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Dog Date
At the drive-in

My boyfriend Jason often accuses me of trying to shoehorn the dogs into activities he feels aren’t an ideal fit: birthday parties, beach trips, Saturday morning brunches. Now, we have one more activity we can add to the list: Friday date nights.

 
When Friday rolls around, I’m ready for fun with Jason but feel terrible if it means leaving the dogs home. What makes it worse are the hopeful looks on the dogs’ faces. Oh hey, you’re home! Yeah, change out of those work clothes... Hmm, those don’t look like hiking shoes... You’re going to be a little cold in that dress... Hey wait, where are you going? You forgot our leashes … and us! It’s enough guilt to ruin a date.
 
Recently, thanks to Bark’s articles about summer fun with your dog (see “Outward Hound” in Summer 2010 issue), I discovered the perfect dog + date night solution: the drive-in theater! The only question: Is my local drive-in dog-friendly? While I lived the majority of my teen years by the adage, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I’ve grown less adventurous with age, particularly in this case because I didn’t want to drive 40 minutes only to be turned away.
 
I tried contacting the theater with no luck. When I asked friends and family if they had brought their dogs to the drive-in before, a few had, but they snuck them in under blankets. Others said they remembered seeing a “NO DOGS” sign a few years back. Jason said he didn’t want to smuggle the dogs into the theater because he’d be too stressed out about the whole ordeal, plus the dogs wouldn’t likely cooperate. It seemed like I only had one option: Lie to Jason and just go for it.
 
As we approached the drive-in, I pulled over for a second and told Jason I had forgotten something. Then I pulled out a large blanket from the backseat and threw it on his lap. “What’s this for?” he asked.
 
“So it turns out they might not be dog-friendly here, and I just didn’t want to tell you because I really wanted to go!”
 
“What? This is insane.”
 
“I know, but just put this blanket over Skipper on your lap, and they won’t notice Leo because he’s asleep and since he’s black and he’ll blend in.”
 
Jason rolled his eyes and begrudgingly accepted the blanket.
 
We pulled up to the ticket-booth and I calmly addressed the teenage cashier, “Two for The Other Guys at 10:15?”
 
So far so good. I handed the cashier a twenty. He returned my change. “Thank you, turn your radio to 93.6 FM.” Suddenly, both dogs leaped up and barked. Skipper practically jumped out the window. I smiled nervously as the teenager looked at me and said, “Enjoy your show.”
 
I honestly don’t know if the drive-in had a dog-friendly policy, or if the teenagers running the joint just didn’t care. Either way, Jason and I had a great date with the dogs. We can’t wait to go back.

 

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Kate VandenBerghe is a recent graduate of the California College of Arts MFA program in San Francisco. She runs Paper Animal Design, her own freelance design company, and lives in Oakland with her two rescue pups, Skipper and Leo.
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Submitted by Kelly Staples | August 25 2010 |

Love it! I take my Lucy girl on dates all the time preferring to mostly go places where my dog is allowed or at least tolerated. Check out some of the dog-friendly wine bars we've gone to on our Sonoma Square night out dates! http://dogs2cents.com/2010/08/doggone-good-sonoma-square/

Submitted by Pamela | August 27 2010 |

I've been taking dogs to drive-ins for years. It's one of the best doggie dates ever.

Other favorites--chartered boat rides (many boaters are also dog lovers) and outdoor markets.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | August 30 2010 |

Dogs are invited to a drive-in movie benefit in Belleville, Ill., on Sept. 5. It's a pet food drive for Gateway Pet Guardians. Read about these dedicated volunteers in the current issue of Bark (Sept 2010).

Submitted by LeeHarrington | September 6 2010 |

I once had a date with a man who turns out was pretending to like dogs in order to get me to go out with him. Boy, was he outed quickly... in more ways than one! I wrote about it here: http://www.thebark.com/content/blind-date-faux-paw

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