If you were on Twitter, near a computer, at a coffee shop, at work — pretty much anywhere in Charlotte at the beginning of March — you probably heard about the “Do babies and dogs belong at breweries?” debate.
Corey wrote a story on it, and while a majority of people think dogs and babies are OK at these establishments, there’s still a vocal minority who disagree.
But for Jeff Kaplan who owns his own business geared toward dog owners, dogs and babies are an acceptable addition to breweries. He frequents places like Cornelius Drafthouse with his dogs, Dewey and Tallulah, and emphasized that breweries aren’t rowdy bars. They’re more homey and welcoming.
I met up with Kaplan and Tallulah for a beer at Primal Brewery in Huntersville, where dogs are very much welcome. I have a weakness for fluffy dogs so Tallulah was fun to be around. (See above photo).
Dogphrendly, Kaplan’s free app, has more than 8,000 users nationwide and locates establishments where you and your dog can go together. But the app suggests more than just dog parks. It includes breweries, hotels, hiking trails, vets, groomers, sitters, stores, beaches, etc.
It does this by gathering information and reviews from across the web to give a well-rounded view of how “dog friendly” a location is — something that can be difficult to determine from sites like Yelp.
Dogphrendly takes into consideration things like: Does the staff ask about your dog? Do they have water bowls? Are there wastebaskets?
According to the app’s map, there are around 130 dog-friendly places in the Charlotte area.
Which is why Kaplan said the app is great for Charlotte newcomers and new puppy parents who aren’t familiar with the area.
“As a new puppy parent, you’re going through a lifestyle change,” he said. “Dogphrendly enables you to get the most out of it.”
Kaplan reviews a lot of pet products, restaurants and breweries on his blog. He also has a YouTube channel with helpful content for pet owners.
Ever wanted to know what your dog’s treats taste like? He can tell you.
Kaplan may eat dog treats, but don’t be fooled. He got his master’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Florida and was accepted into the Groundwork Labs in Durham last year. Groundwork was a major pivot for Kaplan’s business. It’s where his former blog, ManDogTravel, became Dogphrendly by integrating data aggregation, web crawling and geolocation.
“We’re taking advantage of a highly fragmented information market and assimilating it for our users, giving them the best, most actionable information,” he said. “That’s a really nerdy way to say it. What I really want to say is: we’re going to help you share great experiences with your dog.”
Kaplan loves to bring his dogs out and about, but said dog owners need to be mindful of others, especially if their puppy is less than six months old or not neutered.
“You never want to put your own values on someone else,” he said. “You have to be a responsible dog owner.”
Kaplan always asks people around him if his dogs bother them. As for Tallulah, she didn’t bother me. She was very well-behaved, attentive and most importantly, fluffy.
Don’t forget to enter Dogphrendly’s “Best of 2016” Pet-Tech Raffle by May 22 for your chance to win more than $1,000 in pet products.
Photos: Sarah Headley