Best in Show

Having trouble keeping up with the Joneses? Just wait until you meet their ambitious pets.


Total number of racers (and their turtles) who took part in the Longville Turtle Races during its 11-week racing season. You wouldn’t believe the number of photo ï¬nishes. Or maybe you would.


Percentage of U.S. households that have a pet. The rest really would prefer you keep that news about Rover’s latest medical procedure to yourself.


Cost of a “Super Pet Hamtrac Racing Kit,” including a “purple dazzle runabout ball,” speedway sticker set, and checkered racing flag. Pit crew for your Hamsterminator sold separately.


Weight, in pounds, of a Minnesota cat named OT. The Guinness-worthy (but unofficial) weight is among the heaviest ever recorded. No word on how many hamster-filled purple dazzle runabout balls OT snacked on before weigh-in.


Breeds of cats showcased at last year’s annual American Cat Fanciers Association show in Maple Grove. Also the number of breeds that would like you to know they’re better than you.

More than 1,200

Dogs that participate in the Minneapolis Kennel Club’s all-breed conformation competition each year. We’re willing to bet their howling matches make those between your neighborhood dogs seem like a veritable tea party.


Minimum cost to prepare your dog for the show circuit with obedience and conformation classes, where, among other things, dogs learn to sit, stay, and come when called. Hey, can we send crazy Uncle Louie there, too?

Erin Peterson is a freelance writer in Minneapolis.

Things To Do Before…you finally take down your holiday lights


Lacking a plan for Valentine’s Day? The go-to bistros—Barbette, W. A. Frost, Café Lurcat—may be packed, but don’t overlook neighborhood taverns for late-night dining. Start with the Hitching Company’s horse-and-buggy ride; skate in Rice Park; snowshoe in Theodore Wirth Park; take in a show at Bryant-Lake Bowl’s Cabaret Theater (see page 116 for its V-day themed play); snuggle up with some hot cocoa at Zeno Café. Want to escape the big-city lights? Head to Duluth and luxuriate in the Suites at Waterfront Plaza in Canal Park. The condos are large enough for an anti-romance party with your single friends, too. Spread the love. —COURTNEY LEWIS


Whether you hit McDonald’s daily or have sworn off the golden arches since reading Fast Food Nation, you may not know that the Centennial Lakes location in Edina claims to be “HOME OF THE WORLD’S ONLY PNEUMATIC AIR DRIVE-THRU!!!!” Hot burgers and fries are shot, bank-style, from the kitchen to a gatehouse, which can’t help but make for a happy meal. For more dining ideas, see page our Twin Cities Taste page. —RACHEL HUTTON


As Mardi Gras gets underway, party with a conscience—and great tunes, from For New Orleans. The CD was compiled by local cello rockers Jelloslave to benefit Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village, which will house musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Featuring songs by Natalie Merchant, the Jayhawks, Indigo Girls, Dan Wilson, and Prudence Johnson, it’s available at Bibelot Shops, CD stores, and —TIM GIHRING

All Dogs Go to Heaven, In Style

In between his plumbing and heating jobs, Greg Stender of Spring Valley makes custom pet coffins—of copper. They include upholstery, which he says, “doesn’t look like a plumber did it.” Most are “toe-pinched” (narrow at one end), though Stender created one “treasure chest” with a blue-satin interior. His latest design features brass trim. Starting at $300, the copper creations offer one last chance to demonstrate dogged devotion. —LISA M. B. SIMONS

Paying it Forward

Michelle Morey of Orono came to consider herself fortunate after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. Unlike many other women she met, Morey had good health insurance and a flexible job, and did not have to worry about how she was going to pay her mortgage or electric bill while focusing on recovery. Four surgeries and eight rounds of chemotherapy later, Morey founded the Pay It Forward for Women’s Cancer fund at North Memorial Hospital’s Humphrey Cancer Center. Money raised at Pay It Forward’s second annual casino night and silent auction on February 9 at the Medina Entertainment Center will be used to help cover living expenses for breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer patients at the Robbinsdale facility. More than $15,000 has already been distributed to women in need. —CAROL RATELLE LEACH


A visit to the Twin Cities Pet Expo February 17 and 18 may prompt the kids to beg for a pretty kitty as you reach for the Kleenex. Instead, consider the low-maintenance Plaja Pets. The plush pandas, parrots, and dragons developed by three Minnesota State alumni swap heads and tails to become curious new species. —C.L.




Sit-Ins Invitations Travel Alarms Benevolent Rulers Studs Scarlatti Roses


Stand-Up Interventions Roosters Ice Queens Gelding Steinbeck Whale Vomit

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