For many people, home isn't home without a fluffy friend waiting at the door for them.
It's a big part of the reason why Tucson's four-legged tenants will be sharing part of the spotlight with the usual lineup of exhibitors at next weekend's fall Home and Garden Show, produced by the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association.
The twice-a-year exhibition showcases home improvement trends, remodeling ideas and outdoor living. This year's show includes more than 200 exhibitors encompassing everything from longtime Southern Arizona companies like Patio Pools & Spas to DIY demonstrations to home-security equipment, said home show director Amy McReynolds.
One of this year's new exhibitors, Southern Arizona-based Central Pet, which offers dog boarding, grooming and training in Amado and Tucson, will be hosting a "Pet Experience." The exhibition will include pet supply vendors, demonstrations on everything from basic obedience to how to protect pets from rattlesnakes and an agility arena where a few Tucson pups will strut their stuff.
"They'll be running the full obstacle course and jumping through hoops," said Central Pet owner Julie Grounds. "We're just going to be doing demonstrations about every half hour."
The idea took shape at last year's home show when Grounds stopped by an exhibit for Tucson Turf to help demonstrate its dog-friendly products, which Central Pet uses at its location. The dog she brought along turned out to be one of the stars of the show.
"The booth was overrun," Grounds said. "We were amazed by how many referrals we got and how many people were way into their dogs and wanted to see more dog activity at the show."
McReynolds said the home show wanted to bring in Central Pet to emphasize that there is more to the SAHBA Home Show than floor plans and patio design. For so many people, animals are such a big part of the home that the Central Pet exhibit seemed a natural fit.
"We want to focus on how you live in your home, whether you're an owner or a renter. The show is not just about if you want to remodel," McReynolds said. "It's about how you live in your home, and pets are a big part of that. They're part of the family."
Besides offering demonstrations on animal care and obedience, Central Pet will also be offering advice on ways to make sure that home and your pets coexist comfortably. Pet vendors like Dig Defence will show how to keep pets from digging out under the fence, and Urine Off will show how to remove stains and, most critically, smells from the inevitable accident.
"The biggest thing is getting the smell out of the house," Grounds said. "If the dog continues to smell it, they're going to continue going to the bathroom. Eliminating that odor is really important."
The Pima Animal Care Center also will be offering on-site adoptions.
McReynolds said she hopes exhibits like Central Pet's will underscore the diversity of the show. And it's not the only exhibit that McReynolds hopes will broaden the show's appeal.
This year's show will also feature more activities for children, including a 4,800-square-foot hay-bale maze created by the Marana Pumpkin Patch.
Longtime exhibitor and show sponsor Michaels will also be offering "make it and take it" craft classes, as well as face painting for children from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
And lest any Wildcat football fans worry about missing Saturday's tilt against Stanford, the game will be screened at the K-Hit Cantina located in the Tucson Arena and sponsored by K-Hit 107.5 and Golden Eagle Distributors.
"We really want to bring in all kinds of people," McReynolds said.
Some of the features of the SAHBA 2012 Home & Garden Show
• Green building - The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association booth will provide information and resources on how to begin creating an environmentally responsible home, including options for solar power.
• Home security - Home-security expert Keith Duncan will demonstrate a range of low- to high-tech methods for keeping your home safe, including everything from which screws to use to biometric locks that read fingerprints.
• Local wines - The Sonoita/Elgin Chamber of Commerce will be offering wine samples from Sonoita and Elgin wineries.
• Gardening demonstrations - Tucson Village Farm, a working urban farm that is part of the Pima County Cooperative Extension and the University of Arizona, will offer gardening classes on Saturday.
If You Go
• What: Southern Arizona Home Builders Association 2012 Home & Garden Show.
• When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday.
• Where: Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.
• Cost: $8. Discounts available, including half-price tickets for age 50 and older on Friday.
• Information: sahbahomeshow.com or 795-3025.