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Fun pet events around the country

It’s summer at last — and if you are traveling with your pet, be sure to add one of these fun pet-friendly events to your itinerary.
Image: Dog singing
Turn your dog into a star with the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel's Hound of Music package. Lowes hotels

It’s summer at last! If you are traveling with your pet, be sure to celebrate by adding one of these fun pet-friendly events to your itinerary.

All summer long: The Hound of Music
Headed to the music capital of Nashville? The Loews Vanderbilt Hotel is offering The Hound of Music package that will transform your dog into a singing sensation.

You and dog your will be chauffeured in a limo to the recording studio where your pooch will train with a professional voice coach before going in front of the mike to bark to his favorite karaoke beat for a chance to win a place in the "America’s Got Talent" show. The take-home CD comes in a personalized case. The Hound of Music package includes accommodation and the star treatment — a pet room service voucher for your pet to enjoy a relaxing meal after his time in the studio, a grooming session and a massage to make him feel really special. This Hound of Music package is available all summer and costs $1,599 a night. Call 615-320-1700 for reservations.

July 6  – 12: Dog Awareness Week
The River City Cluster of Dog Shows and the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services host Dog Awareness Week in San Antonio, Texas. Apart from the AKC dog show events, the packed seven-day program at the Henry Gonzales Convention Center — and surrounding Alamo and East Market Streets — includes a variety of fun events for pets, along with some celebrity meet-and-greet opportunities. You can shake paws with Stump the Sussex Spaniel, Westminster’s reigning Best in Show winner and meet the famous Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan. The program is designed to raise awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering pets in the hope of making San Antonio a no-kill city by 2012. The hot dog lunch for "hot dogs" on July 6 will definitely appeal to your pooch. Apart from the food, there are free hot dog-shaped toy giveaways too. Check out all the events here.

July 11: SurfinPaws Dog Jam
Huntington Beach, Calif. — America’s original surf city — is hosting the first annual SurfinPaws Dog Jam. All dogs are welcome. There are free surfing clinics for those who have never "hung 20" on a board before. Experienced surfing hounds can bring their own gear but the organizers will also have boards and life jackets on hand for first timers. The fun starts at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The entrance fee is $25.50 and the ticket also gives you and your dog access to the red carpet awards party being held across the street at the Waterfront Hilton Hotel from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. All pooches are invited to walk the red carpet and have their photograph taken. The event benefits the Orange Country Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Register on the day or in advance here.

July 11: Poochapalooza
The 2009 Hyperflite Skyhoundz Canine Disc Championships, the world’s largest disco dog competition, is a highlight at the fourth annual Poochapalooza event being held in Marysville, Wash. This county fair for dogs promises a fun day for both people and their pets. Pooches can enter a variety of contests, including the wackiest pet trick, best costume, best kisser, best voice, highest jumper, longest ears, and a celebrity look-alike contest. They can also try their luck at disc-catching — there will be lots of treats to reward them for their efforts. The event runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Asbery Field at Totem Middle School, 4th Street and Alder Avenue, in downtown Marysville. Admission is free, however donations are appreciated and will go towards developing the city’s first off leash dog park. Check here for more details.

August 6: In the Kitchen with Rick
The Hotel Monaco in Portland, Ore., is hosting a baking demonstration to teach pet parents how to make droolicious dog treats. Rick Woodford, creator of Dog Stew, a brand of homemade dog food made in the city, and author of the upcoming book "Feed Your Best Friend Better," will demonstrate his bacon "yappetizers". Canine guests are invited to taste test. If you can’t make this date, the hotel hosts a Mutt Mixer on the first Thursday of every month throughout the summer between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Check here for details.

August 8 and 9: Dog Days of Summer
Mutt Lynch Winery is celebrating its fifth annual Dog Days of Summer event. It’s a wonderful opportunity to taste new wines, socialize in this magnificent vineyard setting and enjoy the dog art on exhibition. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Healdsburg Animal Shelter; a private, nonprofit animal welfare organization. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Admission is $10 per person, and dogs are free. However, a “poop” tax or “bark” tax will be charged for wayward dogs and donated to the shelter too. Check here for directions and details.

August 12: Matilda’s 14th Birthday Bash
Matilda, the famous cat at the Algonquin Hotel is hosting her 14th birthday party that promises to be a glamorous celebrity-attended event. The hotel is very pet-friendly. Everyone is welcome, and yes, Matilda likes dogs. There will be an adoption event outside the hotel in the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the party begins at 5 p.m. “Mewdels” wearing glamorous outfits will walk the catwalk to raise money for the North Shore Animal League. Entrance is $5 and you can pay at the door or RSVP to Matilda at 212-419-9197.

August 28-30: Fido's Festival USA 2008
This event's theme is tropical and all dogs are welcome. There’s no need to dress up, but for those that do, there are prizes to be won in the best beachcomber competition. Naturally, there will be games to play, Frisbees to chase and plenty to eat. The event takes place at the Salem County Fairgrounds in Woodstown, N.J., from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event for $12, a weekend pass is $25, and dogs and kids under 12 are free. You can camp out at the fairground over the weekend too. Check here for more details.

November 11-15: The Doggie Olympics
The world’s best dog athletes will gather in Scottsdale, Arizona to compete in a variety of events such as agility and flyball, dock jumping, go to ground, canine musical freestyles, herding, rally-o, course-a-lure and more at the Cynosport World Games, nicknamed the Doggie Olympics.

The event includes demonstrations and opportunities to try some fun activities with your dog, and of course, several exhibits and vendors selling loads of great must-haves for Fido.

For those who would like their dogs to compete, now is the time to start training and take part in the various qualifying events that are currently being held around the country until September. Visit the U.S. Dog Agility Association Web site for detailed information.

is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. She is the recent recipient of the Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life Award. Her work appears in many national and international publications.