Friendly paws enhance patio dining experience

The group of patrons was in a festive mood Monday evening as they gathered on the deck at Uncle Monk’s Café in Chelsea, especially the children and dogs.

Hugs and licks on the cheek were exchanged between children and animals.

Terriers, poodles and boxers enjoyed dog biscuits served by the children, while dog owners enjoyed cold drinks and dinner. Even servers gave pups special attention.

“Bring Your Dog to Dinner on the Deck” is a weekly event at Uncle Monk’s and benefits the Shelby County Humane Society.

Ten percent of proceeds go to the society.

Owner Kathy Levine said she got the idea for the event from a friend who has it at her restaurant in another state.

Attendance was slim during the summer, she said, and even she was reluctant to get her dogs out in the really hot weather. But she expects a larger crowd as the weather gets cooler.

The weather last Monday evening was perfect for dinner on the deck, and true to Levine’s expectations, the crowd was larger, and included her three boxers.

David Latimer brought three rat terriers from his Vincent kennels.

“I thought this might help them get used to being around people,” he said.

The three are some of the scent detection dogs that he trains. Sparky, whose leash he held, is a termite detection dog, he said, while Wakeup and Little Suzy, led by his wife Kathy and son Jim, sniff out bedbugs.

The Latimers rescued the dogs from the Humane Society, trained them and now have them ready for their new owners.

“They’ve rescued quite a few,” said Sara Shirley from the Shelby County Humane Society.

Shirley was at the café with Lindsay Cicconi, also from the society, with Lola, a Maltese/terrier mix.

Also enjoying the evening were Laura Wilson and daughter Lauren with their white poodle, B.J., and Marc Yearwood with his mixed breed, Shelby.

Levine said her family opened Uncle Monk’s as a place for families to get together.

Family members help run the place and they feature special prices and entertainment including karaoke, movies and sports.

Uncle Monk’s Café is located at 16688 U.S. 280, near the post office.

For more information call 678-7300, e-mail unclemonkscafe@aol.com, or visit their Web site, Unclemonkscafe.com.

Columnist Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.