‘Yappy Hour’ proving popular at Market Street Inn

Pets 4

At first, it appeared Gracie didn’t like peas, but it turned out she’d get to them later.

The 10-year-old, blue-eyed Weimaraner, having dinner on the deck at Market Street Inn during  Yappy Hour, was focusing on the  bread crouton that garnished her bowl of chicken and rice. She gnawed at it whole as her owners wondered aloud if they should cut it up for her.

“No, she’s making it work,” said Pam Whalen of Salisbury, who enjoys the dog with Kim Upton.

The two joined their pet on the deck where, on Wednesdays this summer, Savory Chicken and Rice Topped with Bacon and Wellington Steak Stew over a bone crouton, paired with cool water  in a shiny silver bowl, is on the pooch menu.

A dog bone treat is also available. Prices range from $2.50 to $4.50.

“It must be pretty good. None of the dogs have sent dinner back,” said  Andrew Cupp, manager and bartender, looking cheerful in a smile and necktie. The meals are suitable for humans and rather tasty. “It’s good stuff. I’ve tried it,” he said.

Gracie agreed as she gobbled chunks of chicken, carefully avoiding the peas until they were alone in a pile at the bottom of the bowl. Then, she licked them up.

The idea for Yappy Hour came from the animal-loving restaurant staff that not only developed the menu,  but arranged to donate 50 cents from every meal sold to the Wicomico County Humane Society.

“It’s all for fun,” Cupp said.

“It’s a family event. You can come out to dinner, enjoy the deck and you don’t have to leave your dog at home. And, the dogs can make new friends,” he said.

Oscar Gonzales of Dover was there with his new service dog, an 18-month-old pit bull named Chief John Bratt. Service dogs are trained to sit quietly at restaurants and not receive meals,  but Chief guzzled a bowl of water and wagged his tail in greeting.

“This is a wonderful idea. It definitely presents public awareness and it’s  nice public access,” said Gonzales, who got a service dog after serving in the military from 1997 to 2007 and being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

At a nearby table, 15-week Bentley, handsome in a bowtie attached to  his collar, sampled clear water presented in a bowl lettered with the Tito’s Homemade Vodka logo, gazed over the Wicomico River and got tangled around the legs of his good-natured owners, Angie and Stewart Smythe of Salisbury.

“We came here tonight because we’re trying to socialize him. I think he’s going to try the chicken, since he’s on a chicken  and rice dog food,”  Angie said, as Bentley, who will grow to be about 100 pounds, sniffed Lena, another service dog at Chief’s table.

Also waiting for chow was 2-year-old Koda, a white, blue-eyed cattle dog with owners Manny Soto and Rhianna Greenfield of Salisbury.

“I think he’s going to like it. He loves everything – carrots, sweet potatoes, anything except spinach,” Rhianna said of the rescue, sent from a shelter in Alabama to Cambridge after the other puppies in his litter died.

Meanwhile, Gracie had finished the peas.

“How’d she like it? Is it her new favorite?” a guest called, and Upton and Whalen nodded.

“It will be now,” Upton said, laughing. “She’ll be requesting it again, I’m sure.”

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