Doggie Dining Spots in Saint Louis


The weather is warm and it can be fun to take your furry friend along when dining out. Many restaurants with outdoor seating are dog-friendly.

Champ chow Alvin

Chow ready to chow down!

This is a sampling of Saint Louis area dining spots to mix and mingle with the canine crowd.  This list is not comprehensive and you may want to call ahead to double-check your dining choice’s pet-friendliness.

Failoni’s in Dogtown welcomes dogs with treats on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on their large patio.

Anthonino’s on The Hill welcomes dogs with water bowls on their side patio.

The Boat House in Forest Park is a favorite for dog owners who enjoy lakeside outdoor dining.

The Forest Park Café also welcomes canine companions for outdoor dining.

Carl’s Delicatessen has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Katie’s Pizza + Pasta has an outdoor patio where canine companions are welcome

Wild Flower Restaurant invites well behaved dogs and their owners to try their cuisine.

Park Avenue Coffee has dog friendly dining options.

Tamm Avenue Grill is a popular destination for pet families.

Pi Pizzeria welcomes dog dining where outdoor patios are available.

Most Starbucks with outdoor tables allow well behaved canine companions.

Many Panera Bread locations with patio facilities welcome doggie diners.

Piccadilly at Manhattan welcomes canine customers on their outdoor patio.

Cardwell’s at the Plaza has outdoor pet friendly dining options.

Kaldi’s Coffeehouse has dog friendly outdoor dining areas.

Biggie’s welcomes well behaved canine companions on their patio.

Many of these restaurants also offer special dog menus or special events for pet owners. Check the business social media pages to stay up on the latest canine cuisine news. 12006127_1199688976712863_1172305024498875031_n

Missing Cappy: An Extraordinary Healer and Volunteer

Why a Pint Sized Pup Means So Much to So Many

A remarkable volunteer for a Saint Louis nonprofit is being remembered. This big hearted go-giver was less than fifteen pounds and left a paw print on the hearts of thousands of people.

Cappy, a pint-sized pet of Jim and Diane Doyle worked with his “grandmother” Helen Doyle and her dog Lucky as therapy dogs. The trio served as PetReach volunteers with the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, or APA, visiting senior care facilities, convalescent centers and hospitals. It was a volunteer outreach they would perform for over ten years.

Helen, a pediatric nurse says Cappy was the right prescription for so many: “Cappy was calm and a great healer. I would put in in a lap or on the chest of someone in a bed and their face would light up. So many times, they would begin sharing stories of a childhood pet or their dog at home. Their pain and worries were eased.”Cappy

It was after such a visit to see patients at a Richmond Heights hospital, a vehicle struck Cappy. The truck never stopped. Even in the accident, Cappy brought out the best in people. Two onlookers rushed to help. The strangers gave mouth to muzzle CPR to Cappy. The dog that greeted everyone with enthusiasm and made life better for so many was gone.

Cappy exemplified the meaning of service as he helped so many people as an APA PetReach volunteer. So many feel fortunate to have known this wonderful soul and witness how Cappy put his training, loving nature, and small size to work to make the world a better place. His life leads many of us to believe angels are often disguised as dogs.

If you would like to learn more about the APA’s PetReach program, contact Laura Jones at or 314-645-4610.


How Jimmy Kimmel Took Me Back to Mornings with Captain Kangaroo

The introduction of Peeps flavored milk by Prairie Farms Dairy got a lot of attention on television and online. Local news and national late night talk shows alike conducted taste tests with anchors and celebrities. For example, Jimmy Kimmel and the American Idol Judges all tried the three flavors of Peeps Milk and offered their reviews. You can view it here:

It was with a hint of regret that Kimmel explained the Peeps milk flavors are not available in California, so the show had to have them flown in from the Midwest. I chuckled and thought of my dear mother.
CaptainKangarooYou see, I grew up on Captain Kangaroo, a children’s television show that went off the air in 1984. It was a weekday ritual in our family. In between the cartoons and the skits, Captain Kangaroo advertised Wonder bread. He said so many wonderful things about Wonder bread all the children in our large family would beg for Wonder bread. The problem was that in the area of the country where I grew up, they didn’t sell Wonder bread. I remember her taking us to the bread aisle again and again, to show us there WAS NO Wonder bread to be bought there.

Decades later, a better job prompted my relocation to Saint Louis, Missouri. I was sharing the good news with one of my siblings. I recall he informed me with a lilt of excitement in his voice; I would finally be in Wonder bread country. Funny how you remember things like that.

So when Jimmy Kimmel advised the milk wasn’t available on the coasts, I was taken back to Wonder bread. I felt the disappointment of some youngster seeing the Peeps milk and getting excited only to discover it isn’t in local stores.


I am fortunate to be able to buy Prairie Farms products where I live. It is well known here representing more than 700 farm families. Prairie Farms also helps families in need and non-profit organizations. The Prairie Farms charitable giving program, Our Caps, Your Cause, supports a variety of non-profit organizations ranging from food banks to animal groups and zoos. The dairy’s program also gives consumers a voice in helping local causes.

Perhaps the Peeps flavored milk will help spread the word about this way Prairie Farms customers can give back to their communities.10329194_651448261626775_6185995284465362652_n

A Smart Spring Break Stay-Cation Idea: Fun With Furry Friends at APA Adoption Center

ttttttumblr_n2r4gqdeib1r3zbhoo3_1280Spring break may prompt thoughts of a beach getaway or an exotic trip but family fun and adventures don’t have to include travel. A “stay-cation” in Saint Louis is filled with wonderful possibilities.

One creative and fun option is the Animal Protective Association of Missouri or APA. The APA Adoption Center offers many choices of activities and interactive sessions for kids of all ages.

Parents often get together and plan a joint outing for several families during spring break. This is easily done because the options at APA‘s Adoption Center are customizable and cost effective. There are a variety of classes about animal care, safety, center tours, pet related crafts and interaction with animals mixed with fun and games.

Not all lessons during spring break take place at the Adoption Center. For some youngsters, anticipation of the animal adventure begins days before as they join forces to collect supplies to help homeless pets. These collection efforts can take on the air of a scavenger hunt involving extended family and neighbors. It is a great opportunity to share the joy of volunteering and practice the lesson of selflessness with children. There is a wish list of easy to find items for homeless pets on the APA website.

APA Director of Humane Education Jennifer Blome works with educators and volunteers to deliver fun and meaningful opportunities; “It is more than learning to love and play with animals in the right way. We have a curriculum of age appropriate lessons and activities to engage minds and hearts.”

It doesn’t have to be spring break to take a class. The APA offers birthday parties and other special events customizable for your group. Some of the party details can be found here. 

The APA works year around to educate on the importance of treating each other and animals with compassion and respect. APA presentations are held in the community along with group classes for scout, school and community groups. You can see a list of some program options by clicking here or on the website:

You can sign up for a public class as an individual adult, or bring your child to a family event. For information on upcoming classes and programs through community organizations, email

Scheduling a class or event at the APA Adoption Center can be such a rewarding and unforgettable experience; it may become a favorite family tradition. Remember to bring a camera to capture the learning and play of your APA day.

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!

Personalize your visit to the APA of MO for fun, crafts, safety, and more!

Be a Party Animal at APA Adoption Center


10 reasons to host your party at nonprofit APA 

There can be a lot of expense and pressure in planning a birthday party that will be memorable and fun. Whether you’re 3 or 93, children and adults agree having a party at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri is a tail-wagging good time!

11025160_807130716029148_5874756013793407181_n1. Your big day at the APA of Missouri can be customized and personalized for the guest of honor. There are choices of fun classes, crafts, and your celebration can include a VIP shelter tour with animal petting, time for celebrating with games for the guest of honor and up to 15 friends.

2. Birthday parties at the APA include balloons, streamers, and goodie bags. Plus APA staff and volunteers clean before and after the party so you don’t have to.

3. You don’t have to worry about where party guests will park that will not irritate your neighbors. There is plenty of free parking for guests at the centrally located APA.

4. Worried about how and where to put up the bouncy castle you are going to need to rent? There are no inflatables to blow away in a gust of wind except for the helium balloons decorating the special APA party room.

5. An APA party is affordable. The fee of $250 covers the party room, decorations, favors and activities. The money goes to help the homeless animals at the adoption center. You can make your own cake, food and drink making the party even easier on the budget.

6. You don’t have to be in charge of food. There are many restaurant delivery options surrounding the APA. Whether your party animals prefer pizza, sandwiches, or even ribs and sushi you can have it delivered to your APA birthday bash.FB_IMG_1449114000840

7. Very easy to skip the gift dilemma. There can be angst over gift registries for parties; but you really don’t want another board game or pool toy. With an APA party, you can ask guests to bring something for homeless animals in lieu of a gift for you or your child. The APA has a wish list of easy to find items to help the pets waiting for adoption. It is a great way to teach and practice selflessness.

8. No need to be concerned space to accommodate excited children and adults in your home if the weather prevents you from accessing outdoor space for your bash. The APA party room is “kid proof” and comfortable 365 days a year. Plus you don’t have to do a major house clean before party day!

9. An APA party includes invitations. You have a choice of free printable invitations for your bash and there are also APA Wish List inserts if guests wish to donate to help homeless animals.11390326_844980078930795_2036857226601795217_n

10. Finally, many people love animals and it is a memorable venue that offers a treasure of experiences. The APA makes it so easy and affordable you can do more than birthday parties–go all out with Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah, end-of-school and end-of-summer parties! No matter the celebration or age of the honoree; the APA staff and volunteers are ready to make it a memorable day. Party planning starts with an email to Jennifer Blome at for more information.

Parties with adorable animals are fun and teach lessons too

Smartphone App Uses Facial Recognition Technology to Locate Missing Pets

2010_tyd_photowinner_louiseTechnology is at work to help pet owners looking for lost animals. A cell phone app called Positive Identification of a Pet (PiP) issues alerts for missing pets. The PiP app uses facial recognition technology to find a missing pet. The owner can upload a picture and description of their pet. When the pet goes missing, an owner can activate a PiP alert. The alert is sent out to veterinarians and local animal shelters. The alert will trigger PiP technology to watch social media outlets for postings of pets that have been found. It uses a facial recognition system to find a positive match to a found pet in the database.
PiPPhones-1 The PiP app is a free download for all Smartphone users.  At the moment a pet goes missing, an owner can activate a PiP “amber alert” and immediately broadcast to animal control/animal rescue agencies, veterinarians, social media outlets, and other app subscribers within the local area that their pet has been lost. Simultaneously, the amber alert will trigger PiP’s technology to watch social media outlets for any posting of a found pet.
Thank goodness, my dogs have not gone missing so I have not tried the PiP app; I opt for the old-school dog tag with my contact information and microchips on both of my dogs.

Pet microchips are available at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, most veterinarian offices and many animal shelters. A study of more than 7,700 stray animals at shelters showed that dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with owners only 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. It only takes a few minutes to have a pet microchipped and your information can be updated during the life of your pet.

Want to learn more about Positive Identification of a Pet (PiP) technology? Check out this video including some feedback from animal owners and rescue experts. Please take a moment and fill out the poll below.

Pet Friendly Vacation Destinations and Attractions

ImageMore than thirty million Americans travel with their pets according to the U.S. Travel Association. Most pet owners load up Fluffy or Fido in the family car. Pet parents, especially dog owners, are finding hotels and attractions eager to cater to this growing travel trend.

There are many great driving vacations for Midwest pet families who want to take along their furry friend on a trip. There are great dog beaches, dog tours and dog parks in popular vacation spots within a day’s drive of Saint Louis. I will start with a big city with a big heart for canine travelers: Chicago.

ImageChicago, Illinois
Many of the Windy City’s top hotels are pet friendly. For example, the room service options at Chicago’s James Hotel offers doggie entrees including a filet mignon and cow hooves! More than fifty Chicago hotels are listed with Traveling pet families will also find pet friendly vacation rentals along with pet accommodating bed and breakfast options in Chicago.
Have a water loving pooch? There are two dog friendly beaches in Chicago. There is an off-leash dog beach at the NW Corner of Chicago’s Montrose Beach. There is free parking and a five dollar tag fee for entrance. Belmont Harbor has a small fenced in beach for dogs too.

Dogs can also go on a boat ride. If the boat isn’t full, dogs are welcome at no charge on Seadog Cruises that depart from Chicago’s Navy Pier and cruise up the river and along the lakeshore. Be ready to get wet when the speedboat hits the lake! Before or after your cruise, enjoy walking around Navy Pier–leashed dogs are allowed throughout the outdoor areas of this entertainment complex that extends into Lake Michigan, just east of the Loop.

There is also a Canine Cruise especially for dogs! This 90-minute tour highlights Chicago’s dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, dog parks and fire hydrants. Enjoy the cool breeze in your face and fur, the Skyline Queen offers plenty of safe outdoor-seating. Dogs may choose to sit on your lap, in a seat, or on the deck for less than ten dollars per pooch. There are on board water bowls and restroom options for pets. The Skyline Queen’s Canine Cruises depart from the Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
There are three dog friendly hiking trails in Chicago. The Valley Line Trail, Chicago Lakefront Bike Path, and Burnham Greenway are part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy network.

If shopping with your furry friend is your idea of fun, many of Navy Piers shops and restaurants are pet friendly. The merchants at Chicago’s Village of Long Grove also welcome pets. Most of the Village area’s shops are dog friendly, and many of the restaurants offer dog friendly outdoor patios in warm months. Chicago’s Nordstrom welcomes well-behaved and leashed dogs at any time. Pooches shopping with their parents in Chicago’s newly designated ‘Design District’ between Damen and Ashland on Grand Avenue will find many different stores offer a free treat and water.

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri boasts two great options for water loving pooches. Pets go wild for the Twin Lakes Recreation Area and it’s huge off-leash dog park, which includes lake access for doggie swimming as well as benches to relax on and waste bags. Stephens Lake offers dogs and their owners on-leash options at this beautiful beachside park with swimming areas and lots of beautiful hiking trails. I found eight dog friendly hiking trails in and around Columbia.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is known for barbeque and fountains. The city is home to more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other city in the nation! There are more than two hundred fountains and water works of art in the city that began with animals in mind. Kansas City’s love affair with fountains began with a rather practical purpose. The city’s first fountains were built by the Humane Society as water troughs for horses in the late 1800s, and they have since grown into cherished works of public art. So it’s no surprise why this Midwestern metropolis has earned its bubbly nickname, the City of Fountains. Take time during your visit to tour some of the city’s most unique water features, including the Fountain of Neptune on the Country Club Plaza, the Waterworks Spectacular at Kauffman Stadium and the Civic Courtyard Fountain inside The Legends at Village West.

There are 5 off-leash dog parks in Kansas City, Missouri and a great dog friendly trail. Trolley Track Trail is one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The previously unused railroad corridor, is now a “rail-trail” to walk your pet in Kansas City!

Three Dog Bakery’s flagship store in Kansas City is the perfect place to bring your pet for a special treat. Warm welcomes and free samples are just a couple reasons dogs love to visit Three Dog Bakery.

Grafton, Illinois

About an hour from Saint Louis, you will find four dog friendly hiking trails in Alton and 5 dog friendly activities in nearby Grafton, Illinois. All these trails are a part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy network. Pere Marquette Park, part of the Illinois State Park system is nearby, but the lodge does not allow any pets. The eight thousand acre park has many great trails and facilities, but the park’s website says pets must be kept on leashes at all times within the park.

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City USA may be Nashville’s claim to fame, but it offers pet travelers fun options too. More than fifty hotels, several campgrounds and vacation rental properties offer pet friendly lodging. There are three dog friendly hiking trails in Nashville. Leash up your pup and head down The Trails at Fontanel for a delightful stroll along a well-maintained path. Benches line the trail, and along the walk you can enjoy the peaceful beauty of Whites Creek and views of the gorgeous Fontanel Mansion. Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a multi-use trail that’s a great place to walk Fido in Nashville! Stones River Greenway is a pet friendly ten-mile paved trail system connecting Shelby Bottoms to Percy Priest Lake. There are several great Tennessee State Parks near Nashville and pets are allowed in all Tennessee State Parks, but they must be leashed while visiting. Cabins, restaurants and other properties located on State Park land may have different policies so check before you go.

Taking in a show or exploring Nashville’s vibrant night life without your precious pet? A variety of Nashville businesses cater to pet parents traveling. You have many options if you don’t want to leave Fido unattended in the hotel room. Several firms offer responsible dog sitters in Nashville who can visit your dog in the hotel room, take him for a walk, or even watch him overnight in their own home, if needed.

Nashville’s See Spot Eat is a doggie bakery inviting canines and their vacationing people to stop in. See Spot Eat has all-natural, freshly-made dog treats made on premises using human quality ingredients.

Memphis, Tennessee

There are three off-leash dog parks in Memphis, including Shelby Farms. Shelby Farms is a huge park with numerous walkways and jogging paths through the beautiful forested areas, and contains picnic areas and playgrounds as well. There are several lakes and ponds. One whole section of the park is dedicated specifically to dogs. They can run unleashed and go swimming in either of the two Lakes provided for them.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 800 miles of hiking trails, but dogs are NOT allowed on most of them. Dogs are welcome on the Gatlinburg Trail (a 1.9 mile hike from the Sugarland Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg, TN) and the Oconaluftee River Trail (a 1.5 mile hike from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of Cherokee, NC). Dogs are also allowed in the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
You can get your pet to the top of the mountains without walking. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift allows dogs on leashes to ride with their owners to the top of the mountain.

Merchants at Gatlinburg’s Village welcome pets. The Village is a collection of 27 unique specialty stores in the heart of Gatlinburg. The wooded outdoor areas around the shops are great for taking Fido for a stroll. Dogs should remain leashed and under your control at all times while roaming through The Village.

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga offers canines and their owners a lot of options with many pet friendly hotels. Are you ready to stretch your legs after the drive? The best activity in this area is hiking the expansive gorges. North Chickamauga Creek Pocket Wilderness is a perfect all day hike for you and your dog if you are willing to take on the whole ten miles. And when the heat becomes overwhelming, don’t be afraid to go for a quick dip in the creek that runs throughout the gorge.

There are two off-leash dog parks in Chattanooga worth a visit. A great one has a familiar name: Chattanooga Chew Chew Canine Park! This park has lots of greenery, benches, fire hydrants, water fountains, waste removal, and agility equipment. One area is fenced in so dogs can be off leash. Separate entrance and section for small dogs.

Greenway Farms is a huge park in Chattanooga. They have a very large fenced in dog area, which they divided into large and small dog sections. This area also includes dog water fountains, benches and a few trees for shade. Outside of the fenced area, there are several trails, lots of water for the dogs to swim in, and a rock quarry area with a swimming hole.
Consider a walk on the Walnut Street Bridge for a relaxing view of the Tennessee River. The peaceful walk offers gorgeous views of Coolidge Park and downtown.

Louisville, Kentucky

Heading to Kentucky with your pooch? There are 7 off-leash dog parks in Louisville, Kentucky and one family attraction welcoming dogs on leashes. Mega Cavern is a massive man-made cavern beneath the city of Louisville and your dog can come aboard for the tour on an SUV-pulled tram. Fido can join you on the 60-70 minute tour as you learn about the history of the cavern and mining operations, see cavern formations and a historic replica of a fallout bunker, and enjoy the many other offerings of the Mega Cavern. Your pup must be on a six-foot leash at all times. If you and your pup are ready to stretch your legs after the tram tour, there are two dog friendly hiking trails in Louisville open to dogs on leashes.

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri may best be known for stage shows and music. But this city is pet friendly with several options for vacationers traveling with a pet. More than thirty Branson area hotels and inns welcome pets. Several Branson pet services and sitters will visit your pet in the hotel room if you want to step out for dinner or a show in the evening. Branson offers pet lovers great outdoor experiences too. Table Rock State Park offers visitors to Branson and their pets an opportunity to explore the many nature trails that the park has to offer. In addition to hiking, guests can go boating, camping, fishing, swimming, biking, and picnicking. Dogs are permitted on most trails in the park, as well as in the campgrounds. Guests staying at the campgrounds are limited to having two dogs per campsite, unless an exemption is obtained in advance from the park service. Dogs should be kept on a leash and well-behaved at all times while in the campsites.

One Branson business can help put your pet in a memorable vacation souvenir. Busters Old Time Photos at the Branson Landing offers old fashion fun as you take a nostalgic trip through costume and photography. Professional photos with a Wild West, Southern Belle, or Victorian era theme are available in minutes and pets are welcome in the photos! See the cute pooch in a Buster’s photo below.

Biloxi Beach, Mississippi

Are you and your pet ready for the beach? The closest Gulf of Mexico beach for driving pet families from Saint Louis is Biloxi, Mississippi. For people, this Gulf Coast destination offers with sandy beaches and calm waters, but no dog beaches in the entire county. Four Biloxi hotels are pet friendly, along with three campgrounds with pet friendly policies and numerous vacation rentals for pet families.

There is one off-leash dog park in Biloxi and another ten miles away in historic Gulfport at Seabee Dog Park. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches. One Biloxi beach front shop, Sharkheads, welcomes dogs into their store as long as the pet can be carried by the owner.

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

One Mississippi beach city welcomes pooches. There is a dog beach in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This historic Gulf Coast city is part of the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula metro area. There are several pet friendly vacation rentals for families traveling with their furry family members. Nearby Buccaneer State Park offers miles of beautiful white-sand beaches. Dogs are allowed on the beaches and in the campgrounds! Buccaneer State Park also features a 4.5 acre waterpark called Buccaneer Bay, but pets are not allowed in the waterpark or in cabins, restaurants or any other park building.

Have a favorite vacation spot for your pet? Please share recommendations and ideas!