Not so long ago I attended a soiree for a local artist at one of midtowns more cutting edge nightspots. It was a fairly lavish affair, altho I admit I hardly knew any of the art patrons.That didn't matter because the food was excellent and it was an open bar...
As I made my way toward that bar, I nearly tripped over a dog, a well- behaved lady Weimaraner to be exact. I was surprised to see her at such a posh event even though dogs are welcome pretty much everywhere here. Her male owner said he didn't think anyone would mind. I certainly didn't mind and spent most of the evening stroking her velvety grey coat and talking with her owner, even though my date was the artist for whom the gathering was thrown...(he understood ).
The Weimars' owner echoes what I have been hearing from other dog owners lately...
Taking your dog out in public started at the Bark Parks.
We would sit on benches while our pups exercised and talk with like- minded owners about our beloved dogs. No longer content to just sit on a park bench, or chat with aquaintances when we pick up our dogs at daycare, owners are looking for more ways to include dogs in their lives. (Can National Take Your Dog to Work Day be far behind)?
Now, my neighborhood boasts of a number of luxurious dog businesses, several dog day spas, two dog clothing boutiques, three dog day care centers, a behavioral center ( no longer referred to as a training facility)five grooming salons, a shop specializing in dog themed home décor and fashion and a bakery catering to canines only, are all, give or take, walking distance from my apartment.
A restaurant, four blocks from me, recently named by a city paper as the best place to hang out late night,has just added a large outdoor dining area complete with a four foot fence in case a customers'dog slips his lead.
My friend Jenny just complained that there are not enough coffee houses in the city to take her dog to for her morning cup of Joe....(I could count sixteen coffeehouses that can easily accommodate dogs, I didn't think that was a shortage).
A mere thirty miles from here, a company is organizing day hiking events for dog owners. And in the same country setting, a small cafe has an area dedicated to dog owners and on Saturdays they can listen to some local music and have an artist paint their dogs' portraits while they brunch and sip coffee. Can you see a trend coming?
I once had a rescued Persian cat who did some print ads and video work. She was extensively trained and to keep her socialized I often took her to a friends' restaurant where the Chef fed her shrimp and she drank cream from a saucer among celebrities at this high end establishment who never batted an eye,(or maybe never noticed) that a cat was sitting at the bar on her own barstool. I admit it was fun and and a little decadent to dress up, and hang out at a cool restaurant with your pet.
But I am really amazed at a local woman who has been organizing Canine Cocktail socials with great success. Many area bars and restaurants have outdoor spaces with tables and chairs, often with an outdoor bartender, and she rents the outdoor space, charges a small cover fee,then dog owners on her list get a notice as to where the next social will be. Owners come with their dogs to drink, eat and be merry with other dog owners and their dogs. The bar gets all the bar business and the organizer gets to keep the cover charge. Dogs must first pass a meet and greet test or be certified Canine Good Citizens, then the owner gets on the list. Many of these people are working professionals who want to spend time with their dog and would love a little after work socializing/networking as well. These socials were a great success this summer. If you are a social type person looking for a new dog related business with almost no overhead, this may be just the thing for you to organize in your city.And it also is a great fundraiser idea for your club or rescue group. My city is very dog friendly and dogs go everywhere anyway, but despite that, the chance to attend a social function where everyone takes their dog is proving to be very popular. A local shelter is now organizing events at the luxurious Loews Hotel on West End with great success also.
If you want to socialize your dog, PetSmart is a good place to go.
If you want to socialize WITH your dog, maybe you should look for a Canine Cocktail party near you....