Barks and Brews

Finding puppies their fur-ever homes through craft beer

Warning: if you hate unabashed joy, puppy cuddles, beer, and undying loyalty and companionship, these events are not for you.

Unleashed in 2022 by Leah Bosello and Emily Boucher, Barks N’ Brews is a non-profit event series aimed at promoting dog adoption, connecting people with their local rescues, and creating community.

Inspired by, of all things, the model of cat cafés, the premise is simple. For a small donation benefitting a local rescue, you get five minutes of blissful puppy time in a pen full of cute! Then you grab a pint, supporting your local brewery, get back in line, and do it all over again—pure therapy—and arguably the best way to spend an afternoon.

Amongst the many obvious positives (serotonin highs, etc.), the best part is, with a pre-approved application or in-person review with the partner rescue, all the puppies are available for adoption!

Bosello and Boucher, who both have rescue dogs, found aspects of online adoption unnecessarily challenging, so wanted to find a way to help make the process easier for both rescues and potential fosters/adopters, as well as fill some critical gaps.

Pup-arrazi alert! These adorable pups are ready for their closeups—and fur-ever homes. Barks N’ Brews photo

“We didn’t have the opportunity to meet our dog until she arrived,” offers Boucher as an example. “So, one of the things we like about the events is that they [not only] bring awareness about rescuing, but also provide people with an opportunity to engage with the dog.”

Meanwhile, the application process is intentionally comprehensive and intricate, which can be an overwhelming amount of information to sift through for a small rescue organization that may only have one person at the helm.

“They want to make sure that they’re finding the right fit and that it will be a successful adoption,” says Boucher.

Enter Endless Pawsabilities, an ideal partner and integral part of all Barks N’ Brews events so far. At the events and online, the rescue provides QR codes linking to their applications. If you are pre-approved before the event, you can pick your puppy up that same day.

“Where we’re involved,” says Bosello, “is promoting the adoptions and having these events in the hopes that we can partner with different rescues and kind of let them focus on the adoption piece. We focus on the event promotion, planning, and getting the word out.”

Puppy love. Barks N’ Brews photo

Endless Pawsabilities also attends the events, providing an opportunity for in-person application reviews.

“They go through your application, they have conversations with you and then you can go home with a puppy,” says Bosello. “And that’s what makes it easier too—you’re there in-person with the person who runs the rescue, whereas if you’re doing it online, you are just waiting and hoping that your application goes through.”

Fosters attending the events provide critical insight into the personality and temperament of the dog they have been fostering, welcoming questions and helping to make the transition into your home easier. They also provide a chance for those not quite ready or able to commit to an adoption to learn more about what fostering is like firsthand.

With an extremely social environment, already tight-knit community, and general demographic of those with the mindset and means to adopt a dog, breweries provide the perfect backdrop for Barks N’ Brews’ events. Together, Barks N’ Brews and Endless Pawsabilities have now hosted events at several Metro Vancouver and Lower Mainland breweries, including Strange Fellows, Parkside, Wildeye, and Camp, occasionally hosting at cafés as well, resulting in many touching success stories.

“There was one couple who had adopted at our first Parkside event,” remembers Boucher. “It was quite an emotional process for them, as I believe they had just lost one of their dogs in the past year. They came to another event a year later at Parkside and adopted a second puppy.”

With no current plans to expand its reach, Boucher hints that perhaps one day the concept could be handed off as a package so other people can host similar events, much like a franchise. But for now, the focus is on Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and plans for a busy summer are already underway.

The biggest piece of advice Bosello has for prospective adopters is to ensure they thoroughly research all that comes with owning a puppy—and to be sure they’re ready to take that step.

“It’s a lifetime commitment and, even if they’re cute, it doesn’t mean they’re not a huge responsibility. And they deserve your commitment.”

Thinking of welcoming a new canine pal into your home? Be sure to follow @barks.nbrews and @endless._.pawsabilities on Instagram to learn more about fostering and adoption opportunities and to stay in the loop about upcoming events. Support local rescues and please consider older dogs in your search.

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