One of my favorite animal-friendly events takes place on Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adopt-A-Dog, which has placed more than 13,000 companion animals since it was founded in 1981, will hold its 25th annual Puttin' on the Dog outdoor festival.

Why do I love this festival? First, the silly dog shows are great. Where else can you win a prize if you and your dog look alike or if your pet gives the best doggie kisses? Second, several animal rescue, adoption and care organizations will be on-hand and each year, and many families leave the festival with a new furry friend.

More Information

Fact box

Then there are the exhibitors with pet and non-pet products and services. Pet Pantry Warehouse, this year's presenting sponsor, will give out free samples and gifts. Cornell University Veterinary Specialists of Stamford will provide free health seminars and treats for pets, while The Veterinary Cancer Center of Norwalk is offering a free professional portrait of attendees with their dogs. Last but not least, the fall weather and crowd of animal lovers makes for a perfect afternoon of fun.

"The show of community support we receive at Puttin' on the Dog touches us deeply, as we continue to advocate for lifetime care and ownership of dogs," said Allyson Halm, Adopt-A-Dog president. "We especially appreciate the contributions of our sponsors, as well as our exhibitors, who make this 25th festival a success."

In addition to the many interactive exhibits and dog shows, Mercedes-Benz of White Plains will offer a preview of the Tail Wagon, a new vehicle that Adopt-A-Dog will use to rescue animals around the country and assist in home placement once enough funds are raised to "adopt" the vehicle. Festival attendees will be able to buy a part of the Tail Wagon to support the shelter's rescue mission.

Finally, this year marks the first time that Puttin' on the Dog will have live musical entertainment. Award-winning family band Laughing Pizza will take the stage three times throughout the day to get the crowd moving with original pop songs that cater to kids and parents alike. The trio -- mom Lisa, dad Billy, and daughter Emily -- has been the recipient of six Parent's Choice Awards and has performed with The Jonas Brothers, on the TODAY show and even at the White House.

So roundup the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and head over to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park this Sunday. Dogs are welcome and owners are encouraged to enter their dogs in one or more contests in advance. There is an $18 special family ticket package available online only at; family admission is $25 at the gate. Children 12 and under are admitted free. The special VIP ticket program, available for a $250 donation, includes two VIP tickets with access to the VIP Pavilion and food and beverages catered by L'Escale.

Puttin' on the Dog is the perfect way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon outdoors. I look forward to seeing you there.

Cathy Kangas is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States. She can be reached at