I have a confession to make. Over the past several years, I’ve set a goal for myself that I’ve never accomplished. It’s a small thing, really, and the only thing preventing me from doing it has been my nerve. Every year during my Spring Break, I tell myself that I’m going to go and enjoy eating out with one of the dogs in tow. However, something has always prevented me from getting it done. Usually, it’s the fear that someone will object and be offended that I’m there with my dog.
I’ve enjoyed eating out with Bunny before, but this has always been when we’ve been away on vacation. That is, unless you count our trips to Emack and Bolio’s for ice cream, but that’s not exactly dining out. Not that I have anything against going out for ice cream, mind you. Still, I’ve wanted to be able to go and sit down someplace to eat with her along. Part of it is because it would make going out and taking her along on errands with me much easier if I didn’t have to worry about leaving her in the car, and part of it is because I always feel a little silly sitting at a table by myself when I go out somewhere.
Lately, my husband has been busy a lot on the weekends. I’ve been struggling with not letting that make me a complete homebody. Don’t get me wrong, I love our house and it’s my favorite place to be, but sometimes it’s nice to go out in the world. I’d be a pretty boring blogger if I never went anywhere or did anything. Having him so busy on weekends has made keeping myself active a really tough job.
So, this Sunday, Bunny and I set out to hike and enjoy some of the fantastic Spring weather we’ve been blessed with. I knew I would be cursing myself come Monday if I’d let the weekend pass me by without enjoying it some. As we finished our hike, it was getting to be dinner time for me. A light bulb went off in my head. We were near Bloomington, which is just in general a much friendlier city than Peoria, where we often go. There are lots of places in Bloomington-Normal with outdoor seating and it was perfect weather for dining al fresco. Why wait for Spring Break?
We stopped at Noodles & Company and I went inside to order, with the windows down enough that The Pupcake would be comfortable until I got back. I stepped up to order, prepared to get my salad to go if we weren’t going to be allowed to eat on the patio. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that it would be fine for us to eat out there. So, I grabbed my number and my bottle of water, then went out to the car and fetched Bunny, her travel bed, travel bowl and some water for her.
We walked onto the patio and soon faced a small dilemma. Everyone else thought dining on the patio was a good idea, too. Since it was just me, I sat on the ledge, away from the nearest tables, and put Bunny’s bed down. Several people asked if they could pet her, and we obliged. Someone was so charmed by her that she offered to give up her table for us, but I declined. Just after my food arrived, a table opened up, so it was all good.
I was really proud of Bunny. She laid on her dog bed very quietly almost the whole time. She was quiet and didn’t beg from anyone. In fact, I doubt many people even knew she was there. She did get a little bit of my chicken Caesar salad and a bite of chicken, and I did let her clean the bowl for me. Honestly, I wouldn’t think about taking any of our other dogs to eat out with me that way, because I don’t think their manners are good enough. Blueberry tends to whine when she gets bored and she and Morgan are both major beggars. Kuster has a lot of manners left to learn.
Eating out with Bunny was just such a fun experience. Part of it was because it felt like a new world opening near here for us. Spring Break is just a week away, and we will be going out to do things a lot during that time. Another part of it was that she brings such a sweet presence to whatever she joins. Having her close by is like having a calm cloud descend on you. My only regret is that I didn’t bring the camera with me. Instead, I snapped a few pictures with my phone, just to remind myself that we really did it.
So, how about all of you? Are there things you’ve wanted to do with your dog? What sort of stuff would you like to try, or have you tried? I have a feeling that Sunday night’s dining won’t be our last time.