The Dog Owner Files: Buford Does CLE

This is the second installment in “The Dog Owner Files” where CLE dog owners tell their stories. This post is contributed by Matt Bixenstine, uncle of an 8-year-old basset hound named Buford.

Buford, an eight-year-old rescued basset hound, typically lives a rather uneventful life in the quiet north Akron suburb of Bath with his empty-nest owners.  But every so often, Buford’s everyday routines are replaced by adventure when he travels north to visit his “fun uncle” in Lakewood.

When Buford leaves his rural roots behind to visit the “most densely populated city between New York and Chicago,” he must undergo some adjustments.  Tame squirrels, traffic that does not stop and intoxicated patio bar-goers gushing and wanting to pet the “Hush Puppy Dog” as he strolls Madison Avenue, represent foreign concepts to this tri-colored hound dog.

Still, Buford always manages to adapt and enjoy himself.  His recent trip saw him checking out Lakewood Dog Park, where he met five Great Danes, including two puppies who, at the tender age of three months, already appeared to be the same size as Buford.

But not all of the Great Danes were Buford-sized.  One of the full-size Great Danes decided to borrow the lap of Buford’s friend Alyse.

Although Buford has visited Lakewood numerous times – experiencing everything from Lakewood Park to the Lakewood Village Tavern – last month marked his first time enjoying the legendary lakefront city that is Cleveland, Ohio.  There, Buford went to Voinovich Park to take in the sights and sounds along the majestic coast of Lake Erie.

As is usually the case, Buford’s getaway weekend ended far too early for his liking.  Thankfully, though, another adventure awaits this droopy hound.  Buford intends to journey to greater Columbus later this month for his inaugural appearance at Ohio Basset Fest, an annual celebration of all things basset sponsored by Ohio Basset Hound Rescue.

Perhaps Buford’s life is not so mundane after all!


New dog beach

Did you know there’s now an official dog swimming area at Edgewater?

So exciting! Too bad it’s the middle of September and I am just finding this out now. I’ve heard that dogs have always been unofficially allowed here, but now they are welcomed with their own area of the beach. To reach the designated dog beach area, take the path from either parking lot down to the beach. Signs will point you toward the dog beach area. It’s not fenced in or sectioned off, but it appears to be the area behind the second set of signs. Of course when I went, there were no dogs there, so it was hard to tell. But that was most likely because it wasn’t very warm.

So many rules…
Designated Dog Area
Hunter approves

For a full list of beaches in CLE, check out my list (and let me know if I’m missing any!)

Cleveland Pet Expo

Seems like I picked a bad weekend to be out of town. This Saturday at the Cleveland Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is the biggest pet show of the year – The Cleveland Pet Expo. The event will feature vendors, costume contests, adoptable pets, entertainment, agility and obedience demonstrations…pretty much anything a pet lover could want to see.

The expo is dog friendly and free to the public. There are some good tips on Expo’s site if you do plan to bring your dog to this busy event. There will a lot of people and pets there, so besides making sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations*, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is good in crowds and ok with loud noises.

Here are some of the events I wouldn’t miss (if I could go):

12:15PM: Pet/Owner Musical Chair Competition

1:15PM: Celebrity Dog Trainer Harrison Forbes Q & A

3:00PM: Animals Got Talent! Pet Talent Show

4:15PM: Sing for Your Pooch’s Dinner! For Reals!

5:00PM: Pet Costume Contest

Some of the local vendors participating:

North Coast Dogs – performing agility demonstrations

Secondhand Mutts – showcasing their adoptable dogs

Classy K-9z Dog Grooming & Pet Styling – free nail trims

The K-9 Solutions of Ohio – basic obedience demo

For a full listing of vendors and booth numbers, check out the flyer.

If you go, let me know what your favorite part of the show is!

*You’ll need to sign this pet waiver before you go.

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Lucky’s

Most dog-friendly brunch places are just a Sunday thing but at Lucky’s in Tremont you can take your dog to brunch any day of the week. My dog and I went there recently to enjoy their delicious food and dog-friendly patio. I think Lucky’s has one of the best brunches in Cleveland so if you haven’t checked it out you really should.

Based on how small Lucky’s is and how crowded it gets on weekends it’s not really a place I’d recommend taking your dog to on the weekend. But, of course, it all depends on your dog. I took my dog on a weekday since he tends to get a little excited about people and dogs so I know it’s not always best to take him somewhere busy. Plus, the patio consists of six long picnic tables so there’s a chance on busy days you may be sharing the table with others, which could be problematic for some dogs. Since my dog and I went when it wasn’t busy, we had a table to our own and he was able to just sit and relax. No other dogs were there, but the staff and other patrons seemed welcoming of my dog.

One good thing about their patio is that it’s covered, so you can even go on one of those overcast days when it could rain at any minute. The tables in the middle and closer to the garden don’t really have anything to easily attach your dog’s leash to, so you’ll want to sit at one the tables on the outside near the street, as those have chains on them that you can attach your dog’s leash to.

And, if you go for brunch – I recommend the waffles. They are delicious!

The details:

777 Starkweather Ave
(216) 622-7773

Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Dogs are allowed on the patio

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Luxe

I think most Clevelanders would agree that Luxe has one of the best patios on the west side. If you are a dog owner in Cleveland you definitely don’t want to pass up a chance to sit on their patio with your pup.  My dog and I visited this weekend to enjoy some good food and outside time together.
Photo courtesy of Luxe’s Facebook page (Somehow I forgot to get a shot of the patio)
Although dogs are welcome every day of the week, it’s on Sunday that dogs really have the spotlight. The restaurant hosts a Bow Wow Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is promoted a lot on their Facebook page, so there was a good amount of dogs there on our visit. The dogs were all well behaved; there was only a couple rounds of barking choruses (which, of course, my dog was an enthusiastic participant in every time). Each week Luxe chooses a Bow Wow Brunch Dog of the Week, who is featured on its Facebook page and receives a gift certificate for a free bath at the Mutt Hutt. Can you believe neither one of these cuties were selected? (Although Sampson, on the right, is a former winner, so you don’t have to feel bad for him).
On their best behavior, of course
Since the patio is great and the food is delicious, I’d definitely recommend adding Luxe to your list of dog friendly spots to hit up. I will say I was a little disappointed that the servers didn’t bring any water or offer any treats or anything special for the dogs, since it is advertised as a doggie brunch. I’ve heard there are some dog menu options, but nothing was mentioned and the server and most of the staff seemed a little indifferent toward the dogs. I have heard of more dog friendly experiences from others who’ve been before, so maybe it was just an off day. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since I was able to sit on a gorgeous patio and eat a delicious brunch with my dog, so it wasn’t really all bad.

Weekend round-up + site updates

First up – a quick update on the site. I’ve added two new categories to the “Where to Go” page of the web site:

Local Pet Stores/Bakeries


If you have anything to add to either of these – please email me at For the local pet stores, I’m only including local merchants, not big box pet stores.

Are there any other categories you’d like to see on the site?

What to do this weekend:

Mutt Strut
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mentor City Hall
Mutt Strut is an annual pledge walk held every summer. Activities include a one-mile walk, canine games, contests, prize raffles, an agility course and rally training course provided by  PetWorks, a Chinese Auction, food available for purchase from MotorMouth Food Truck and shopping at the Mutt Mall.

Summer Scoop
12-3 p.m. at the Brecksville Reservation
Prizes, contests, raffles, treats, food, and games, including the Old Dog Olympics, sponsored by Gold Star Dog Training in Medina. Contests include best summer attire, best in shades, coolest canine couple, coolest dude, coolest gal, human/canine look-alikes, oldest dog, farthest travel, and goofiest dog. Organized by The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs.

Shop for Secondhand Mutts at Revive
2248 Lee Road, 216-371-2778
Stop by Revive in Cleveland Heights, the entire store is buy-one, get-one-half-off until Saturday with 10% of all proceeds going to Secondhand Mutts.

Cleveland Flea’s Dog Days of Summer
9 a.m. – 4 p.m at 6419 St. Clair Ave.
Stop by the Cleveland Flea on Saturday for the “Dog Days of Summer.” Visit new stand Kutya Rév Ohio City Dog Haven, along with Sunny’s Tasty Treats Home-made natural dog treats. Merchants will be on hand selling locally-made pet products. Experts will also be talking pet nutrition, and Cakewalk Bakery will be creating cupcakes that look like your pet.

I hope you all have a relaxing weekend with your favorite furry friends!

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Nano Brew

The water bowls placed around the patio at Nano Brew tell you immediately that this is a place where your dog will be welcomed. Although a lot of places say that they are dog friendly, few are as open about it as this Ohio City brewpub. In addition to the consideration for your dog’s hydration needs, the patio is perfectly set up to be a comfortable place to hang out with your dog and enjoy a few drinks and a bite to eat. With long picnic-style tables along the side of the building and more tables in back, the bar offers a lot of space for you and your dog.

We stuck mainly to the picnic tables on our visit but due to the sudden outpouring of rain had to move over to the covered patio area in back. The staff was very welcoming and excited to see my dog, offering treats which was enough to win him over. There was only one other dog when we got there so my dog got a lot of attention. It seemed that the bar-goers and the staff were both happy to have a dog there- always a key factor in whether a place truly is dog friendly or not. Add in the delicious food and great selection of beer, and this a place that my dog and I will definitely be back to soon.

The details
1859 W. 25th St.
Ohio City

Open at 4:30 weekdays and noon Saturday and Sunday.
Open until 2:30 am 364 days a year and serving food until 2am every day.

Dogs are allowed every day on the patio.