Park
National Dog Week Festivities
Thursday, Sept. 27
through Sunday, Sept. 30
Shell Factory & Nature Park
2787 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost and information
There will also be a Cocktails and Canines party Thursday, Sept. 27, at Dogbones Caf from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
"Bring your four-legged pal to meet other well-behaved dogs and your first beverage is free," said Shell Factory owner Pam Cronin. "We also offer them a bowl of water and a treat."
There will be other numerous festivities and events, including those from the many dog groups that call the Shell Factory home -Aqua Dog Sports, SunCoast DockDogs, SW Florida Wiener Dog Club and Healing Paws-Abilities Agility. All of these organizations will be celebrating National Dog Week with activities and events property-wide.
There will even be a "Doggy Church" service next Sunday. It will start at 12:30 p.m.
"We have a pastor, an associate pastor Michael Gar who officiates the ongoing services, from New Testament Baptist Church," Dunmire said. Their joint goal was to have a place for people to bring their animal loved ones, "God's creatures that were created for us with unconditional love."
This is the second year anniversary for Doggie Heaven the complex's large dog sports park, which is open to the public.
"It has been very successful in the community."
There will even be a national event - the Hogs and Dogs World Qualifier for DockDogs.
DockDogs is the world's premier Canine Aquatics Competition, and the local Aqua Dog Sports group that meets at the Shell Factory is a sanctioned DockDogs training facility.
That event will be held from Sept. 28 through 30 in Doggy Heaven, and is open to any dog that loves to swim and retrieve.
Spectators are asked to bring a can of food for shelter donations, and are encouraged to come to the event, said Vicki Tighe, owner and instructor with Aqua Dog Sports.
"This is a qualifier for the DockDogs World Championship, which will be held in Dubuque Nov. 15 through 18. Three dogs from our club have already qualified."
Tighe gives free try-outs for dogs to see if they can do the sport, and also gives lessons. To learn more about that organization, go to dockdogs.com.
The Schedule of Events includes:
n Thursday, Sept. 27- Dogbones Caf Cocktails and Canines 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
n Healing Paws - Abilities Agility Classes at 6 p.m.
n The Hogs and Dogs World Qualifier is a DockDogs national event.
DockDogs is The World's Premier Canine Aquatics Competition, and Aqua Dog Sports is a Sanctioned DockDogs training facility. The event will be held Sept. 28-30 in Doggy Heaven, and is open to any dog that loves to swim and retrieve. Spectators are asked to please bring a can of food for shelter donations. To pre-register and for more event information go to dockdogs.com or call Vicki Tighe at 464-1859, or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Friday, Sept. 28 - Dock Dogs Onsite Registration and Big Air Wave Qualifiers 4 to 6:30 p.m.
* Saturday Sept, 29 - Dock Dogs Onsite Registration, Big Air Wave Qualifiers and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* Sunday Sept. 30 - Dock Dogs Onsite Registration and Big Air Wave Qualifiers & Finals 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Doggie Church at 12:30, a half hour non-denominational service.
* Bring on the Bikers, the reason it is called Hogs and Dogs is that there also is a Bike Rally from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Also on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. admission for children 12 and under is free at The Nature Park, with a can or bag of dog food, and there will be free Canine Crafts in the EcoLab.
The Shell Factory & Nature Park is at 2787 N. Tamiami Trail.
Events are free. For more information call 995-2141.