Dining Al Fresco With Hound

by Houndstooth on

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.

You Rang?  For Dinner?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.

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  • That looks like such a nice relaxing meal! What a fun time. She was really a good girl 🙂 Pretty much EVERYTHING I have done with Tibby has been an adventure. Before Tibby I was always too nervous to try new things – like going on long car trips by myself. Now we go all the time! Having Tibby is better than having another person, because she doesn’t tell me how to drive!

  • I’m not surprised that Bunny is such a good companion and that you can take her anywhere and be proud of her. All her modeling training and experience has to pay off in real world situations even when she isn’t required to pose for the camera. While I don’t know of any dog friendly eating places in our town it is something I’d like to do.

    I’d love to do more with Beryl but I always feel guilty about leaving Frankie behind. Perhaps if I had another Greyhound they could be rotated so he always had company, lol! He actually wouldn’t be that bad to take out and about more, it’s just that Beryl would be much easier!

    • It is much harder to manage two dogs than one. Maybe you could plan a picnic with a dog-free friend and get some practice with Beryl and Frankie sitting calmly under the table while you eat. A stuffed, frozen Kong is a good incentive to make sitting under the table more fun.

  • Bunny never disappoints! How nice you were able to have her with you on the dining patio.

  • Bunny is a true ambassagreyhound in all situations. We love Dining out with the kids. Taking a 4 can be a logistical mess sometimes, but they usually settle down quickly, so we can eat in peace. I think an RV road trip, ala Joey and Scout, would great fun.

  • We’ve eaten out with the boys singly, and when pups, but have never done so now that they’re grown. Zachary’s need to be doing “something” has me thinking he would be a pest, although I might be wrong. Henry would probably be just fine. One of these days… 😛

  • Sue

    So glad you and Bunny got to eat out.

  • I bet she charmed everyone. Mums often take me to our local pub. I have to stay in the car in winter as I’m not allowed inside (though some pubs do) But in the summer there is a big grassy beer garden with tables and umbrellas, so we often stop by or Mum & I call in after a walk. How about if we swap some of our dog friendly pubs for one or two of your dog parks?! Deccy x

  • Impressed that Noodles and company let her dine with you. Wish we would have know you were in town we could have hooked up for a walk at the park or something. We might be able to take Bella or Amiee but Winston would be a big fat NO for sure. He is 5 but he is like Kuster he has some manners to learn and then he whines a lot, I mean a lot. 🙂 So glad you got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

  • Yes, I could see Mr. Kuster now. Deciding to take up a trail on his own knocking tables over as he went. Or, maybe doing a “on it” just because he can. Landing on the table next to us, one foot ending up in chillimac or salad and his happy tail smacking another persons face. Lets try it!

  • I’m so glad you too this step and that it came out so well for you. I’ve enjoyed dining al fresco with my dogs. And I’ve found that even Agatha the terror did very well with it–especially if we took a frozen Kong for her to enjoy while we were eating.

    I find many places are happy to have dogs at outdoor seats. We’ve only been turned away from one place when we asked in 20 years.

    As I suggested to Sue above, you could always practice your al fresco dining with the other dogs by taking a picnic lunch somewhere. I’ve found that it’s a good chance to teach the skill of resting under the table quietly.

    I hope we get to read about lots of other outdoor dining fun. And it sounds like Mr. Taleteller is even game for taking Kuster. That man has quite the sense of humor, doesn’t he?

  • Roo

    Yay for you and Bunny! Nommin together what could be better? 😀 Spring’s here so that means…Hey Boo Boo how bout a picnic basket? 😀 I hear there’s dog beer out there fur you to take along Bunny 😀

    Waggin at ya,

  • How wonderful for you and Bunny. I was not surprised she was so good.

  • I am so happy for you and Bunny. I am not one bit surprised she was so good.

  • That’s fun! There are some places at the old town square near us that allow dogs to join you on the patio, but we haven’t been to any of them yet. I love it when Mom lets me go to Lowe’s with her, though. We practice walking and commands along the aisles, then I help her pick out her things. And I usually get lots of petting from other customers too!

  • There are many doggy friendly restaurants here but we do find a few of them and we love to take Eva there.

    Glad that you had a lovely time dining out with Bunny. She is a true princess.

  • KB

    You remind me of our friends Angus and Wilf. Did Bunny get half a croissant while you ate? 🙂

    It sounds like fun. I love taking K into town with me because she makes friends with everyone… R loves going too but he is a bit less peaceful!

  • I’m not surprised that Bunny did so well. After all she is an expert therapy dog. The skills needed for that should transfer well in a situation like dining out. Here’s to many more dining adventures.

  • Frankie Furter and Ernie

    Bunny you got to eat OUT with your mom??? THAT is sooo cool. Was she well behaved???

  • sara

    What a treat for you, Bunny, and the other patrons!

    I brought Oreo and Misty to a town wide lobster bake in Maine one time. All the locals had their dogs tied up to the hitch of their pick up trucks, so I felt like I was breaking some “maine law” by bringing my dogs to the tent and long tables. No one said anything though.

  • How fun! This is actually something I’ve always wanted to do to.

  • The OP Pack

    Mom says she would love to do that too, but we aren’t sure which of us would get to go:)

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning2

  • Jen

    While some places by me have outdoor dining, they don’t have outdoor ordering, and you also frequently have to pass through the restaurant to get to the back deck. So, no outside eating for Miss Elka and I. I doubt she’d just lay quietly the entire time, either; she would sit, and she would likely beg from me (sitting or in a down), but I’d have to keep an eye on her and be able to manage where she was, especially depending on where we were sitting. It’s just something we’ve only sort of worked on; at home, we typically eat at the coffee table or at our desks, not the kitchen table, so it’s not the norm.

    Now you know you can, though, and I’m sure you’ll go more often!

  • That’s what we’ll love to do! There are not many dog friendly restaurants where we’re at. There’s perhaps just a couple of Doggie cafes that serve food to both owners and pups. 🙂 I’ll bring Popcorn there when she turns one! Bunny looks uber comfy on her travel bed 🙂

  • I want to do this too. I think we’ll start with the yogurt place. They have outdoor seating and doggy frozen yogurt. Bunny is a wonderful ambassador.

  • Cindy Gingrich

    Bunny is a perfect example of why there should be *more* dog-friendly eating places! We’ve had our two (borzoi and greyhound) to Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT. Ice cream eating is outside for everyone — very fun, the dogs were good and loved it.

  • What fun! It’s so lovely that Bunny is the perfect dog to take on adventures like these. She is such a natural. Shiva is a huge beggar and even though there are a few pubs on the waterfront with patios that are dog-friendly we have yet to go. Once we tried but the patio was far too busy and we couldn’t find a spot in the corner that would prevent Shiva from bugging people. Maybe this year?

  • Yay, good on you for braving it 🙂 We love taking the dogs out for a meal/snack with us. That said, we’ve actually only taken Rocky with us to eat out once so far, really must do it more with him!
    We found when we were eating out with a greyhound (when we had Arrow), he was like a celebrity, people would constantly come up and ask if they could pat him!

  • We have been practicing eating out with the dogs at picnic tables in the park. We still have many more lessons. Nina would be the calm one that I would take to a patio restaurant.

    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily

  • Good for you and Bunny! I’m so glad that this new opportunity is open for you girls – next you’ll be going out to brunch. =)

  • How absolutely wondewful

    Mommi and I think Bunny is the most pawfect dining companion. I’m so glad you decided to go fow it. We think the othew dinews’ expewience was made lots bettew by having bootiful, elegant, wellbehaved BUNNY thewe. Now that Spwing is hewe, we walk a lot awound ouw new city and one of the nicest things is that doowing ewwands, we aways can sit somewhewe togethew at a nice outdoow table, eithew fow coffee ow a dwink ow a weel meal too

    I hope you get to do this lots mowe times too
    Smoochie kisses

  • Bunny is the perfect dining companion. Congrats to you for trying it. I wish there was somewhere like that around here but places with patios are so crowded.

  • Jen

    How nice that you and Bunny had a chance to have dinner out together!
    I have been wanting to go to a pub with one of the dogs for the past few years,
    just go sit on a patio somewhere and have a beer and a burger! Last year I found a few places
    that would allow dogs on their patio, so hopefully this year we will be able to do this at least once.
    I haven’t decided which dog I would take, maybe Leroy because he drools less and there is less chance that he would shake his head and have drool fly and hit someone while they were eating:)

  • Chester

    I wish there was more places to eat with my two leggers. Always fun to get fresh restaurant foodables!

  • Congrats on dining with your doggy! My current goals are a bit whimpy at the moment, but the goals I HAD were amazing and accomplished. My goal was to be able to have my fear-aggressive dog pass the CGC and become less fearful of strangers. We accomplished that last year, and it never stops feeling amazing! My current goals are less exciting. Like you, I want to eat out with my dog sitting politely at my feet. I want her to become even more comfortable around strangers. I want to compete in Rally-O. The list goes on and on. =) I love setting reasonable goals and accomplishing them only to set more!

  • jet

    I would LOVE to take Barbie out for breakfast again – the one time I tried there was a street festival on and there was a brass band there, totally freaked Barbie out and she kept trying to back away. I want to do it without the brass band this time. Lol.

  • Sally Lees

    We recently went to a city called Napier (New Zealand) for the annual Art Deco weekend, and took George to a couple of restaurants and cafes. He’s a real “Mr Perfect” out and about, and it was relaxing and enjoyable to have him along. We took a dog bed and he lay down – people who arrived after us got such a surprise when we got up to leave, and George appeared.
    The Art Deco weekend was a perfect opportunity to promote greyhounds, which is why we’d gone along. He was the centre of attention at every event we went to, and even got serenaded with “Sweet Georgia Brown” by a barbershop-style group.

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