BrewHound celebrates dogs, their people and the outdoors

Florida Times-Union |

NEPTUNE BEACH | Charlie had it made in the shade Saturday afternoon.

Wearing stylish sun goggles and a dashing blue bandana, Charlie was a sharp-dressed dog as he watched the canine bikini contest contestants – ranging from Chihuahuas and poodles to Australian shepherds and golden retrievers -- strut their stuff at BrewHound Dog Park + Bar.

The bikini contest and a pool party were among the festivities composing the grand opening celebration of the unique combination of doggie playground and people bar. The oasis for canines and humans is on one acre of park-like property at 1848 Kings Circle South in Neptune Beach.

The membership-based dog park is located on the East Coast Greenway recreation trail, which spans from Maine to Key West.

Co-founders Lauren Wyckoff and Jason Underwood, who have four dogs -- Scrambles, Wicket, Willow and Too -- created BrewHound, which opened two months ago.

"It chose us more than we chose it," Underwood said of how the dogs inspired them to start the dog park and bar. They were on a vacation in Orlando, sitting beside a swimming pool and really missed their dogs back home.

"We started thinking, why can't we bring the dogs with us to places they would be absolutely fine at," he said.

Then they started thinking about people who work all day without their dogs. And they wanted a place where people could go out for a beer with friends and not have to leave their dog alone at home.

"We wanted to make a place where you could integrate a social atmosphere and an outdoor space and your dog," Underwood said. "We wanted to mix them all together so you'd never have to leave your dog at home if you didn't want to grab a drink with a friend after work or just spend a day outside."

So they established BrewHound, which allows dogs and their owners to spend more time together as well as socialize with others.

"We love our dogs. They're our family and ... we've always loved the great outdoors," Wyckoff said. "We put our loves together: dogs + drinks + the great outdoors and that's pretty much our dream trifecta."

For the puppers, BrewHound has separately fenced areas for large- and small-breed dogs. There the dogs can be unleashed to play and run around under the supervision of BrewHound Ruffarees, employees who keep an eye on the them to make sure things don't get too rambunctious.

Meanwhile, the outdoor bar and beer garden offer humans a place to kick back. It serves Bold Bean specialty coffee, local craft beer and wine on tap. There also are lawn games set up outside and large-screen outdoor TVs offering sports and special events coverage.

Saturday, a steady crowd of dogs and their owners came out for the grand opening.

Charlie was among the most handsome dogs at the pool party. The 14-year-old "dingo dog" and his owner, Stacy Hoag, are at the dog park almost every day. They were among the first members.

"We love BrewHound. It is the best dog park we've ever been to," said Hoag, who's lived in three states and been to dozens of dog parks with Charlie.

BrewHound stands out, she said because of the high quality care the dogs receive and the attention to detail that ensures they have a good, safe time.

"It is so apparent they care about dogs and the dog community," said Hoag, noting that it's "just a business" for other dog parks they've gone to in the past.

"Here, they love my dog. He's greeted by name, and they really care about him," she said.

Charlie definitely loves it, she said.

"This is his favorite favorite place to be. He's 14 years old, and there's not a lot he can do or wants to do anymore, but he loves it here. His eyes just light up whenever we come here," Hoag said.

Molly, a 5-month-old golden retriever, made her debut in the bikini contest. The happy pup looked adorable in a pink bikini with flowers.

"We love BrewHound and saw they had a bikini contest, and she had to enter. We wanted to support BrewHound," her owner, Gabby Loeschen, said.

In addition to the pool party and bikini contest, there also were booths from local dog rescue organizations.

Wyckoff and Underwood said a portion of the event's proceeds were being donated to rescue groups.

BrewHound is open , , and .

Find more information about BrewHound membership at dogs or Facebook.

Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075

___

(c)2019 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

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