Stepping Stones Museum for Children is once again going to the dogs on Saturday, June 14…and they couldn’t be happier. The museum will host its fourth annual, day-long festival celebrating the powerful and important bonds between humans and their animal friends. BooZoo™’s Canine Carnival, where play and learning go hand-in-paw, will take place at Stepping Stones on June 14 between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. The event is free with museum admission.
The Canine Carnival is hosted by BooZoo, the museum’s fictional puppy mascot for early childhood learning and literacy, and will feature carnival games for families and dogs, pooch and people pics in our prop-laden photo booth, a meet-and-greet with BooZoo, a “pampered pooch” area featuring a dog wash and day spa, story times with BooZoo, bobbing for doggie treats and so much more. All canine friends, accompanied by owners, are welcome to take part in carnival activities under the tent of the museum’s Celebration Courtyard.
Visitors are invited to enter their dog(s) in the museum’s Crazy Canine Contest at 11:30 am.
A panel will judge the dogs in the following categories: best dressed, fastest tail wager, fluffiest, best smile, best ears and walks with attitude. Each dog will be judged in all categories. And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Visitors will be able to sign up for a 5-minute time slot to give their four-legged, furry friends an opportunity to show off his or her tricks. Dogs must be licensed and accompanied by people who are 15 years or older. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs.
A highlight of the day is sure to be when assistance dogs from the Canine Companions for Independence® conduct a demonstration in the museum’s Multimedia Gallery. Founded in 1975, the world-renowned Canine Companions for Independence is a national non-profit which provides highly-skilled assistance dogs to adults, veterans and children with disabilities free of charge. Canine Companions created the concept of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. During BooZoo’s Canine Carnival, the assistance dogs will be put through a routine demonstrating their ability to follow commands, open doors, flip on light switches, pick up dropped items and complete other important daily tasks. A Canine Companions staff member will talk about how the dogs are bred, trained and matched with their human counterparts, transforming the lives of people with disabilities by increasing their independence and providing loving companionship.
Another special component of the event will take place when Milford’s John Tartaglio, an inspirational speaker, shares his story with the audience. Tartaglio was 17 years old when he contracted an extremely rare bacterial infection. With his condition dire, doctors were left with no choice but to amputate his legs and left bicep. Tartaglio was only given a 20% chance to live, but he survived and now thrives. He graduated cum laude from Fairfield University. Told by medical professionals that he would never walk again, Tartaglio has completed marathons and triathlons. As a motivational speaker, he speaks to audiences about overcoming adversity, building a positive attitude and turning it into positive actions, leadership and teamwork. Empowering his audiences with his story, Tartaglio challenges people to reach their goals, raise their personal standard and expect more out of themselves because he is living proof that anything is possible.
Throughout the event, the mobile unit of the North Shore Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, will be on hand with staff members available to answer questions and showcase some of their adoptable friends. Between noon and 2:00 pm, Shake Shack will be on hand in our courtyard serving “Pooch-ini®,” a custard-based doggy snack.
Building on the commitment to promote early childhood development and reading literacy for young children, the museum developed the BooZoo character three years ago. BooZoo is a toy puppy who lives in Tot Town™, the museum’s toddler exhibit. He’s smart, incurably curious and loves reading books.
For additional information about BooZoo’s Canine Carnival, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/CanineCarnival.
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