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M ost of us don't take enough opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Busy schedules and money always are obstacles to breaking our routines and doing something different. So when something comes up that looks like fun, I want to tell you about it in this column. But it's not for everybody. If you have an unlimited budget and money is no object, this isn't the place for you. You'll have no trouble finding fun things to do on your own. And if you have nothing but free time and can go anywhere at a moment's notice, you don't need to read this column. In fact, why are you even reading this column right now? Just board your private jet and head to Paris or Barcelona, and enjoy your weekend. But if you're like most of the rest of us, you have to fit things into a tight schedule and it has to fit a tight budget, too. It needs to be worth your time and go easy on your wallet. There aren't too many things like that, but there are still a few out there. And it's my job to find them for you. This week I'm going to tell you about an opportunity to go to the movies. Sounds boring, you say? Movies today are usually overpriced and underwhelming? Well, this isn't a typical night at the theater. These are movies you already know you like. And it's a double feature, so you're seeing two great movies for one price. And that price is cheaper than a regular movie. Oh, the venue is much more interesting than a normal movie theater, too. Sound better? Great. Then let me introduce you to Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., in Clearwater. It's probably been around longer than you have: It opened in 1921 with a Mediterranean Revival facade that really helped it stand out. And after nearly $10 million in recent renovations, it maintains its classic style with modern upgrades. So it's a fun place to see a movie. Or two movies. On select dates this month, they're showing double features of popular modern classics. For example, one night they're pairing up "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Alien." On another, it's "Grease" and "American Graffiti." Then they're showing "Rocky" and "Rocky II" together. And each night, it's just $7 to see them both. Now, some of you might be thinking, "Hey, I can watch some of those movies at home for free. Sometimes they're even on television." Well, have you ever seen these movies on the big screen? If you have, you know it's not the same. And if you haven't, this is a chance to finally see the original versions the way the filmmakers intended. That kind of atmosphere makes great movies even greater. Besides, where's your sense of adventure? Why sit at home when for $7 you could take a friend or a loved one to a historic theater and see something you know you'll enjoy? Two somethings, actually. It's a double feature, remember? That's a great deal, and cheap enough that it justifies a little drive time to get there. By the way, this is a pretty cool date idea, too. You could spend a lot more money seeing one movie you might end up hating, or you could see two films you like, and keep some cash in your pocket. I bet your date will notice your creativity and wise financial decisions. That's how you make a good impression in my book. But there are only a few chances to catch this deal. "Close Encounters" and "Alien" are showing Sept. 6., "Grease" and "American Graffiti" are scheduled for Sept. 19, and the Rocky movies will be shown on Sept. 27. The first film starts each night at 7. For more information, call (727) 7917400 or visit AtTheCap.com. If you know of an inexpensive, fun thing to do, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. But please, keep it cheap. We're on a budget here. CornerstonePros.com 813-949-4445 "Our technicians are so expert, and our units so dependable, that in seven years of business, 98% of our customers have never had a complaint." ~Dana and James Spears Land O' Lakes Residents Owners of Cornerstone Air, Heating & Plumbing PLUMBING LIC. #CFC1428982 Who is the best A/C manufacturer? Surprising to many, the top 20 brands are made by just eight manufacturers. There is almost no difference in quality and performance between same-level units made by Carrier, Trane, Rheem, Lennox, Amana, Bryant or Goodman. It's the installation team that assembles the unit at your home that makes the difference. Proper installation and maintenance are more important to the performance of an A/C system, than the unit itself. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet There's so much misleading and contradictory information on the Internet, many customers are confused about what's the best A/C system for them. As highly trained professionals, we know what works best and is most efficient in our geographic region. Rebates We save you hundreds of dollars with incentives from manufacturers, power companies and Cornerstone. Here to stay Three generations of our family lives Land O' Lakes. We'll be here to take care of any problem that may arise years from now. We work 24/7 When you need cold air, you need it now. A/C LICENSE #CAC1816647 Since 2006, Cornerstone has installed more than 4,000 residential air conditioning units and very few customers have experienced problems. And when they have, our customer service and warranties are in place to make things right. Here's Why Customers Recommend Us To Neighbors, Family and Friends Last Chance Summer Blowout! $500 OFF NEW AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING SYSTEM 15 Seer or Higher. Must present coupon at time of service. Can not be used towards completed work or estimates dated before 8/2 2/14. Can not be combined with other offers or coupons. *Applies to Elite systems only. www.LakerLutzNews.com S epte m ber 3, 2014 5A Double feature for cheap at Capitol Theatre On the Cheap By M i chael Mur i llo email@example.com COURTESY OF CAPITOL THEATRE The Cap i tol Theatre i n Clearwater is a beaut i ful place to watch a m ov i e, and th is m onth they have double feature s for one low pr i ce. PUBLISHER'S COLUMN By D i ane Kortu s Publisher It's been just over a month five issues since The Laker/Lutz News became a bigger newspaper. And reaction from our readers has been overwhelmingly positive. Yes, we've received a few calls from people complaining that our new size is cumbersome to hold while drinking a cup of coffee. But that's truly the only complaint we've received. The most common comment we hear is that our larger format makes us a "real newspaper," apparently because we're now the same size as a daily newspaper. That perception has surprised us. From our perspective, we've always been a real newspaper because we employ real journalists who write balanced stories about people and news in our community. We're real because we publish every Wednesday without fail, and spend lots of money delivering our free paper to 30,000 homes, and at more than 300 newspaper stands, so you can read us every week. It reminds me of that old adage, that perception often is more important than reality. So I suppose that we should be happy by the perception that our new size makes us more real, even though my staff and I thought we always were real. I imagine this must be how Pinocchio felt when he finally became a real boy. Just so you know, the content of The Laker/Lutz News has not changed with our larger size. We have the same reporters writing the same types of stories about our community. What's changed is our design staff now has more room to place stories, create bigger headlines, and use bigger photos and more graphics. We're one of few newspapers in the state to have color on every page even our classified pages so our artists have more to work with now that we're bigger and more colorful. Our bigger size also gives us space for more stories. This week, for example, Michael Murillo is launching a new feature, "On the Cheap." His first column tells you about a super deal at the beautifully renovated Capitol Theatre in Clearwater that sounds like great fun for families or couples. Michael will be writing about inexpensive things to do on a regular basis to help you plan your weekend. Our bigger size also allows us to enhance the presentation of other features we've been publishing for some time. For example, B.C. Manion's monthly column, "Worth The Trip," is now profiled on the front page of our new B section. Don't miss this week's story about Haslam's Book Store in St. Petersburg an amazing place for book lovers and those just looking for someplace new to explore. Our other two monthly columns, "Getting to Know You," by Michael Hinman, and another column by Michael Murillo, "Presenting the Past," are published the other two weeks of the month. Our goal is to give you a special feature to look forward to every week, in addition to our usual news and feature stories. These first-person columns by my staff give our papers a unique voice, and lets you get to know our writers on a more personal level. The positive comments we've heard from readers, and the support we've received from our business community, encourages us to continue to work hard to bring you the best community newspaper we can. Just like Pinocchio became a real boy, we've become a real' newspaper
New Cold Laser' Helps Eliminate Stubborn 5420 Land O' Lakes Blvd Land O' Lakes cravenchiropractic.com (813) 996-9800 PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! In Soft Tissue Injuries Also ask about for relief from Peripheral Neuropathy No Insurance? Discount Program Available. www.LakerLutzNews.com S epte m ber 3, 2014 6A WILLS, TRUST AND ESTATE PLANNING SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW BUSINESS LAW The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you FREE written information about our qualifications and experience. Babatola Durojaiye, JD, MBA, MD, FACP Attorney and Counselor at Law 3632 Land O'Lakes Blvd, #105-7 Land O'Lakes, FL 34639 813-996-1895 www.durojaiyelaw.com Most people do not fully appreciate the importance of a will, especially those who feel that their estate is too small to justify the time and expense of preparing one. Having an estate plan, including a will, may be right for you and your family. Please contact us to see how we can help you acheive your plans for your estate. Feds offering loans, grants for rural expansion The Laker/Lutz News Staff Report Zero-interest loans and grants are now being offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to promote longterm economic growth and community vitality in rural areas. The funding programs, administered by the USDA Rural Development department, includes $30.6 million in no-interest loans, and $9.2 million in grants to establish revolving loan funds that finance business and economic development activities in rural areas. Applications for these funds will be accepted through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, federal officials said. That would include rural utilities eligible for USDA financing under the Rural Electrification Act who wish to help administer the funds locally. The funding is designed to help with business startup and expansion, business technical assistance and job training, and community facilities projects that support economic development. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis through state offices of the USDA and are evaluated monthly. The Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program is looking to improve conditions in designated Rural Economic Area Partnership Zones, and for members of Native American tribes in rural areas, for grants up to $100,000. Funding can be used to support business incubators, feasibility studies and business plans, long-term strategic business planning, leadership and entrepreneurial training, and other related efforts. USDA also has two other grants available from funds put together for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, including a $500,000 grant for rural transportation projects, and a $250,000 grant for federally recognized Native American tribes. Those funds can be used to provide technical assistance and training to help rural communities improve passenger transportation services or facilities. For details, visit USDA.gov. P OLITICAL A GENDA SEND POLITICAL NEWS TO MHINMAN@LAKERLUTZNEWS.COM MOBILE HOURS FOR ROSS U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, will host mobile office hours Sept. 9 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Lutz Library, 101 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz. Other dates in Lutz include Oct. 14 and Dec. 9. For more information, call (863) 6448215, or (813) 752-4790. FREE RIDES TO THE POLLS Pasco County Public Transportation will do its part to help get out the vote by offering free rides to the polls on election days for the upcoming cycle. The deal was worked out between PCPT and county elections supervisor Brian Corley, and was approved by the Pasco County Commission last week. On election day Nov. 4, voters who present their voter information card will ride free to their local polling location. The goal is to encourage and promote participation in the election process, while also introducing public transportation as a viable option for travel throughout the county, said PCPT director Michael Carroll. In return, Corley's office will use available media advertising and respective websites to inform potential riders and voters how to access and navigate the transit system. PASCO HOUSING COMMITTEE TO MEET Pasco County's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee will have its first meeting Sept. 15 beginning at 9 a.m., at the Central Pasco Government Center, 4111 Land O' Lakes Blvd. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. POLL WORKERS NEEDED FOR NOVEMBER ELECTIONS Energetic? Service-oriented? Then the Pasco County supervisor of elections may be looking for you. Poll workers are needed for the general election Nov. 4. Positions are paid, but potential candidates will need to be able to stand, bend, stoop, lift approximately 30 pounds, and have normal vision and manual and physical dexterity. Applicants also need to write and read English, have an email address, and be able to work the entire day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. All positions receive mandatory paid training the month preceding the election. For information, call (800) 851-8754, or visit PascoVotes.com. "We were very pleased with the number of new customers who came from our ads in The Laker. People actually cut out and brought in our coupon, and many returned to play golf several times. "We highly recommend The Laker and Lutz News to any business who wants new customers from Land O' Lakes, Wesley Chapel and Lutz." ~Laura Sanderson Head Golf Professional Meadow Oaks Golf & Country Club The L AKER / Lutz N EWS Works for Us! Award-winning stories and ads that bring local businesses more customers. Call today if you want to increase your sales. The L AKER / Lutz N EWS Community News Publications 8 13.909.2800 www.lakerlutznews.com 13125 Fairwinds Road, Hudson SR 52, 1.5 miles west of the Suncoast Just 15 minutes from Land O' Lakes 727-856-2878 www.meadowoakscountryclub.com
Your Neighborhood Sports Source Community Sports Community Sports 14A www.LakerLutzNews.com September 3, 2014 LUTZ BASEBALL GOLF EVENT SEPT. 15 Avila Golf & Country Club, 943 Guisando De Avila, will host a golf event benefiting Lutz Baseball on Sept. 15. Tee time is at 1 p.m., and the cost is $150 per person. Sponsorships are available. For more information and to register, visit LutzBaseball.com. CHEVAL CARES 5K SET FOR SEPT. 20 The third annual Cheval Cares 5K run will take place Sept. 20 to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The event begins and ends at the Cheval Athletic Club, 4142 Cheval Blvd., in Lutz. There will be a post-race family fun party after the event. The cost is $30 for adults and $20 for children. Registration will not be available on the day of the event for non-residents of Cheval. For information and to register, visit ChevalCares5K.com. SOCCER LEAGUE REGISTRATION NOW OPEN The Greater Tampa Bay Football Club is now accepting registrations for its fall and winter soccer league. The league is open to boys and girls in north Hillsborough and Pasco counties from ages 5 through 19. Each team will have one practice day per week, and a game on Saturdays. Practices and games will be at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Complex, 3032 Collier Parkway. To register, visit GTBFC.com. For information, call Frank Coorey at (727) 423-8886, or e-mail email@example.com. HIKE FOR HOSPICE IN NOVEMBER Gulfside Hospice will have its eighth annual Hike For Hospice on Nov. 16 at Rasmussen College, 18600 Fernview St., in Land O' Lakes. The event includes a 5-kilometer run and walk. Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for students, and $10 for children younger than 11. The cost includes a T-shirt, breakfast and beverages. To register or to receive sponsorship information, call (800) 561-4883. Registration also is accepted at FristGiving.com/GulfsideHospice. SENIOR SOFTBALL REGISTRATION IN SEPTEMBER A 60-and-older co-ed slow-pitch softball league will have registration and drafts Sept. 12, Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 from 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., at Field 10 of the Land O' Lakes Recreation Complex, 3032 Collier Parkway. The games begin in October. For more information, call Walt Bockmiller at (813) 527-8211. LOL STARS GOLF TOURNEY SEPT. 20 The Land O' Lakes Stars Baseball Club will host a fundraising golf tournament Sept. 20 at the Lexington Oaks Golf Course, 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. The event will help the little league team raise funds for a trip to Cooperstown, New York. Sponsorships are available. For information, visit LOLStars.org. SOCCER ACADEMY FROM GRACE COMMUNITY Grace Soccer Club will host its 3v3 Academy for children in first through sixth grade. The program is designed to strengthen soccer skills, sportsmanship and faith. The cost for the six-program session is $25. They will be on Wednesday nights Sept. 10, Sept. 17 and Sept. 24, as well as Oct. 1, Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 at the church's property on Boyette Road. For information, call (813) 994-9363, visit ExploreGrace.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ROTARY GOLF OUTING OCT. 24 The Daybreak Rotary Club of Zephyrhills will have its 22nd annual golf outing on Oct. 24 at the Links of Lake Bernadette Golf Club, 5430 Links Lane. The event includes a round of golf, various challenges and contests, dinner, door prizes, and an awards banquet. Registration begins at noon with tee-off starting at 1 p.m. The cost is $85 per person. For information, call Theresa SommersPeacock at (813) 788-3369, Mike Wooton at (813) 777-1222, or Nelson Ryman at (813) 997-5939. CENTRAL FLORIDA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, 12900 Lake Jovita Blvd., in Dade City, will host the Central Florida Open Championship Sept. 18-19. Up to 144 of the top professional and amateur golfers in central Florida are expected to compete on the club's South course. Tee, range and custom flag sponsorships are available. For information, call Rick Weber at (352) 588-9200, or email email@example.com. SPORT ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE FOR SENIORS Senior Sports is seeking players older than 60 for a number of regular co-ed sporting events, including Slo-Pitch softball for fall and winter competition. Senior Sports has participants who play golf every Wednesday and bowling every Thursday. It also has added tennis and indoor volleyball. For more information, call Walt Bockmiller at (813) 527-8211. SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SEND SPORTS NEWS TO MMURILLO@LAKERLUTZNEWS.COM CHECK THIS OUT Program, expectations on the rise at Freedom By Michael Murillo firstname.lastname@example.org According to the record books, Freedom High School finished with a 3-7 record last year. But head coach Tom Donohoe doesn't see it that way. "The program was 8-8," said Donohoe, now entering his third season at the helm. "That's the way we look at it, because we coach varsity and JV. Our goal is to improve as a program." Including junior varsity records, instead of back-to-back 3-7 campaigns, Freedom improved from 6-10 to 8-8 over the previous year. At least from the coach's perspective. Rebuilding from the ground up the varsity team hasn't had a winning season since 2009 means looking at improving all aspects of the Patriots' football program. Installing discipline, structure and stability at all levels of play is important, Donohoe explained. Practices are more organized, and the program as a whole has a clear understanding of what they're trying to do. The same coaches lead both teams, so the transition from junior varsity to varsity should be a smooth one for players as they advance in the system. While that focus didn't translate into more wins over the previous season for the Patriots, there were bright spots and areas of improvement. Freedom was involved in a number of close games, including two road losses by a total of 10 points to Strawberry Crest and district foe Steinbrenner. Freedom plays both of those teams at home this year, and Donohoe is looking forward to seeing year-to-year improvement as they tackle familiar opponents throughout the schedule. The Patriots' defense also was a bright spot in 2013, providing solid play and keeping the team in many games. Eight starters are returning from last year, which provides stability at what already was a strong point for the team. Defensive backs and linebackers should be particularly effective this season, Donohoe said. The defense understands that they'll be expected to continue their solid play and help the team turn the corner in 2014. "It's going to be on us to step up and score points defensively," said linebacker Lee Carabali. The team has been hitting the weight room over the summer, and is now stronger as a result. He's even seen improvement in the offense as the defense faces them in practice. That improvement would be welcome in 2014. While the defense was doing their part to help the team win last year, the other side of the ball wasn't as effective. "Our offense was sputtering," Donohoe admitted. The Patriots only reached the 20point mark once all last year, and failed to score 10 points four times. But Freedom closed the year with two straight wins, including a 33-13 win over Wiregrass Ranch in their home finale. The team is returning six starters, has talented weapons at skill positions and had strong performances in seven-on-seven competition over the summer, Donohue said. A new offensive coordinator should provide fresh perspectives as well, giving the coach plenty of optimism for the coming season. "It's definitely going to be a better year in terms of offensive productivity," Donohoe said. "No doubt about it." The attitude change has made an impact on experienced players like defensive back Aaron Cox. "A lot of people, since I was a freshman, were playing around and not really disciplined," Cox said. "But now that we have better coaches, they've been working with us and we've been working real hard." The players have come together and bought into the system, he said. With so many returning starters, the Patriots are feeling good about improving their fortunes in 2014. But Donohoe also is excited to see how newer players perform. He expects athletes who played junior varsity to step up and contribute immediately. They should be comfortable with the system and ready to perform, which Donohoe hopes will lead to some better numbers for the varsity squad. "A lot of these guys played with us for the last couple of years," he said. "They're a product of what we've been doing, and they know the expectations. It should be their time to shine. "We feel like we're finally getting to that point where we should be successful a little bit more in varsity now, too." MICHAEL MURILLO/STAFF PHOTO Structure and organization are key words at Patriots' practices under coach Tom Donohoe. 2014 Patriots Schedule 8/29 at King 9/5 Middleton 9/12 at Wharton 9/19 at Gaither 9/26 Strawberry Crest 10/2 at Sickles 10/17 Tampa Bay Tech 10/24 Steinbrenner 10/31 at Wiregrass Ranch 11/7 Riverview FREEDOM PATRIOTS LAST YEAR: 3-7 1-4 in the district fifth place in Class 7A-District 7 KEY RETURNING PLAYERS Johnny Rodicio, slot back Lee Carabali, linebacker PLAYER TO WATCH Sayff Saed, wide receiver, quarterback "He can do a number of different things. He has a lot of talent and can go into a lot of different positions." Coach Tom Donohoe COURTESY OF RON LUDWIN A swimming start Jordan Wheeler, right, a senior at Land O' Lakes High School, takes a breather after finishing the 100-meter butterfly against Mathew Finn, left. Both were taking part in the first swim meet of the new school year as Land O' Lakes faced off against Ridgewood at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Complex.
Dogs play & socialize four times a day! FENCED 3 ACRES WITH DOGGIE LAGOON & REAL ROCK WATERFALL 10014 Ehren Cutoff Land O' Lakes www.HappyTailsPetLodge.net YOUR PET'S VACATION PLACE 813.995.2212 MANAGER LIVES ON PREMISES day care boarding grooming Veterinarians Grooming Breeding Training Supplies Pet Sitters Pets 4 Sale PET STATION U Dirty Dog PET GROOMING 813-948-2400 19025 US HWY 41 N Lutz FREE Nail Grind w i th any g roo m Cats Welco m e Exp. 12-31-14 Lov i n g Pet S i tt i n g Done i n the Co m fort of Your Ho m e Furrie Tails 997-6115 (813) The L AKER / Lutz N EWS WEACCEPT Co mm un i ty News Pu b l i cat i ons Here's a TREAT! FREEUP-SIZE on any size ad! with a 12 week agreement in the Pet Station Directory* *NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY The L AKER / Lutz N EWS (813) 909-2800 Brown's Happy Pet Sitting, LLC 10% OFF first visit M ENTION THIS AD Brown's Happy Pet Sitting, LLC In ho m e serv i ce, so your pets can stay i n the i r fa mi l i ar env i ron m ent. Walk i n g feed i n g clean i n g play i n g and ad mi n i ster i n g any needed m ed i cat i on Don't leave home without us! www.brownshappypetsitting.com 813-777-8350 813-909-2800 Fax 813-909-2802 / The L AKER Lutz News / email@example.com Send us a picture and information on your favorite pet! Write a short paragraph about why your pet is special along with a photo and mail to: Pet of the Week, c/o The Laker, P.O. Box 479, Lutz, FL 33548 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org m ATTN: Pet of the Week PLEA S E NOTE: OWNER S NA M E AND ADDRE SS M U S T BE INCLUDED FOR YOUR PET TO BE CON S IDERED FOR PUBLICATION. PET of the WEEK The dog in black Cash, named after Johnny Cash because of his head-to-toe black fur, is a 50-pound, 8-month-old Goldendoodle. Cash adores spending time with his family, and is especially happy and playful with the 5-year-old daughter of the Brickner family of Lutz. He know just how gentle to be with her. Cash's best trick is that he rings a bell when he needs to go outside. www.LakerLutzNews.com S epte m ber 3, 2014 2B A fun kitten for you Luke came to the shelter when he was about 10 weeks old, and has been spending time with his brother, Robbie, who's also up for adoption. He is very spunky and he loves to play. Bring your pets & celebrate World Rabies Day with us! Together Against Rabies All cats m ust b e i n a carr i er. All do g s m ust b e on a 6 ft leash or i n a carr i er. Event w i ll i nclude educat i onal se mi nars, i nfor m at i on on ra bi es d i sease and prevent i on, and a ra bi es vacc i nat i on cl i n i c for do g s and cats. Everyone i n the co mm un i ty i s i nv i ted to attend. Snacks, Food, and Bevera g es w i ll b e ava i la b le for sale. For more information please contact Joya Coen with GentleCare Pet Hospital at 813-949-4416 or via email: email@example.com Date: September 27, 2014 Time: 10:00am-3:00pm Location: Ridge Manor Community Center 34240 Cortez Blvd Dade City, FL 33523 Cost: Free admission Rabies vaccinations: Free vaccination for dogs and cats (does not include county license) Special to The Laker/Lutz News One of the most fundamental responsibilities of pet ownership is an annual visit to the veterinarian for a heartworm checkup. Dr. Stephen Jones, a veterinarian and the president of the American Heartworm Society, is offering some answers to common questions about this ritual. My veterinarian is recommending a heartworm test, but my dog was just tested a year ago. Why does he need a test again so soon? Your dog should have an annual heartworm test to determine if he became infected during the previous season. It takes months before a dog with heartworm will test positive. So testing annually usually at the time the prescription for his heartworm medication is being renewed makes sense. As with many diseases, the earlier heartworm can be diagnosed, the better the chances he will recover. If heartworm disease in a dog goes undetected and untreated, the worms can cause progressive and potentially fatal damage to his arteries, heart and lungs. If my dog is on continuous heartworm prevention, why does he need to be tested? Annual testing ensures his prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. Why? A common reason is simple forgetfulness. Missing just one dose of a monthly medication, or administering it late, can leave a dog unprotected. Even if you do everything right and on time, it's no guarantee. Some dogs spit out their heartworm pills when their owners aren't looking. Dogs also have been known to vomit heartworm pills, or rub off a topical medication. Whatever the cause of missing or delaying a dose. Any of these mishaps can put your dog at risk of heartworm infection. Do my cats need heartworm protection too? Like dogs, cats get heartworm disease. And while cats are not easily infected as dogs, it only takes one or two heartworms to make a cat very sick. That's why the American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention for both dogs and cats. Because heartworm disease in cats may or may not involve infection with adult worms, the diagnosis can be challenging. Veterinarians typically run heartworm blood tests on cats before putting them on medication the first time, but later rely on such procedures as chest X-ray and ultrasound to confirm diagnoses. More information about heartworm disease and its prevention can be found at HeartwormSociety.org. Remember, pets need year-round prevention to keep them healthy and free of deadly heartworms. Your pet's annual heartworm checkup is crucial. StatePoint Don't forget the annual heartworm checkup COURTESY OF ISTOCK To adopt Luke or pets l i ke h im v i s i t Pasco County An im al S erv i ces at 19640 Dogpatch Lane i n Land O' Lakes. For m ore i nfor m at i on, e m a i l adopt i firstname.lastname@example.org