Monday, July 26, 2010

Hot Date #2: In Which We Go to the Dogs

Any dog owner should know how important it is that their significant other at least be okay with their dog—and what if you and the person you’re dating both have dogs? Isn’t it equally important to know that your dogs will get along with each other?

Of course, when Steve and I first started dating, the former was our only real issue. Steve had self-professed himself as apathetic to dogs and certainly never thought he would own one, let alone love one. Me, on the other hand? I’ve always been a dog lover and I brought my adopted Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever mix into the relationship. Steve only met her once before we moved in together; thankfully, Miss Wendy is a total lovebug and it didn’t take long for her to turn Steve into a dog person. So much so that he was the one who gave the go-ahead for us to adopt another pup in need, Rigby, earlier this year—and now we are two humans with two dogs. A nice round foursome!

That said, Steve and I agree that a doggie date is a great idea, especially for those who are still getting acquainted, and we set out to create a doggie date that would be fun for us as people and Wendy and Rigby as dogs. There are the usual ideas—a morning or afternoon at the doggie park; a stroll in one’s neighborhood or local public park; a few hours at a dog-friendly beach should there be one at a nearby lake or ocean shore.
Now, we are lucky enough to live in an extremely dog-friendly city, but as long as a person does his or her research, I’m sure other places have dog-friendly stores and restaurants just as Greenville does. You can either call or check out websites such as www.bringfido.com to find them—or simply explore your town or city and look for the universal signs of dog friendliness. The usual ones would be the obvious signs, bowls of water outside the door, etc.

Our doggie date began when we piled our pups in the car and headed downtown for “Yappy Hour”. This event is held several times a year by a locally-owned small pet product shop called the Barkery Bistro. They offer free snacks and drinks for both their doggie and human patrons, and this time they were highlighting a local rescue organization called Miss Alli’s.

We spent about an hour at the Bistro. Wendy and Rigby mingled with the other dogs and received free treats while Steve and I shared a beer and did a bit of shopping for our very spoiled pets. The representatives from Miss Alli’s Rescue gave a little presentation about the wonderful work they do and introduced us to some of their available dogs—and it was at this point that noticed a familiar glint in Steve’s eye. I immediately grabbed him by the hand and dragged him, Wendy, and Rigby out of the shop. “Not a dog person”, my foot!

Of course, at this point it was getting a bit late in the evening and time for dinner! Most of the restaurants on Main Street in Greenville have sidewalk seating, and as far as I know all of said sidewalk seating is dog friendly. We decided to check out a new restaurant, Kozani, which serves a variety of Greek and Italian dishes and has half-priced bottles of wine on certain weekdays—including this particular day! The waitress brought a bowl of ice water out for Wendy and Rigby, who we leashed to a nearby post and who behaved surprisingly well while we ate our skewers and gyros and enjoyed our $12 bottle of restaurant wine. (They really weren’t kidding about half price!) We had only one little snafu when another local strolled by with his dog and Wendy and Rigby nearly tore themselves away from their leashes trying to say hello. That was a bit nerve-wracking and soon after we polished off the wine, paid our check and headed home with our happy, tired dogs.

As romantic or sexy dates go, this one would probably rate only about a 2 out of 10. Our dogs are fairly well-behaved but I think just about any dog would be a bit over-excited to be in a new place, around other dogs, and if you want a more relaxing one-on-one type evening this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

That said, as a “we’re still getting to know each other” or “we want to go out but our poor dogs have been stuck in the crate all day” evenings go, Steve and I give this one a solid 8 out of 10. It’s not relaxing, no—but it’s a great feeling to know that your best doggie friend(s) are having a good time, and again, it’s always good to make sure that if you are a dog lover, the person you’re dating is as well. Or on the other hand, if you both have dogs, it’s always a good idea to introduce them and make sure they get along as well as the two of you do!

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