Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

The early bird gets the worm

Attention all dog walkers: Thursday, March 31 is the last day for "early bird" registration for the 11th annual Paws for a Cause 5K and Dog Walk, taking place in Freeport this fall, Aug. 27.

The benefit of being an early bird is that if you’re in time, you will be entered to win either an overnight for two with Maine Huts & Trails, or a $50 LL Bean gift certificate. Pre-cutoff registration for either the 5K or dog walk is $20/participant. After March 31, the registration increases to $25. (Registration the day of the event is $30.)

Paws for a Cause is the child of the Coastal Humane Society (in Brunswick) and LL Bean. The event is slated to raise over forty thousand dollars for Coastal’s work, including providing exams, shelter, vet care and food for over two thousand animals a year. And Paws for a Cause isn’t just walking and running, as fun as those things can be if your dog is with you. There will also be games for kids, food vendors, police dog and dog agility demonstrations, face painting and dunk tanks, not to mention a slew of dog-related contests.

The idea, as a participant, is to use the Internet link you are provided with upon registration to spread the word and have your friends, family and coworkers contribute to your walk or run. Prizes, in the form of generous LL Bean gift cards, are awarded for different levels of success in fundraising. So be an early bird, and go to to register!

  • Published in Pets

PMA Features Talented Kids

Do you put your kids’ artwork up on the fridge? Would you like to take a look at children’s art that was chosen from all over the state of Maine? Check out the 22nd annual exhibition celebrating Youth Art Month at the Portland Museum of Art, through April 3rd.


Youth Art Month focuses on schools in Maine and the influence they have on the state’s future generations of artists. The idea is to build public support for quality school art programs, which have been shown to encourage appreciation for others, self-esteem, and self-discipline in students, as well as teaching problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Youth Art Month has been observed nationally since 1961, and sponsored by the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) since 1980.


The PMA exhibit features over a hundred works by K-12 Maine students.

Manon Lewis, MAEA’s coordinator of Youth Art Month, said, “Students who have their artwork exhibited at the Portland Museum of Art have the powerful experience of having their work hung near the works of masters, in a very prestigious environment. This lends a sense of legitimacy and importance to their artistic explorations and their creative product. Students and their families are thrilled by this honor.”

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Animal sounds: Maine POPS Concert Band concert helps refuge league

The Maine POPS Concert Band presents “All Creatures Great and Small,” a musical tribute to our furry (and not so furry) animal friends, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at the Falmouth High School Theater (74 Woodville Rd, Falmouth).

The concert will feature favorites like "Peter and the Wolf,” "Jurassic Park,” "The Waltzing Cat," and "All the Pretty Little Horses,” among others. Maine POPS has teamed up with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland for this event, and a donation drive will be held. Concert attendees are encouraged to give, or simply bring something on the League’s wish list, available at Items like canned cat food, grain-free dog food, and toys are always in high demand, the league noted.

There is also a pet photo contest, open to all. Email your favorite picture to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be entered to win.

Maine POPS director Nina Oatley Walsh said, “The theme of the concert came to us musically (I try to do two themed concerts a year), but it was a great opportunity for this collaboration with the ARLGP and their facility and their work.”

  • Published in Pets

Calling all young theater fans: Dramatic offerings for youngsters

Does your child have a dramatic streak? Two theatrical events this week are aimed at youngsters with a penchant for theater. First, "The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet," at the Portland Public Library (Monument Square) is a compilation of Shakespeare plays put on by Portland Stage’s Middle School Shakespeare Conservatory. The half-hour show takes place  at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 24.

It takes the audience on a journey through 13 of the Bard’s plays, including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, Taming of the Shrew and more. These talented kids will expose children to some of the most famous Shakespeare speeches. "Think ‘To be or not to be,’ and ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,'" the announcement noted.

Younger thespians (ages 5-9) will have a great time at the next event, "Play In Just One Day: Where the Wild Things Are," at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St). Using the classic children’s story by Maurice Sendak, kids will collaboratively imagine far-off lands, play theater games, and make up a story for the stage of their own. At the end of the workshop, after a pizza break, caregivers will be invited to watch a short performance of the story. Where are the wild things? Right here!

The cost for the drop-off workshop is $15 for members, $20 for visitors. To register, call 207.828.1234 x231, register online (, or stop by the front desk.

  • Published in Kids

Farmer for the Morning teaches stewardship

Have you considered raising farm animals in place of traditional pets? If you live in a rural suburb and  have children, it’s a great alternative. Raise your own chickens or sheep, while keeping the kids busy without video games. But consider checking out some working farms together first. Most kids are big fans of animals, and Easter Weekend is a great time to start. One option is Farmer for the Morning, at Wolfe’s Neck Farm (184 Burnett Rd, Freeport) on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. until May 19, including next Thursday, March 24. (The program does not run on holidays, school vacation weeks, or if there is inclement weather.)

Farmer for the Morning is a chance for children to see up close how a farm works and to interact with the animals that live there. Typical chores include feeding and watering the livestock, putting out hay, collecting eggs, and sweeping out the barn, all to make sure things run smoothly for the day and all the creatures are happy. Kids work and play under a farmer’s supervision. Even if you are not ready for the commitment it takes to supply an item on the menu at Vinland, it is still  a great experience for families with toddlers or preschoolers to enjoy together.

Jeannie Mattson, a WNF employee who often brings her five-year-old to Farmer in the Morning, said, "As a parent it is incredible to watch my son’s face light up as he watches a cow’s long tongue reach out for hay, or see him delight in finding an egg under a hen.  The program is also building a community of families that come together on Thursday mornings to connect with one another in this incredible setting."

No registration is necessary, just come and join in! The cost is $5 per person. Wolfe’s Neck Farm can be reached at 207.865.4469.

  • Published in Pets

Smiling Hill Farm rolls out the fun with Easter Egg Hunt

It’s the time of year to take the kids to see bunnies, chicks, and especially Easter eggs, at Smiling Hill Farm’s Easter Egg Hunt in the Barnyard, on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on both days. The address is 781 County Rd (Route 22), Westbrook.

As a dairy, Smiling Hill keeps plenty of cows and chickens, with plenty of other animals to introduce children to farm life as they hunt for candy- and toy-stuffed eggs (limit 10 per child).

The Ice Cream Barn/Dairy Store will also be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and lunch will be served from 11 to 3.

Tickets cost $3 per child, and the hunt is BYOB (Bring Your Own Basket). Due to high demand, all tickets must be purchased before the event, either at the farm or by phone at 800.743.7463.

Children 10 and under are invited, with a special area for those 5 and under.

The rain date, should either Saturday or Sunday be inclement, is March 26 with cancellations announced on Facebook and on the Smiling Hill Cross Country Ski outgoing phone message. In the event that both days are rained out, tickets can be redeemed for $3 off any product or service offered by Smiling Hill in 2016.

For more information, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Published in Kids

Eye On Pets

Does your pet have mysterious issues? If so, consider bringing them to see psychic, Reiki practitioner, and Animal Communicator, Sara Moore, at the Planet Dog company store on Marginal Way on Sunday, March 20 between 2 and 4 p.m.

Moore claims that animals of all types react positively to Reiki, a form of energy transfer, in this case, between human and animal. She asks the pet, either out loud or in her head, what they want her to know.

Pet responses may have to do with daily concerns (collars, other pets, beds, and food are common topics) or be the answer to a specific question relayed to the animal by Moore on the owner’s behalf.

An unexpected answer may be more valuable than it seems at first, because pets ‘mirror’ owners, and can teach a receptive and open pet parent important lessons, through the animal communicator.

Kristin Burgess, Planet Dog’s Store Manager says that when she first met Moore and heard she was coming to do an event at the store, “I was intrigued but skeptical.

“My first impression of her was that she had a lot of positive energy, and she’s very intuitive. When I observed her reading the first couple of dogs, everything she was saying was spot on. She would say things about the dog, and the customer would be pleasantly surprised at how accurate the reading was. We’d like people to know that they can sit down and observe, before and after their turn.”

Planet Dog can be reached at 207.347.8606.


  • Published in Pets

First Folio Month continues for young fans

First Folio Month, referring to the first complete collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, now on display, continues at the Portland Public Library with two events for kids:

First, Shakespeare Monologues: For Kids/By Kids, on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. Many of us have difficulty understanding Shakespearean language, but when it’s interpreted and performed by good actors, the beauty and art of the words comes through. Actors ranging in age from 8 to 17 from the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine will be performing and explaining Shakespeare monologues. For kids like yours that also have one to share, there will be a chance to take the stage as well.

Next, come participate in the Nantz Comyns Workshop: Mythical & Magical Creatures from a Midsummer Night's Dream, on Saturday, March 12 at 12:30 p.m. Comyns, an international artist and Maine native, will invite children to create magical and mythical creatures inspired by Shakespeare’s fantastical play. Young artists will work with papier mache over wire structures, then adding "gems," fabric, fiber and other materials to complete their creatures, the announcement explains. The end result will be a vertical installation of up to a dozen pieces that will be exhibited in the Sam L. Cohen Children's Library. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 207.871.1700, ext. 707.

For parents who are thinking ahead, Comyns started her Creative Chrysalis Summer Arts Camp 12 years ago with the intent of offering small group art encounters to allow for full individual creativity. Children work outside all day long (weather permitting) and are able to sculpt full size animals, learn graphic, drawing and painting techniques and explore all the fundamental art processes. Learn more about the camp at the Creative Chysalis Facebook page or by calling 207.415.5051.

  • Published in Kids

Tips to to minimize shedding as the seasons change

The season is upon us, and for breeds of dogs that grow winter coats, spring is extra shedding time. This is because certain hormones in dogs’ blood will stimulate or delay hair growth, depending on the length of the day. So naturally, as the days grow longer, your black clothes get more unpresentable. What can you do to reduce the number of fur balls accumulating in your home? Here are a few ideas from various experts in the field:

When a dog’s diet is poor, it will often shed more hair, sometimes even developing a foul, corn-chip or stale-oil odor. Dog owners are encouraged to do independent research on what foods are the best for their companions, but always remember that dogs are carnivores, meat eaters, necessitating a primary ingredient of a specified meat like chicken or beef (NOT unspecified “meat” or meat byproducts) in the food they eat every day. And make sure you read labels carefully, as even some specialty dog foods only sold in veterinarians’ offices don’t have real meat as the primary ingredient.

Another way to minimize shedding is to make sure your dog isn’t stressed. Factors that exacerbate hair loss include noise, boredom, fear, sudden changes to environment, gaps in food or water supply, lack of visual contact, pain and anxiety. Hormones come into play again here, as the ones associated with stress can cause a dog to shed, especially on the back and the rear hips, when released into the bloodstream. Canines who are happy have no such problem, and only shed the normal amount.

But, of course, the single most effective way to deal with the winter coat as it falls out is grooming. When choosing a brush or rake for your pet, be sure to run it over your own skin. If it hurts or irritates your arm, it will also hurt your dog. Start by petting and talking to the dog, and then brush only in the direction the fur grows. Do not try to yank out any matting you may find. A good way to work out a mat is with your own hair conditioner. Work it in and gently untangle. Continue to groom the entire body, and follow the brushing with a warm bath, during which you inspect for small injuries, ticks, etc. with your fingers, now that the undercoat is diminished. Finally, since shampoo inadvertently left in the fur can cause irritation, use white vinegar to rinse the fur completely, followed by a water rinse.

  • Published in Pets

Shakespeariment brushes up on the Bard

The Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library at the Portland Public Library invites you to “Shakespeariment: Interactive Workshop for Children,” on March 19 and 26 from 3 to 4 p.m. Educators will help kids work together to make their own Shakespeare stories for the stage. With improvisational games and literacy challenges, this introduction to Shakespeare is a perfect program to inspire and challenge, for ages 5 to 12, organizers noted.To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life for young people. Just think of all of the common phrases coined by the Bard, like “to use one’s mind’s eye,” “to find method in someone’s madness,” “to be eaten out of house and home,” “to have a heart of gold,” or “to be living in a fool's paradise,” just to name a few.

Author Ross Farrelly said, “Studying Shakespeare benefits students in [many] ways. Shakespeare's language is tricky to read aloud and comprehend, and it is harder still to perform in front of a theatre full of family and friends. If children can understand Shakespeare they can understand anything. ... [S]tudents gain strength, determination and the capacity to deal with minor hardships (like forgetting your lines on stage) by studying ... Shakespeare.”

Kids who attend the Shakespeariment won’t have to memorize anything, but they will surely catch the flavor of the language.

Here are descriptions for the two Saturday afternoon programs:

March 19 Shakespeariment: A Midsummer Night’s Dream - It’s time for all ages to celebrate the First Folio exhibit by acting out a silly story from a Midsummer Night’s Dream. With Theatre Educators from the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, we’ll play some vocabulary improvisational games that use our whole bodies, and imagine ourselves near a bank where the wild thyme grows. We’ll be fairy kings and queens and fall in love with very handsome… DONKEYS?!?

March 26Shakespeariment: The Tempest - Did you know Tempest means storm? With Theatre Educators, we’ll play some whole-body vocabulary improv games, create our own roaring tempest with some simple handmade instruments, and imagine ourselves on a deserted magical island.

The Portland Public Library can be reached at 207.871.1700; or visit

  • Published in Kids
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