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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
The Sun

Burgess: Furry friends enjoy Yappy Hour at Freedom Plaza


Published:

Every dog has his day, so they say, and dogs belonging to Freedom Plaza residents recently had theirs. It was called Yappy Hour.

Initiated two years ago and held on the lawn of Golf View Terrace, it has become an annual event that both Freedom Plaza residents and guests from Sun City Center enjoy.

Yappy Hour is simply happy hour with dogs present. It’s an outdoor gathering where people are invited to bring their canine companions. While those in attendance partake of wine and cheese, their dogs lap water and munch on the occasional doggie treat. While people engage in conversation, their dogs engage in sniffing their new four-footed-friends. Party rules require the dogs stay on leashes, so new-found familiarity gets neither argumentative nor amorous.

Just as human party-goers primp and dress for the occasion, their dogs were groomed and vested in party attire. Pups showed off their finery in the Pooch Parade, where awards were given in several categories. Both winners and losers (totally unaware of their status) loved prancing around and being applauded, their owners equally elated.

So other than making a few nose-to-nose contacts and allowing themselves to be admired, what do dogs do at a party? They sniff shoes, the same as they do wherever they encounter people. Evidently dogs can tell a lot about humans, at least the places they walked recently, by the shoes they wear. And since Yappy Hour is an outdoor affair, these were mostly sports shoes or sandals.

Both types of footwear are considered “safe” by doggy standards, the wearers being in control of their balance and not likely to step on tails. And as these particular wearers were attendees at a party for pets, the shoe-sniff treatment elicited lots of pats, praise and “Oh, how cute!”

Freedom Plaza dogs stay happy even without such events. Life for these dogs continues much as it was in the places their human pals moved from. They’re fed, walked, petted and pampered as always.

However, many of their canine cousins are not so fortunate. They are homeless. Some are lucky enough to find a temporary home with places like the nonprofit Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort no-kill shelter in Ruskin. It’s to help support this facility, as well as to celebrate our canine companions, that Yappy Hour was implemented. The suggested $5 entrance donation goes directly to CARE. Hopefully, our Freedom Plaza pet events, along with this article, will encourage readers to support this charitable local facility.

And to you who have no pet to give you unconditional love, puppy kisses and kitten cuddles are waiting. Call (813) 645-2273 for information.

Peggy Burgess is a Freedom Plaza Associate and columnist for The Sun.

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