Look for chocolate, yellow, black and more at the annual Lab Fest at Four
Freedoms Park, today. The event runs from from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The popular event features the breed known for loyalty and playfulness - and
their love of water. Though there won't be "official" events in the water,
there will be plenty of activities, and the dogs just run to the water on
The dogs are welcome to go in.
"If you come, be prepared to get dirty," said organizer Anita Simmons, owner
of the Cape Dog Bakery and member of several dog advocacy groups, including
Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida.
Proceeds benefit Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida and Wagging Tails Dog
It is a fun-filled day for people and dogs of all ages. There are plenty of
contests, raffles and food to go around, but dogs must be kept on their
leash, she said.
"This is our 7seventh year," she added.
Her favorite part?
"Getting to see all the dogs together."
There will be a lot to do.
"We always do our peanut butter contest - a canine and human contest which
will happen about 11 a.m. And we do some retrieving-type contests and some
"There will also be trainers, a few dog food manufacturers, pet sitters and
also my READing Paws group there if you are interested in getting involved
with that. Southern Guide Dogs will also be there, they look for "puppy
rasiers." We will also have the Southwest Florida Dog Diving Club, and The
Dog Obedience Club of Lee County there."
Her business is the main sponsor of this event, which is held in cooperation
with Cape Coral Parks & Recreation.
"I've been involved with Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida for many
years," Simmons said. "And we've always had labs. I always felt it is
important to rescue a dog rather than buy a dog."
There are generally two of them with her at work daily. She actually has
"I have Chester who is a yellow lab, Lucy who is also yellow and Onyx who is
a black lab, and we had actually fostered him at Lab Rescue."
These are people dogs, very easy going and easy to please, she said.
"And two of my dogs are therapy dogs. I do a lot with Therapy Dogs Inc. and
we visit Hope Hospice every week and are also involved with the READing Paws
Program. We go over to Edgewood Elementary and we go weekly and kids read to
them. It's proven that it increases reading levels and kids really look
forward to it."
One of the big things you can do, even if you can't adopt a dog is to foster
"That's even if you are only here for the winter season, the more fosters we
have, the more we can rescue because we don't have a facility. The only
thing you are responsible for is the food; we take care of the medical."
Of her business, she said, "We focus on good nutrition for cats and dogs. We
have been in business for eight years, we just moved in August to our new
location ,3100 Del Prado Blvd. S, which is in the Marlin Center, just north
Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday
normally 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This Saturday the store will only be open from 1
to 5 p.m. because of the event coordination.
Requested admission is $5 per dog. For information go to capedogbakery.com
or for the shop, during normal hours, call 542-9663.