Local business creates a happy hour with pets to support animal rescue groups

Pet lovers in the Huntington community united with their furry friends for drinks and food at The Bodega for yappy hour, Friday, Nov. 9, with proceeds going toward animal shelters and rescue groups.

Anne and Corey Wilson, members of the Huntington community, said they have never been to yappy hour before, but they enjoyed being able to go out to eat with their animals.

“We never get a chance like this to spend evenings with our dog, and this is wonderful being able to take our dogs out and we don’t get this often,” Anne Wilson said.

Corey Wilson said he hopes the idea inspires other businesses in Huntington to begin to allow animals.

“When you go all over the country to different cities, they have so many more dog parks and dog friendly places, I hope it spreads here,” Corey Wilson said.

“The second you tell me I can bring my dog I’m there,” Anne Wilson said. “And you can’t beat dogs, beer and food, and it’s been a great dinner so far.”

Susan Ballard, owner of The Bodega, said she created the event after living in a pet friendly area her whole life, visiting other cities and loving her five rescue animals.

“I mainly got the idea because I’m from Florida, that’s extremely pet friendly, and I went to Asheville where I met more dogs than I did people and everywhere was so pet friendly,” Ballard said.

Ballard said the increasing population of pets without shelter is what gave her the initiative to help fundraising for the rescue groups.

“Especially in this area there’s a problem with spaying and neutering, when you go to other places there’s not as much of a pet population,” Ballard said.

Ballard said she decided to bring the event back after having such a successful summer kicking off the event.

“The first time we did was over the summer, and in three months we raised $1400, and then I made the dog menu everything is made from scratch,” Ballard said. “You’re out socializing with your pet, you’re giving back to the community, supporting a local business, and it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Ballard said the money for the rescue groups is derived from activities and special days including yappy hour.

“Everything purchased off the dog menu is money given directly and 100% to the foundation, also anything purchased from our black Friday and small business Saturday is given to the organization again,” Ballard said.

For the holiday season, The Bodega will have a professional photographer to take pictures of animals, a Santa Claus, and a Christmas tree filled with ornaments of dogs available for purchase, as well as a dog’s thanksgiving and a yappy hour Christmas party.

“Every animal deserves a home and their own family,” Ballard said. “Dogs are loyal companions and have beautiful souls and ask so little of us.”

Lillie Bodie can be contacted at [email protected].