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This is the most difficult week of the year for the folks at Canine Assisted Therapy, who bring their dogs to anniversary events for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School families each Feb. 14.
This year the week will end with a little light — an event called Wags, Whiskers & Wine in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19-20, an opportunity to honor the work of C.A.T. and donate to the cause.
The party is one of a half-dozen events beginning this weekend that allow dog lovers across South Florida to celebrate the uncommon bond between dog and human.
“It’s that unconditional love that you can’t get anywhere else,” says Courtney Trzcinski, director of outreach and development at Oakland Park-based Canine Assisted Therapy.
C.A.T. dogs can be found interacting with students on the autism spectrum, isolated seniors, trauma victims, veterans and others. This has included work with families and first-responders at the Surfside condominium collapse and at Miramar High School after a student was killed, allegedly by three classmates.
Donations go to evaluate new dogs and their owners, get them trained and deployed where they are needed most, Trzcinski says.
For the past couple of years of the pandemic, C.A.T. has done a lot of work in local hospitals, not only with patients, but with the men and women to treat them. Trzcinski has witnessed emotional scenes in this setting.
“This ICU nurse came in, took her shoes off and sat down on the floor, said not a word, and just grabbed onto the dog and hugged, tight. The dog just settled in, and she held on and cried for dear life. It was so moving,” Trzcinski says.
Below is more information on where to help C.A.T. and other organizations that work with dogs do this important work. The confluence of these events may be tied to National Love Your Pet Day on Sunday, but any day is a good one to hang out with a dog.
Wags, Whiskers & Wine will bring a two-day, family-friendly, dogs-definitely food and wine event to Huizenga Plaza on the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and Sunday.
Running from 1 to 8:30 p.m. each day, WW&W will include music, Spanish sangrias, a food court, marketplace, pet-promenade, raffle drawings and more. There will be a full cocktail bar, with craft beer, gourmet coffee, tea and smoothies also available.
Proceeds benefit Canine Assisted Therapy, the South Florida nonprofit that works to improve the emotional health and well-being of children and adults through the human-animal bond. The organization will have therapy dogs on site. Visit CATDogs.org.
Tickets cost $20 and include two glasses of sangria. Children 12 and younger get in free when accompanied by an adult. Leashed dogs are welcome. The event is sponsored by Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and Versare LLC.
Huizenga Plaza is at 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. For tickets and more information, visit SangriaWeekend.info.
The 21st annual Barry Crown Walk for the Animals fundraiser for the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League returns to Meyer Amphitheatre in downtown West Palm Beach 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
The walk, for those with two and four legs, will be led by a dog who gets around best on three legs.
The official mascot of the event is Olivia, a lab mix who was found abandoned outside a home last fall with a traumatic injury that left the bone in her right leg exposed. Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control found it necessary to amputate Olivia’s right paw and she was then taken to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League for more medical care and TLC.
During her recovery, Olivia’s upbeat personality started to shine through, and she was among the dogs featured at Peggy Adams’ annual Bark Back Benefit music festival in November, where she was adopted.
“I felt a bond I can’t describe,” says her adopter, Jenn. “She seemed to be comfortable with me right away, and since the day we adopted her she’s always by my side. She is so loving towards everyone.”
Saturday’s walk will be accompanied by a range of vendors, entertainment, demonstrations and a silent auction. Best to come costumed for the contests (free to enter, but donation appreciated), which begin at 11 a.m. in categories including best dressed, most creative, owner-pet look-alike and best in show.
Meyer Amphitheatre is at 104 Datura St., West Palm Beach. To register as an individual fundraiser, join a team or register your own team, visit WalkWithPeggy.org.
The second annual Fur the Love Pet Fest will set up 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in a new location on Fort Lauderdale beach at The LOOP (Las Olas Oceanside Park).
A benefit for Oakland Park-based 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida, the party will tip its cap to Coachella with a theme called Pupchella, with guests encouraged to dress in flower crowns, tie-dye and boho accessories (dogs, too). A variety of food, fashion and pet-product vendors and activities (yes, dog yoga and a fashion show) are scheduled, as well as a performance by JJ and the Florida Oranges during the VIP Bark Brunch (tickets start at $110 for two people and two dogs).
In sickness and in health
The inaugural Broward Bark for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and a celebration of cancer survivors and their nurturing canine companions, takes place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at T.Y. Park in Hollywood.
The event includes doggie costume contests, a kid’s area, DJ, food pop-ups and a small vendor market. The Humane Society of Broward County will be on hand, accompanied by Cassie’s Cause (Broward Honor Society students), who will collect food, toys and donations for HSBC.
Admission is free; dog registration is $10 in advance, $15 at the event. 100% of proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.
T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park is at 3300 N. Park Road, Hollywood. The county park has an entry fee of $1.50 per person (5 and younger free). For more information on the event and registration, visit the Eventbrite page at BrowardBarkForLife.eventbrite.com.
The good folks at local nonprofit Abandoned Pet Rescue will be at Gateway Cinema in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday afternoon for screenings of the buddy comedy “Dog,” in which Channing Tatum gets upstaged by a Belgian Malinois named Lulu.
Fort Lauderdale-based APR, one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in South Florida, will have adoptable pets at the theater from 12:45 to 4:15 p.m. Screenings of “Dog” are at 1:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
The Gateway Cinema is at 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $9 (plus fee) for the 1:15 p.m. show, $12 (plus fee) for the latter screenings. Call 954-278-8966 or visit FLIFF.com, AbandonedPetRescue.org.
Looking forward to Doggie-Palooza
Looking ahead to next weekend, the city of Plantation will host the 20th annual edition of its beloved Doggie-Palooza 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Happy Tails Dog Park.
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The event includes a variety of local vendors, police K-9 demonstrations, a frisbee dog show, pet adoptions and more. There also will be pet (and owner) costume contests and a best-pet-trick competition.
The expo will collect an entrance fee of $2 per human to be donated to local nonprofit Good Karma Pet Rescue.