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Puttin' on the Dog 

This weekend, Heavy Petting is encouraged

Hello, darling readers. You're looking particularly lovely, enviably svelte, positively aglow in these waning days of summer. Is that a new shirt? No? Well, anyway, it's stunning, and it'd be perfect for an evening of Heavy Petting. Ouch! That's quite a masterful shin-kick you have. But truly, we're not being fresh -- we're just spreading the good word about the Heavy Petting Show, a superlative shindig for pets and their people.

The party's from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, September 24, at 4191 Manchester Avenue -- and honestly, we don't know how the Heavy Petting organizers have managed to cram so much fun into a five-hour span. You and Sir Pugglesworth can move all six feet to the music of singer-songwriter Brandy Johnson, roots-rebels Miles of Wire and power trio Thos, among others. Refuel with yummy noshes from area eateries and cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (just water for Pugglesworth, of course, even if he tries to trick you by donning a foam trucker hat). Enjoy comedy from the Laughs on the Landing improv group, or catch one of several dog-centric independent flicks screening courtesy of the DogFest Film Festival. Then enter your furry amigo in the Stupid Pet Tricks Contest, pay a visit to the pet psychic ("I see...shoe-eating..."), and take cute-as-pie pictures in the photo booth.

And as if all of this wasn't enough (and, believe us, we only have room for about half of it -- check out the adorably designed for the complete details), local artists are exhibiting pieces they've created specifically for the Heavy Petting Show. Bid on the works all night, knowing that the money (plus your suggested at-the-door donation of $5 to $10) goes directly to the Metro East Humane Society (MEHS). For every pet with a loving family, there are many more animals who desperately need shelter and medical attention, and the non-profit MEHS provides care for these creatures -- and education for humans. So we'll see you and Sir P. there? Splendid!

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