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'Tampa Bay Pup Crawl' a howling good time for dogs, owners

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Published:   |   Updated: August 3, 2013 at 07:58 PM

TAMPA - The dog days of summer hit full stride Saturday evening when scores of pets and their owners walked in the Humane Society of Tampa Bay Pup Crawl.

The fundraiser began at MacDinton's Irish Pub, 405 S. Howard Ave., and proceeded for hour-long stops at three more dog-friendly South Tampa nightspots, concluding at 9 p.m.

"This is the first Pup Crawl, and so far it's a success," said Ornella Varchi, the local Humane Society's special events coordinator, as dogs and their owners mingled around MacDinton's patio bar. "It's a motley crew, and everybody is getting along and having a great time."

Dog lover Carmen Gordon of South Tampa arrived carrying Santino, her 4-year-old toy Yorkie in a "pupoose" strapped across her torso. On a leash, she held a larger French bulldog, Marty. Husband Jack was accompanied by the family's biggest dog, Lucy, an 85-pound American bulldog.

"The American and the French are rescued," Carmen said of the two dogs adopted from animal shelters.

Another South Tampa resident, Thip Phouvieng, brought her two pugs to the bar, but the large number of dogs there was a surprise.

"I had no idea this was going on," she said of the fundraiser. "They've been to this bar, in particular, since they were little," she said of Bonzai and Samurai, her two 4-year-old pugs.

Every hour, the crawl moved to another bar: Yard of Ale, World of Beer and, finally, The Dubliner Irish Pub. The Pub Crawl entry fee to benefit the Humane Society - $20 at the door, $15 in advance - included drink specials at each stop.

At every bar on the circuit, Humane Society volunteers paraded dogs available for adoption. The ploy was ideal for the obviously pet-friendly audience. "If there's a pug, I'll probably take him" said Phouvieng.

Varchi said another Pup Crawl likely will be scheduled, probably in South Tampa again. "We always work very closely with a lot of bars in Hyde Park Village," she said.

gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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