On Halloween evening, I stopped by The Dining Dog at Firdale Village, where dogs rule and their humans simply tag along.
Dorothy Moore, the founder and owner, had sent a message via Twitter that all dogs in costume would receive a free pumpkin cupcake from 3-6 p.m. on Halloween. My teenage daughter found a jester hat and cape for our 8-year-old Yellow Lab, Jake, and we were off to check out the doggie hot spot.
As we entered The Dining Dog with our 70-pound bundle of nervous energy, we were greeted by the curious smiles of other dog owners accompanying their very small — and, by comparison, very calm — dogs. Moore welcomed us with a smile and showed extraordinary patience with Jake, who could barely contain his excitement as she insisted on having him sample the entire menu, from the low-sodium chicken broth dog “cocktail” with a chewy swizzle stick to a dog-friendly cannoli dessert made of oat flour, yogurt and carob.
And while you might think all of this is a bit indulgent for a canine, Moore charmed us with stories about The Dining Dog’s good works. Not only does Moore’s place host fundraisers for pet (excuse the pun) causes such as canine rescue organizations, she quickly shows her generosity to dogs — or dog owners — in need. For example, a couple of weeks ago, when Firdale Village hosted its first-ever Furry Festival — showcasing the shopping center’s pet-friendly businesses — Moore began chatting with a woman whose dog had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was going to be put to sleep later that day. To everyone’s delight, Moore served the dog a complimentary full steak dinner, with all the trimmings.
Like it says on a pillow decorating the sofa inside The Dining Dog: “Dogs leave pawprints on your heart.”
— Teresa Wippel