Why your kids should be dog-gone happy this month

The dog days of summer may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean Fido has to be left out in the cold. These three events aim to be true family affairs—all the way down to your furriest member.

Mutt Strut: Enjoy a 1½-mile walk with your pup, then a family block party that includes kids’ activities like music, a bouncy house, face painters and costumed characters. There are dog-focused events, too—a Doggy Fitness Course, K9 cake-eating contest, dog wash and nail trims. And for those who don’t already have a best friend waiting at home? Meet some adoptable Chicago Canine Rescue dogs. $35; $70 couple/family; $75 VIP; free kids and dogs. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 13. Lakeview along Newport Avenue (between Southport and Lakewood), Chicago. (312) 371-7827,

Tails on the Trails: Morton Arboretum usually is a canine-free zone—except for one day of the year. Families can explore the 16 miles of trails, then check out some doggie demonstrations and local vendors of pet-friendly products like clothing and homemade treats. You might even get the chance to “Smooch a Pooch” for a $1 donation. At the last event, there were more than 1,500 pups in attendance, so make sure your dog is social—and up-to-date on all vaccinations. $5 per dog with admission. 7 a.m.-sunset. Sept. 13. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,

Barkapalooza: Come early for a blessing of the animals, followed by a family walkathon to raise money for the West Suburban Humane Society. Be sure to check out the PAL’s KidZone, which includes a pet parade, “Paw-casso” dog paintings and a kitty coloring contest, and a fun scavenger hunt throughout the park. There is food, shopping, and groups galore, plus dog agility and police dog demos. $15 registration by Sept. 20, $20 starting Sept. 21, free kids 12 and under. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 28. Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle.

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