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Stepping Stones presents Canine Carnival

By Stepping Stones Museum for Children

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Norwalk, CT - Stepping Stones Museum for Children will host a day-long festival celebrating the powerful and important bonds between humans and their animal friends. The second annual BooZoo's Canine Carnival will take place on Saturday, June 9, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, on museum grounds and 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, face painting, crafts, a meet-and-greet with BooZoo, storytelling, canine cinema and more. All canine friends, accompanied by owners, are welcome to take part in carnival activities in the Stepping Stones bus circle until noon.

Rick Caran and his trio of performing dogs, known as Team Jilli, will captive audiences with a special show of dog tricks at 3:00 pm. These amazingly talented dogs have been featured on Animal Planet, The Disney Channel and Regis and Kelly. Jilli Dog, an amazing 5-pound Yorkie is one of America's top trick dogs. She is a certified therapy dog that plays cards, basketball and more.

"Animals teach children important social and emotional skills such as effective communication, empathy and how to manage emotions," said Hyla Crane, director of education at Stepping Stones. "BooZoo's Canine Carnival was designed to showcase the importance of pet-friendly play and the learning opportunities provided by our pets," she said.

BooZoo's Canine Carnival will also include a guest appearance by William Berloni, the leading trainer of animals for live performances. For more than 30 years, William Berloni Theatrical Animals has trained animals for Broadway, ballet, film and television.

Visitors are invited to enter their dog(s) in the museum's Crazy Canine Contest at 11:30 am. Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges to three dogs in each of the following categories: best dressed, dog and owner look-alike, fastest tail wager, fluffiest, best mystery mutt, best smile, best ears and walks with attitude. Each dog can participate in up to three categories. Dogs must be licensed and accompanied by people who are 15 years or older.

Throughout the event, the North Shore Animal League, the World's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, will be on hand to answer questions and showcase some of their adoptable friends.

This fun-filled, pet-friendly event promotes early childhood development, reading literacy and intergenerational learning between children, parents and caregivers.

BooZoo's Dog Walk
The day also includes a Dog Walk through Mathews Park starting at noon with proceeds benefitting the museum's early childhood initiatives. Participants are encouraged to find sponsors for their dog, dress them up in a favorite costume and walk for a great cause. The cost to enter the Dog Walk is $10 per dog in advance, and $15 per dog at the door.

Perfect Pet Photo Contest
In conjunction with BooZoo's Canine Carnival, the museum is looking for pet photos to be a part of a multimedia presentation that will be part of the regularly scheduled programming for the Multimedia Gallery during the summer of 2012. All submissions will be featured on the museum's Facebook page and one lucky winner will receive a family membership and a BooZoo prize pack. Photos will be judged on originality, creativity and the ability of entry to express the happy, healthy nature of your pet. The winner will receive a family membership and a BooZoo prize pack. The deadline to submit photos is May 21 at 5 p.m.

The presentation will premiere at the BooZoo Canine Carnival. Participants may submit photos online or mail an actual photo. There is a $5 fee for each photo submitted. For complete details and instructions, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/CanineCarnival.

More about BooZoo
Building on the commitment to promote early childhood development and reading literacy for young children, the museum developed the BooZoo character two years ago. BooZoo is a toy puppy who lives in Tot TownT, the museum's toddler exhibit. He's smart, incurably curious and loves reading books.

For additional information about BooZoo's Canine Carnival and details about registering for the Dog Walk, visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org/CanineCarnival.

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