Pup Rally

They gathered as they do each week at this time, to relax, unwind and cast off the cares of another busy week. They mill about, cheerfully renewing old acquaintances and making new ones while sampling bonbons and other delicacies made especially for them. They need this time for themselves; you can see it in their eyes. Indeed, this may be among the last bastions of civilized society: afternoon tea at the Phoenician, cocktails at Durant's and Yappy Hour at Three Dog Bakery at Biltmore Fashion Park.

Every Thursday evening from 6 to 8, the crème de la crème of the canine community (and their human counterparts) gather to socialize and snack on free refreshments. Frankly, though, the Oreos and punch I was offered paled in comparison to the Bichon Bars, Boxer Brownies and Beagle Bagels available for our four-footed friends.

The aforementioned bonbons, a creamy, soft, white center topped with carob or peanut butter, curiously resembled something out of a Godiva box. Judging by the response from Brandy and Scooter, two Shih Tzus in attendance (with impeccable taste, I'm told), they taste like it, too.

When, or rather, if appetites are at last sated, the revelers can chat (or nuzzle) with a special weekly guest promoting a product or service in the pet industry. Previous visits have included a dog chiropractor, a behaviorist, a pet sitter and, perhaps most important, a doggie-doo cleanup service. The series is slated to continue indefinitely, and future Thursdays may feature appearances by veterinarians, groomers and even a pet psychic. On the upcoming schedule are Team Canine Obedience (March 9) and Dog Therapy (March 16). On March 23, your dog can get his or her "driver's license" on PMV (Pet Motor Vehicle) night. No written test required.

Three Dog Bakery at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, hosts "Yappy Hour" from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9, and most subsequent Thursdays. Admission is free. For details call 602-522-2333.

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Regina McLeod