As animal enthusiasts, we know how important it is to find a love interest that feels the same way about their (and your!) cherished companions. What better way to spend a first date with a new suitor than to both bring your sidekicks along to join in on the fun—and a little evaluation? After all, who knows you better than your pet? As Wendy Diamond, resident dog and relationship expert says, “You know it’s a good date if they bring treats!”
If You’re Out with an Outdoorsy-Type: The first and obvious go-to for any doggie rendezvous is the dog park, which is a fantastic place to meet up with little pressure. Parks like Madison Square Park in New York City is a perfect place to go to play with your pet and get great grub for both you and your furry friends at the Shake Shack (www.shakeshacknyc.com); if you’re in L.A., head over to Laurel Canyon Park; in Arizona, try Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert. Outdoor concerts and hiking trips are also great ways to get active with both your date and your pet, and books like Hiking With Your Dog: Happy Trails by Gary Hoffman and the Best Hikes with Dogs book series from Mountaineer Books (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org) can give great insight to where you should go in your area. Bring some of your pets’ favorite treats and water, and a picnic for you and your date (including some chilled wine, perhaps?) for that amorous day in the sun.
If You’re Out with the Sporty Type: Ball parks all over the country are beginning to have “Dog Day” baseball games, like the Chicago White Sox Dog Day each spring, Dog Day at Shea Stadium with the New York Mets, Spring Dog Day with the Toronto Blue Jays and the annual Dog Day at a San Francisco Giants major league baseball game in August. The Oakland A’s also host a spring Dog Day, where your pup might just fall in love with second baseman Mark Ellis’ pug, Brutus! Check out your local stadium and see if they have a pet-friendly game on the schedule. And if you’re veggie, look into your local park’s new vegetarian-friendly options—more and more stadiums are offering some great veg grub.
If You’re Out with The Giving Type: If you want to give back, feel great and look like an angel, volunteering is a great way to achieve all of the above. Look into some volunteer programs at your local children’s hospital, nursing homes, schools or camps that allow you to bring your pet, and you could make someone’s day AND score big points with your date. Even if you can’t take your pet, check out some animal shelters in your area to spend some quality time with a pet in need, and bring your date along! Pets911.com (www.pets911.com) is a great source for finding local shelters and services where you can donate your time, and hospital volunteer programs like the one at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio (http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/give/volunteer/dog/) is a fantastic way to help out—check your city to find one.
If You’re Out with the Domestic Type: Nothing can be more romantic than a bit of culinary camaraderie! Whip up something for you and your pets—check out pet-recipe websites like www.yummyfordogs.org for easy vegan eats, or www.thepoop.com (funny name, great ideas!) for scrumptious recipes like Munchy Crunchy Meat Treats, Veggie Vittles, and even Doggy Pizza.
If You’re Out with the Party ‘Animal:’ No matter what city you’re in or near (New York, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta—you name it!), there is a plethora of doggie-allowed cocktail hours and even pet-friendly restaurants and bars: “Yappy Hour” hosted by our very own Wendy Diamond—check out www.yappyhour.com for dates, times and locations; “Canine Cocktail Hour” at Atlanta’s Hotel Indigo (http://www.midtownatlantahotel.com); the “Doggie Cocktail Hour” at the Cypress Inn in Carmel, California (http://www.cypress-inn.com); and “Canines & Cocktails For a Cause” hosted by Paws Pet Boutique (www.pawspetboutique.com) at Loews Annapolis Hotel in Maryland on the last Friday of every month from April through September. If you’re in the New York area, there are also several dog-friendly bars, including the Barking Dog in Manhattan, Moonshine in Brooklyn, and MTK Café in Montauk. For more pet-friendly bars and restaurants in your area, do a quick web search or visit www.petfriendlytravel.com.