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Business

Cruising with a prince

A hottie and a dog from Westchase sniff out canine-friendly spots for a new TV show.

By DALIA WHEATT
Published May 18, 2007


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Michelle Carling's Prince Charming has big, dark eyes, comes from a great family and loves to travel.

He's also keen on Eukanuba.

Prince Charming, or Prince for short, is Carling's 2 1/2-year-old purebred Yorkshire terrier. She got Prince as a puppy after a bad breakup and began taking him to the places she would have gone with a boyfriend.

And everywhere they went, she heard the same thing: "I didn't know you could bring your dog on the airplane" or "I didn't know you could bring your dog to this event, " said Carling, 28, of Westchase.

That's how she got the idea for More Than a Walk, a 30-minute TV show that highlights Florida's dog-friendly destinations.

"Of course, the dog parks and the dog beaches are a given. I think a lot of people know about those, " said Carling, who hosts Walk. But the show will feature some less obvious hangouts.

All in the name of research.

Carling's favorite canine-friendly spot is Undertow Beach Bar in St. Pete Beach - admittedly for its margaritas.

"But there's never been a time when I've gone there when there hasn't been at least one other dog for Prince to play with. He gets lots of attention there, " she said.

For Walk, Carling and Prince check out a different doggy dining joint every week. Among her top picks are Catch Twenty Three in Westchase and Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille in Citrus Park.

Prince has even tried out the Pumped Up Pets Package at the Don CeSar, which has canine room service that includes shredded tenderloin chicken with carrots and green beans.

Prince spends an average of three hours a day as Carling's wing man, going on adventures for More Than a Walk, running errands and coming to her job at the Veterans Green Iguana for Friday happy hours. Carling also writes for The New Barker, a local dog magazine.

Carling acknowledges that Prince's size - about 5 pounds - gains him access to places where larger dogs aren't always welcome. Future episodes will focus on camping trips and other big-dog activities.

"I thought that I had gone overboard" by creating a MySpace page for Prince, Carling said. The site is accessible through MySpace.com/MoreThanAWalk. Prince has more than 750 friends online.

"I just made his page to get the word out about our show, and every day there was like 20 new requests from other dogs that have pages, " Carling said. "So it's good to know that I'm not that crazy."

Dalia Wheatt can be reached at dwheatt@tampabay.com.

Fast Facts:

Socialize your pooch. Before you expect Fido to behave at a restaurant, take him on more walks or hit the dog parks. Michelle Carling and Prince also enjoy Yappy Hour at New World Brewery in Ybor City every other Sunday at 4 p.m.

Prevent accidents. Before a long car or airplane ride, limit your pet's food and water intake. Let him chow down once you've reached your destination.

Keep Sparky on a leash. It'll keep your pup safe and the other human folk happy.

Keep him busy. Bring plenty of treats and toys to occupy your dog in case there are no four-legged friends to play with.

See the show

Catch More Than a Walk at 8:30 a.m. Saturdays on WMOR-Ch. 32. For more info, check out MySpace.com/MoreThanAWalk.

 

Hounds about town

 

[Last modified May 17, 2007, 07:24:08]


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