A place now indeed exists: Bark Out Loud doggie boutique and cafe opened in Mansfield on August 1.
Though it's deemed a dog cafe, the concept here differs from the traditional cat cafe. Owner and dog lover Connie Romano opened the 1,500-square-foot space as a destination for people and their pooches to spend some quality time together, something like an indoor dog park. Bark Out Loud specializes in spoiling its patrons with eats like dog-friendly ice cream, popcorn and beer, among other treats.
"There's doggie wine and sushi for the more sophisticated dogs as well," Romano said. Pet owners have their choice of coffee, fruit smoothies or pre-packaged pastries.
The shop on East Debbie Lane includes a small outdoor patio and sells doggie apparel, car magnets and toys. While there's no limitation on weight, age, or breed, all pets must be on a leash, said Romano, except when they are in the fenced-in patio space.
"We've had Great Danes that are as tall as me and we've had 2.5-pound dogs," Romano said.
The one thing they have in common: good behavior. Romano recommends leaving aggressive and unsociable dogs at home to ensure the safety and security of Bark Out Loud patrons.
A 37-year veteran of General Motors, Romano retired in April to open Bark Out Loud, inspired by and in memory of her West Highland Terrier, Stuart.
Stuart was a member of Dog Scouts of America and a country-wide traveler. He was also quite the philanthropist, she said, selling his original paintings -- yep, paws on canvas -- to raise money for Operation Kindness, Meals on Wheels and purchase oxygen masks for local fire departments around Dallas-Fort Worth.
"I did so much with this dog ... I wanted other people to get that same opportunity and not to have to go look for a place and have to be outside in the heat," Romano said. She hopes to provide a comfortable place that "doesn't smell like a kennel."
In the coming months, Romano plans to throw events such as Friday night beer and pizza parties (food and drink for the pups, not the people), as well as holiday parties. Santa will most definitely be onsite come Christmas, she promised.
Until then, dog owners can stop by Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday noon to 7 p.m. Bark Out Loud is closed on Wednesdays. For more information, visit webarkoutloud.com.