The WC Press West Chester Has Gone To The Dogs - November 2018

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West Chester has

GONE TO THE DOGS Take a Doggy Day Trip to Stroud Preserve & other pooch-friendly places in town. Meet the people who make the mission of Brandywine Valley SPCA Possible. Learn about the dogs doing good deeds in the borough, PLUS more!


















“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won't be too bad” –Robert Wagner

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers


COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Rotary Club of West Chester Chester County Historical Society Published By... Mathers Productions 12 E Barnard Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


OWNER OF THE MONTH Chatting with John McManus of Toby’s K-9 Kamp


WHO'S A GOOD BOY? Therapy dogs work their magic in the WC community


WELCOME TO WEST CHESTER Meet Becky & Cori, the brains behind All the Dogs on Church Street


BEYOND THE KENNEL Profiling local folks dedicated to the SPCA's worthy mission


Jacqueline Brandt-Lee from Bar Avalon talks cocktails and small plates


Exploring and sharing our favorite pooch-friendly places


Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!


ALL THE DOGS CUTEST PUP CONTEST Pick your favorite pup to win a prize!






from the


Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

I spend the majority of my time working from home. It’s just me, Pete and Knuckles in the office. As far as co-workers go, they’re not bad. They’re always supportive when I’m working toward a deadline, more obedient than any of my real employees, and a good tail wag is my favorite response to a rhetorical question. Pete and Knuck are both rescue dogs. I like to tell people that they came with my relationship. As my girlfriend tells the story: knowing Main Line Animal Rescue had some puppies available, she went to pick one up. In the process, the staff introduced her to a number of older dogs who were also available for adoption. Unable to say “no” to a furry face in need, Morgan left the shelter that day with a puppy and a dog... or as we’ve come to call them, “Da Boys.” And I’m grateful for all three of them. Of all the things I lost when my last relationship fell apart, my dog, Odin, was the most painful. Pete and Knuckles patched a hole in my heart I thought might never mend. Odin entered my life via the Brandywine Valley SPCA. In the earliest editions of this magazine, we ran a feature on animals available for adoption, and one particular pup stood out when I was putting those pictures on the page: a white pitbull with a black spot on his eye. When I dropped copies of the magazine at the shelter, Odin was out for a walk and tugged his handler in my direction to hop in my lap. There was no turning back. Odin was more of a challenge than expected. He’d been living feral before a local family coaxed him out of the woods with scraps of food, and he spent the next several months at the shelter. When I got him back to my house he was literally bouncing off the walls — I opened the front door, unclipped his leash, and he sprinted across the room, jumped onto the couch, popped a 180 and exploded back off the wall to come gnaw on my leg. That was the beginning of a 12-month quest to tame him, which required hours of daily exercise, incessant behavioural corrections, and constant, constant applications of affection. By year’s end I had a loyal, loving and obedient companion whose vocabulary of commands rivaled some toddlers’. It was the most fulfilling journey of my life: I turned him into a model pitbull; he turned me into a much skinnier and more nurturing man. I’ll forever cherish our time together. So as you can imagine, I put my heart into the content we’re publishing this month. Rather than rehash the story of the SPCA’s mission, we’ve found individuals whose lives are tied to the organization. We embarked on doggy day trips to some of the area’s pooch-friendly hot spots and met the people (and puppers) involved in therapy missions at our local hospital and university. There are an estimated 90 million dogs in the US; roughly half of American households have at least one. So it’s likely you will directly relate to the stories in these pages. If you’re like me, and a dog has ever changed your life, or even if browsing gifs of doggos online brings a smile to your face, I’m confident you’ll find engaging content in these pages. Enjoy. —





Owner of the


PHOTO Amt Tucker INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Chatting about the dog business with John McManus of Toby’s K-9 Kamp. How long been in the dog business? This December will make 11 years. What prompted you to get into it? I had spent the better part of 30 years in outside sales in one form or another. When I hit my 50s, I decided, “You know what? I like dogs a lot, and I wish my own dogs could be with me more.” I discovered there was a business called doggy daycare. I visited a lot of places, figured out what I liked, what I didn’t like, and I took the best from all those places and applied it to my business. What was one of your earliest challenges? It’s hard to find a place that would rent to me. Unless you’re able to buy a

huge building, you’re going to have find a landlord okay with dozens of dogs. Most landlords have balked at my two dogs. Imagine how they react when you say, “I’ve got 30 or 40.” How’d you go about starting the business? Initially I did a lot of pounding the pavement, walking around town, handing out brochures to people with dogs. That got me my initial crop of customers. It took me probably six months before I reached double digits, 10 dogs. It was a rough hoe. At six months I brought on my first employee, and by the end of year one we were averaging 15-20 dogs a day. What services do you offer? We started out just doggie daycare. When we left that first location and moved into our new spot, I wanted to utilize the second floor we have, so we offered full-service dog grooming, which is now busy every day of the week. And, about five times a year we have six-week training sessions, on weekends. It’s everything from puppy school, to basic training, to agility. What do you pride yourselves on? #1 Pack Size. When I toured other venues, I did not like that there were way too

many dogs and not enough humans. We keep our packs down to 12 or 13 dogs per human, and we have temperament evaluations on every dog before we let them in. #2 My Staff. It’s really hard to get a job here. I don’t just take on employees who say they like dogs. You have to prove you’re able to lead a dog’s behavior, understand their personality, that you can predict behavior and prevent bad things from happening. What’s a dog’s typical day? They get dropped off early in the morning by a working mom or dad. We take them out in the yard, then they join the pack and hang out. The dogs know it’s going to be a good day. We see them drag their owners through the door. Some owners say their dogs get excited before they leave the house. The get dropped off and they play and play and play. For some, it’s non-stop from dropoff to pickup. For other dogs, it’s more of about just having company. An regrets about leaving sales? My only regret is that I didn’t do it 20 years earlier. This is literally my dream job. I kid all the time to people that I hire that they should be paying me to work here.





Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Perceptions Interiors is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

A commonly overlooked aspect of creating a comfy home is incoporating our furry friends into the design. They’re members of the family and therefore should be taken into account when designing the spaces where they’ll spend their time. When I was configuring my own living room, a major dilemma was where to place a seat for my pup to look out the front window. Choosing a pleasant spot for them to curl up in is essential, whether it be a nice window seat or a pet bed in the corner of their favorite room. If your budget allows, you can also design your furniture around your pet, such as an area carved out of your cabinetry or under a custom bench. I once designed ledges on a custom bookcase for my client’s lucky cat to climb on. Another important consideration is a place to wipe off paws. An outdoor water source is ideal, but a simple mud room with a spot to hang a towel will do the trick. Pet beds don’t have to be eye sores. Choosing one with pizazz and a style that fits your home is essential. For a few modern takes on pet beds, check out Bad Marlon ( If you want more transitional and colorful patterns go to Lion + Wolf ( And, for a local option, make sure to check out All the Dogs on Church Street ( Make sure you strategically place accessories to keep them from being harmed. Cats tend to knock over valuables, so keep breakable things behind cabinet doors. Dogs love to chew, so treat this the same way and make sure things that are important to you stay out of their reach. Big dogs with happy tails can also wreak havoc on lamps, breakable accent tables and stand alone accessories like statues or potery. Choose a fabric that will wear well with your pet. I recommend trying to get a fabric in a shade similar to your pet’s fur color to mask any shedding. Stay away from long drapery and skirted sofas and chairs that will collect hair from the floor. Leather is great because you can wipe it clean, but please note that it will scratch and age over time. Slipcovers are easy to work with because you can take them off and clean them. Other great fabrics for pet lovers are those made of Crypton, Indoor/Outdoor fabrics, microfiber, denim and canvas. There are so many options for fun, affordable, and durable materials that will wear well over time. When considering flooring vinyl, tile, concrete, stone and stainfree carpet are the winners. They make it easy to clean up dirt and wipe wet surfaces. Hardwood floors will work as well but require more maintenance because surface blemishes are easily exposed and spills have to be cleaned up right away to eliminate warping. Our loving animals don’t have to hinder our design choices. By selecting appropriate placement and materials, your furniture will handle the wear and tear from our four-legged friends. Feel free to reach out to me for personal advice! —





Therapy dogs work their magic in the WC community STORY KATE CHADWICK


est Chester resident Don Wittke attended a board meeting at Virginia Tech University in April 2017, about a week after the shooting there that claimed the lives of 32 and wounded 17. Upon returning to his hotel, Don met a man outside with a Golden Retriever. “Since my wife and I had two Goldens at the time, and since I just love dogs, I asked if I could pet her,” Don said. The man approved, although somewhat reluctantly, saying that his dog had had a long day and that she was very drained. Puzzled, Don inquired as to why the dog was so tired. The man replied that she

was a therapy animal, and had spent the day with grieving families who had lost loved ones in the shooting. For Don, “It was an ‘aha!’ moment—I knew then that I could give back to my community through our dogs.” When Don returned to West Chester, he contacted WCU Counseling & Psychological Services Chair, Dr. Julie Perone. “At the time, Dr. Perone had no experience with therapy animals or what hidden powers they held,” Don told us. “There were no dog visits to the university then. However, she was extremely supportive, and invited me to meet with

one of her faculty members to discuss potential programs or applications, and to conduct some trials.” They began by putting Don’s Golden, Tucker, at Sykes Student Union as an outreach program of the Counseling Center and asked student to complete surveys. The results? “Students asked if we could increase the frequency of the visits, or increase the time,” Don said. “Many sat on the floor and stayed over an hour with the dog. The visits were a huge success in terms of providing stress relief to students, as well as increasing awareness of the Counseling Center.”





For those of us who are dog lovers, we already know that just being around them can make us feel better, but there is science to back it up. Studies have shown that petting a dog releases the relaxation hormone oxytocin and can also lower blood pressure. More workplaces are permitting dogs to accompany their owners to work, as it’s been shown to increase employee productivity, and the use of therapy animals has grown in nursing homes, schools, and hospitals—including Chester County Hospital, which implemented a pet therapy program in the summer of 2016. Kathy Stocker, Director of Volunteer Services at CCH, has seen the results firsthand. “Research shows that pets have a clinical effect of lowering stress hormones, blood pressure, and anxiety,” she told us. “And I have witnessed some emotional visits with very anxious patients who have held a dog and cried—

Mr. Muddy Puddles poses with the WCU Cheerleading team it’s an emotional release to a non-judgmental creature.” The CCH program, which began as an academic research project for one of the nurses, has grown since its inception, and parameters have been established for both owners and pets. “There are eight pet therapy teams and nine dogs— one owner has two Labradors who both visit,” Kathy said. “The owners must have hospital volunteer clearance: personal interview, TB screening, flu shot, negative criminal background check, personal references, and hospital orientation, which includes infection prevention, patient safety, personal safety, patient privacy and customer service.” As for the pets, they must be well groomed, up to date with vaccinations and vet visits, have

the Canine Good Citizenship certificate from the American Kennel Club, and pet therapy certification from a recognized agency, such as Therapeutic Dogs International or K-PETS. Similar criteria are in place over at the university, according to Dr. Rachel Daltry, who runs the dog therapy program for the Counseling & Psychological Services Department. The program was started as a way to help students gain awareness of the services of the counseling center, but it has grown well beyond that. According to an article co-written by Daltry for Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, the counseling center fields numerous requests throughout the year from other student organizations and university offices, such as Animal Behavior Club, New Student Orientation, and fraternities, for the dogs to participate in other campus events to assist in attracting students to them. Its primary





Darla makes sure everybody pets her, even Rammy purpose remains, though: campus visits by friendly, four-legged goodwill ambassadors who flop down and interact, tails wagging, with the students, triggering smiles and stress relief in the process. There are also active Twitter and Instagram accounts for the program (@wcutherapydogs), where students can keep up with when and where the dogs will visit. And in those posts, you’ll see photos of the program’s dogs— including the center’s embedded therapy dog, Daltry’s own chocolate lab, Mudd. A check of the department’s Faculty and Staff webpage, however, indicates he has the more formal name/title, Mr. Muddy (Mudd) Puddles under his formal (and handsome) headshot. Among the other dogs you’ll see in those social media posts are an adorable pair of Bernese Mountain dogs, Darla and Harvey, owned by volunteer Babs Winicur, who’s been a part of the program for five years. “I was Associate Registrar for Course Scheduling and Space Management from 1998 until 2012, when I retired,” Babs said. “My husband Dan was University Registrar from 1995 until his retirement in 2003, so we’ve been part of the WCU family for more than 20 years. This program is a great opportunity to continue my relationship with WCU and to share the love of my dogs with students, faculty and staff. And at almost every session, I hear someone say, ‘This is what I needed today’ as they pat the dogs. That reinforcement is what makes this volunteer effort such a joy.” Darla is the “social butterfly,” according to Babs, going from person to person to make sure everyone is greeted appropriately and has the opportunity to adore her. “She is a very happy, outgoing, sassy dog whose tail never stops wagging,” she said. “Harvey is the mellow one, lying on the floor beside a student, or sitting on someone’s feet, for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, and then choosing someone else to grace with his presence. He’s devoted to me, and to whatever I ask of him.” It’s not just all about the therapy for these canines, though: Darla is titled as an AKC Draft Dog, and Harvey is a retired Champion show dog. “But at heart,” said Babs,

“they are working dogs who are happiest around people.” Over at the hospital, Priscilla Holleran echoes that sentiment. She and her German Shepherd, Violette, have been volunteering as a pet therapy team at CCHS since the program began two years ago. “Before that we volunteered at Neighborhood Hospice (which is part of the hospital) for five years, something we continue as well,” she told us. A longtime animal lover and dog owner, Holleran began by taking one of her beagles to a nursing home. “When we got Violette, I joined Therapy Dogs International, through whom she is now certified. My husband and I are longtime supporters of the hospital, and this has become a truly rewarding way to spend quality volunteer time

with both patients and staff. Not only do we happily volunteer, but we’ve made lifelong friends with the other dogs and their handlers. All of us feel so supported by the hospital through this endeavor. The happiness we see on the face of a patient, young or old, when we enter their room and announce that it is Pet Therapy Day is all anyone could ask for.” Kathy Stocker’s role is to interview and then manage the owners and the pets to make sure they have all the proper requirements to be in the hospital and to safely interact with patients, visitors, and staff. “I schedule the volunteer pet teams and make sure there is adequate coverage for the inpatient units. I also recruit new pet therapy teams so we can grow the program.” She tells us just a bit about





how the program is organized. “The pet therapy teams know which floors they are to visit on a given day,” she said. “The nursing staff also knows when the pets are coming to their floors. The nurses explain the pet program to the patients, and ask if they’d like a visit from a dog. Certain patients aren’t eligible due to infection control issues or illness. If a patient says ‘yes’ to the visit, a magnet with a paw print is placed on their door. The pet therapy teams look for the magnets, and then know to visit those rooms.” The joy the dogs bring to the hospital isn’t just limited to patients and volunteers. “I, too, get the advantages of being able to interact with these pets and their owners,” said Kathy. “The owners are also very loving and giving people who want to help others. My favorite time is Furry Friends Day, when I see my fellow employees benefiting from having play time with the dogs.” Furry Friends Day is hosted by the department so hospital staff can visit with the pets for a time of de-stressing and relaxing. “Employees appreciate a time to rejuvenate themselves after being caregivers to others. I

Violet & owner Priscilla Holleran bring stress relief to CCH always see lots of smiles and hear lots of laughter on Furry Friends Days.” The smiles are what it’s all about, according to Don Wittke. Since WCU’s program implementation over a decade ago, that’s been a constant as the program has grown. “Fast forward to 2018. Speaking to the success of the program, the number of visiting dogs has grown to five or six, not counting ours.” Don and Kathy now have three Goldens, Lola, Jack, and Gem, that have been evaluated and certified by Therapy Dogs International as therapy dogs. “Lola and Gem have been regular visitors to the students at WCU,” Don said. “And in addition to WCU, my wife and I also visit area elementary schools on a regular basis. In addition to their therapy work, the dogs enjoy agility, obedience and tracking training, and just being dogs!” As for the work Don and his dogs are doing at the university, soothing frazzled nerves and stressed out students... well, it doesn’t

feel like work. “Our dogs—and I’m sure many others—enjoy interacting with the students. Their tails are wagging nonstop, and I get the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful students and bring some smiles. It’s a great feeling when you know you have enhanced someone’s day. The many smiles say it all.” To know and love a dog can be one of life’s greatest joys, and it’s no surprise to those of us who’ve experienced that joy to know that they can have a stress relieving—even healing—effect on the humans around them. “Many animals, especially dogs, possess an innate ability help relieve stress and heal wounds of the soul,” said Don. “It’s my hope that by bringing our dogs to meet with the student population, we’ll be able to provide that stress relief—even if it’s just for a few minutes—to help lighten their heavy loads.” And the fact that the dogs seem to love it, too doesn’t hurt. “Violette gets so excited when I ‘dress’ her in her bandana,” said Priscilla Holleran. “She can’t wait to jump in the car to go to the hospital and get to work.”





Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

This past October WhirlAway Travel hosted artist Paula Rhoads during the Chamber of Commerce Gallery Walk. This was the first time in as long as I can remember that we participated in the event. It was a gorgeous night and we were packed for the duration of the four-hour showing. Paula displayed her artwork thoughtfully throughout the space and the wine flowed freely as locals and non-locals wandered in and out admiring her work. In speaking with quite a few guests, I learned that the Gallery Walk draws people into West Chester who otherwise would not visit our perfect town. As much as I travel, I am not much of a museum person, and a few years ago I was in Amsterdam and visited the Rijksmuseum on a small group tour. It was one of the most tiring tours I have even been on. The art historian told wonderful and insightful stories about each piece as we moved through the rooms, and I did everything in my power to stay awake. I am not sure if it was the shuffle walk from piece to piece or a late night out experiencing the dark side of Amsterdam the night before, but I remember never wanting to go into another museum for the rest of the trip. One of the questions I always ask clients is about their interest in art, to facilitate planning their itinerary. Some prefer to wander through museums independently while others enjoy the commentary that a guide provides. A growing number of clients are more interested in purchasing art from around the world to showcase in their homes. There are also quite a few, like me, who would prefer getting lost down a shady side street than creeping through a museum. Hosting the Gallery Walk taught me something about myself—I actually really enjoy art, but I prefer experiencing it on a more intimate level. Having the opportunity to interact with the artist, really learn why they create the pieces and how their personality and emotions are reflected in their work is, unsurprisingly, much more impactful to me than reading a placard next to a piece on display at a museum. With that in mind, I made an effort to sneak off to the new co-working venue, Align.Space at the corner of Market and High, and I enjoyed watching some of the artists who fill the space working on pieces and explaining some of their processes. It reminded me of one of my favorite experiences in Cordoba, Spain, where I stumbled upon an artisan co-op and watched a puppet maker carve the most beautiful wooden figures. I understand that museums have their place in the world and my intent is not to downplay the works of renowned artists. Their work tells us a story of history and culture that a textbook just can’t relay. I will probably find myself wandering through many more in my future travels. One thing I am certain of, though, is that I plan to intentionally seek out small galleries and artisan co-ops to interact with the artists of our time, some of whom will surely be featured in a museum in the future. —





Welcome to

West Chester PHOTO Dan Balmer INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Chatting with Becky & Cori about their new store, All the Dogs, on Church Street. So, what are you roles, and how do you know each other? BECKY: I am the Founder & Owner of All the Dogs, and Cori is the Co-creator and Operations Manager. We have known each other our entire lives; we’re cousins. Can you introduce us to your pups? B: His name is Cody. He’s one of my three French Bulldogs who served as the inspiration for our logo. Cody makes an appearance periodically, but usually it’s Cori’s pup, Miles, who is the Shop Ambassador. Why did you think West Chester was the right fit for a pet store? B: I wanted to work with dogs in some capacity, without getting too attached. Opening a small shop in my hometown seemed like a great

opportunity to work in the dog world. Downtown West Chester hasn’t had a dog shop in several years, and I saw a need to bring one to the borough; this town is booming with dogs! What prompted your on focus on healthy, high-quality and local items? CORI: We’re both incredibly conscious about the health and well-being of our pups, the importance of community and the impact of production on our environment. Before the shop opened, we were challenged with finding treats and gear locally that met our standards. Can you tell me about some of the more exciting products you keep in stock? B: They change weekly, as my pups try every new product in the shop! Right now they’re enjoying West Paw’s Fergus (a durable stuffed squeaky toy that looks like Gritty, the Flyers new mascot). C: And puzzles! We have several lines of puzzles to promote mental stimulation and independent entertainment. What do you find motivates your customers? C: Much of the dialogue we share with customers centers on the health of their dog. Our customers inform us of

challenges they’ve had with certain food sensitivities and environmental allergens. We hear about dogs that need collars/ harnesses that are hypoallergenic to eliminate skin irritations, and so many other things. We’re happy to offer several lines of treats, gear, toys and skincare to support their health. Is this is a growing market? C: Caring for Miles holistically, today, is much easier than it was nine years ago when he came into my life. The availability of products has grown exponentially over the years, and I expect this trend will continue. I don’t see the demand for high-quality, sustainably sourced, non-toxic products to diminish. What have been some of your favorite customer experiences? B&C: Any time a dog walks through the door is our favorite experience. The best part of this business is meeting, petting and treating all the dogs! If your dog could talk, what we he want other animals to know? CODY: Come to All the Dogs! We have so many fun toys and yummy treats! MILES: Every time you come in, you get a treat, and that means I get a treat, too! Please visit so we all get more treats!






Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at


There’s a lot of cooking going on this time of year. The holiday bestknown for its food is right around the corner, and as the chill settles in, the grab-and-go dinners no longer measure up and we crave warming, soothing comfort food. These apples would make a welcome addition to the holiday table (or the breakfast table), and this mouth-watering recipe for meatloaf is just the sort of thing your family can tuck into when the winds turn blustery. – Cinnamon Apples - serves 4 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 4 Fuji or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 1 c. water

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high. Add apples and salt. 2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are light gold, 3-5 minutes. 3. Reduce heat to medium low/low, depending on your heat source. Add water and brown sugar and simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until liquid is greatly reduced and syrupy. 4. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir gently until butter is melted. Serve or chill until ready to eat. Italian Style Meatloaf - Serves 4 2 tbsp. minced fresh basil 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire 1 onion, finely diced 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 garlic cloves, minced 1.3 lb. ground beef 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/3 c. grated parmesan 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 c. Italian breadcrumbs 1 egg 3/4 c. marinara, divided 3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. 2. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened – about 8 minutes. 3. In a large bowl, combine beef, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, Worcestershire, garlic powder, black pepper and egg. 4. Add in cooked onions and 1/2 c. marinara sauce. Combine well. 5. Lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Shape meat into a loaf on the middle of the pan. Spread remaining 1/4 c. marinara on top of meat. 6. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool about ten minutes, slice and serve. NOVEMBER 2018 THEWCPRESS.COM





EMPLOYEES D VOLUNTEERS D ADOPTERS profiling the people dedicated to their worthy mission



Barbara Hess adopter


t sometimes seems that folks doing the most good rarely recognize what an impact they’re having. Barb Hess is one of those people. In the last several years, she’s adopted two different dogs with special needs from the Branywine Valley SPCA. And yet, when she speaks about opening her heart and her home to these animals, she makes it sound like the most obvious decision anyone could make. Rocky was a sick, senior dog who the shelter estimated was 10 years old, and although Barb wasn’t certain if she was up to the task, she was willing to try. “I knew that recovering in a shelter would be very difficult, especially at his age, and I agreed to foster him,” Barb says. “Because of his age, I worried that it would be difficult for him to find a home when he needed one the most. A loving home was something I could give him.” It quickly became clear from his condition that Rocky hadn’t lived the best life, but if anything, that made Barb care for him more, claiming she fell in love with him within a week. “Knowing that I could provide him with the love and care he deserved motivated my choice to adopt,” she says. Rocky went on to live another five happy years with Barb. After Rocky passed on, Barb felt she wasn’t ready to adopt again, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to help. Will was a cruelty survivor in need of somewhere to convalesce Seeing what Will following the amputation went through, of his leg. While Barb was both physically uncertain she could provide all the medical and emo- and emotionally, tional issues that might showed me what come along with him, she resilience and the SPCA’s behavior knew he was in need of somewhere to recover physstrength are. team, Barb took baby steps when introducically and emotionally, and ing Will to other dogs. “It was heartshe opened her home to him. “He was so warming to finally watch him successcautious at first that he wouldn’t leave my fully play with another dog,” she says. kitchen for two weeks,” Barb remembers. But, Will was still just a foster, and Barb “I just gave him his space.” worried that she was still too raw from With Barb’s support and guidance, Will found his way into other rooms of the passing of Rocky to truly open herself the house and even the yard. When she to another dog. “When taking him back felt he was ready, Barb took him to the to the SPCA for a recheck, the vet tech, park, but he still remained cautious, only Emma Fennelly, just said to me, ‘I think navigating small areas. But, with time, you should adopt him; he’s perfect for you,’ things began to change. “I watched him but I wasn’t yet ready to adopt,” Barb says. blossom!” Barb says. With the help of As Will started to improve, Barb realized

Amy Tucker story Dan Mathers photo

it would soon be time for him to return to the shelter, and she just couldn’t do it. “He was such a good boy, and I couldn’t break his heart—it would have broken my heart, too,” she said. “I am smitten with this dog.” Reflecting on the relationship they’ve forged, Barb said, “There is a special bond that forms when you nurse a dog back to health. Seeing what Will went through, both physically and emotionally, showed me what resilience and strength are. He is healthy, happy and thriving, and I feel privileged to have been a part of that.” We’d argue that West Chester is privileged to have you, Barb.




Festive Family Fun at UPTOWN West Chester Christmas Parade Weekend

WCStudio at Uptown! Holiday Cheer Concert & Show

FRIDAY Nov. 30, 5pm SATURDAY Dec. 1, 1pm

SATURDAY Dec. 1, 7pm

SUNDAY Dec. 2, 1pm SUNDAY Dec. 2, 4pm Live Entertainment for All Ages!



Mandi Ruch

I actually get excited to come in to work and see the animals (I’m truly a dog person, but I like seeing the kitties too)



f you’re a dog lover, simply being in the vicinity of a shelter can put a strain on your heart—there are just so many good boys inside the building in need of loving families, so we can’t help but empathize with the added difficulty that puts on the job of shelter coordinator Mandi Ruch. “I do struggle with this feeling sometimes, but I remind myself that I am only one person, and I can only do what I can do,” Mandi says. “It’s not up to me or any individual to save animals, it’s up to all of us to work together to make the animal’s stay here as enriching and happy as possible.” While many might not be able to imagine a more stressful job, Mandi, who has a degree in social work, says her previous career burned her out before she found her calling at BVSPCA. “I volunteered while I was looking for a job and realized that I loved walking the dogs and wanted to work here!” Six months into volunteerinh, about two years ago, Mandi saw a job posting for a full-time position and applied. She’s been with BVSPCA ever since. “I actually get excited to come in to work and see the animals. I’m truly a dog person, but I like seeing the kitties, too. I enjoy how much they enjoy seeing me, and I enjoy being the bright moment in their day.” In the beginning, Mandi served as an adoption counselor, greeting people, handing out paperwork, processing adoptions and helping reunite owners with their animals. “One of my favorite parts is when we are able to reunite an animal with their owner, particularly a dog. It’s great to see how happy the owners are, and how wiggly the pups get!” Last month Mandi took on a new role as shelter coordinator, a position akin to office manager. “I’m still doing adoptions, but now I’m also doing more behind-the-scenes work and enacting policy. I try to identify problems and find solutions to make things run smoother.” Still, like any job, working at the BVSPCA has its ups and downs. “The part that is hard is when we can’t save them all,” she says. While some shelters have the benefit of choosing only to take in animals that they’re confident will find happy homes, BVSPCA is an open-admission shelter, meaning they take in strays and remove animals from bad situations with the local law enforcement, in addition to those that

Amy Tucker story Dan Mathers photo

are surrendered by their owners. Many are simply too sick, or come with too many behavioral issues inherited through poor upbringing that make them unsafe for adoption. “It’s sad to think how many people along the way in that animal’s life failed them,” she says. “We do the job of providing them a safe and comfortable environment when they are put to rest.” Although the job comes with its unique difficulties, Mandi is confident that the good outweighs the bad, citing one specific case as an example of the successes that make it all worthwhile. “We had a dog come in as a stray a few months ago, and he was very timid,” she says. In his time at

the shelter, only a handful of people were able to handle him. He eventually managed to find a home but recently made his way back to the shelter as a stray... only he seemed changed. “He was a completely different dog!” Mandi says. “He was giving hugs, kisses, allowing people to handle him.” Someone had let him out of the owner’s yard, which is how he wound up back in the shelter, but when his owner came to reclaim him, there was a joyous reunion. “When they saw each other, they both started crying, and the owner collapsed on the floor with the dog in her arms, with him giving her kisses,” Mandi remembers. “That’s what it’s all about to me.”






Luke Schaffer Dan Mathers


Barb Atherholt adopter


here are two types of people in this world: those who grow up without dogs, and those for whom a house isn’t a home without a few pups in it. Barb Atherholt is certainly the latter. “They provide happiness and unconditional love,” she says. Barb has always had dogs around. “I’ve mostly adopted, fostered and rescued my dogs—they make the most loyal pets,” she says. “I’m convinced they just know and want to make you happy.” Her younger daughter Morgan lived at home for a few years after college with her rescued pitbulls Pete and Knuckles before moving out, and her elder daughter Kierstin is apt to drop off her rescued bernedoodle Winnie at any given time. But for the past eleven years one canine has been a constant in Barb’s life, a rescued mix-breed she fondly calls, “My Little Dog.” But lately, Little hasn’t been doing so well. “She recently developed an aggressive cancer and was not getting off of

the couch,” Barb says. Before she dogs of all sizes—it was While they pursued heartbreaking,” Barb says. wouldn’t get “And, of course we stopped treatment and surgery, off the couch, to look at all of the puppies ultimately Little’s case was deemed terminal. but now they’re playing and this black pup “It breaks my heart on the window and all hanging out jumped to see her going so just stared at us. Ugh. That together, all a was it. He resembles our quickly,” she says. This October, Barb little family. Little and we couldn’t walk and Kierstin took Litaway.” His name was Reed, tle to the vet, expecting it to be her last and he went home with Barb that day. trip, but when they got there, they were With the dogs all together, Barb saw a surprised by her vitality. “She suddenly continuance of that renewed vitality in Litseemed too spry, too awake and alive tle. “Before she wouldn’t get off the couch, that morning, so we decided to wait a but now they’re all hanging out together, few more days or weeks until she lets us all a little family,” she says. Barb’s also a know it’s time,” Barb said. believer that puppies naturally learn from Since they were around the corner, pack leaders, and that is proving true with Kierstin reasoned, they might as well how Reed follows Little’s lead. “When I make a stop at the Brandywine Valley say, ‘potty’ they all go outside and pee SPCA. “Kierstin thought that maybe we together — it’s not something I had to could find a puppy who could learn from teach him, he just learned,” she says. Little, and be a partner for my other dog, But, most importantly, Barb has Lucy, who I don’t think would do well on seen how the newest family member is her own,” Barb says. changing spirits. “It’s very sad watching They pulled into the parking lot, your dog wither away before your eyes, opened the doors and were led right into but Reed has brought happiness back the kennel. “We saw so many adorable into this house, for all of us.”





Gussie Solis volunteer


n talking with Gussie Solis about her involvement as a volunteer with the BVSPCA, her enthusiasm is such that you’d think she’s been at it for a really, really long time. In point of fact, she’s been doing it for just over a year—but you could say that she had a bit of a head start. Gussie retired from her job after 35 years as a Learning Support teacher at Rustin High School in 2017, but during her time there she sponsored a Canine Club, and that turned out to be the spark. The club met every Friday, and the students and staff were able to interact with different dog-related groups—including representatives from All 4 Paws Animal Rescue, various local dog trainers, the Sheriff’s Department police dog program, and the BVSPCA. “The SPCA would bring dogs and puppies in at least once a month to visit the Canine Club,” she told us. “The staff and volunteers would inform the students of the shelter’s purpose, and what the volunteers do at the shelter.” Soon, the Canine Club (which is still ongoing at Rustin) began holding fundraisers for the SPCA (and still does), including “petting zoo,” where animals would be brought to school and kids and grownups alike would pay a dollar to pet them. Gussie’s post-career fate was basically sealed. “Because of our ongoing relationship, and just seeing the passion the SPCA volunteers had for the dogs, I We’re always knew I was hooked.” talking about how The SPCA visits to Ruswe think about tin’s Canine Club had a photo Amy Tucker secondary repercussion: it ‘our’ dogs at the story Kate Chadwick resulted in the adoption of shelter when we Astro, the now three-yearcan’t make it in. said. “And I’ve learned Any fears that Jay may have had about old lab mix who joined prethe appearance of more surprise roomthat the knowledge vious “only pup” Tango, a mates have been somewhat allayed. “My and dedication of the team is tremendous.” lab that Gussie and her husband Jay had If there’s anything about her work at husband was worried that we would end adopted some 11 years ago. Jay, who is an airline pilot, came back from one of his the shelter that Gussie is more enthused up with 20 dogs once I started volunwork trips to find the new resident. “I didn’t about than the dogs, it is her fellow vol- teering,” Gussie said. “There are so many even tell him,” Gussie said. “When he got unteers. “The dedication is unbelievable. dogs to give love and attention to at the home, there was Astro. As soon as I laid These dogs are taken to parks, taken SPCA. For me, volunteering five days a swimming, taken to McDonalds! We’re week, three hours a day is the solution to eyes on him, I knew I had to adopt him.” Gussie’s work at the shelter, which always talking about how we think about bringing them home. I cannot believe I get typically runs three hours a day, five days ‘our’ dogs at the shelter when we can’t to do this in retirement—it may even rival a week, includes walking and socializing make it in. We actually text each other my happy place, the beach! And somethe dogs, as well as working in playgroups when we aren’t going to be there, just to times—I admit—I get so excited that I and on the dogs’ behaviors. “Last month, make sure all of the dogs get extra love skip my morning workout and just head straight to the shelter.” I became part of the behavior team,” she and attention.”





Service above Self

Rotary Club of West Chester contibutes a monthly column exploring good works, good fun and local organizations that are making a difference.

Great things are happening on East Union Street. The West Chester Area Senior Center, an organization that has been serving our senior neighbors since 1975, has been hanging out with the kids next door. Their Grand Friends program, a partnership with the Chester County Family Academy, is not only a great example of non-profits working together, but also a way to bridge the gap between generations. Located adjacent to the senior center, The Chester County Family Academy is a charter school for kindergarten through second grade that provides a community-based, hands-on, hearts-on, heads-on program for young learners and their families struggling with financial challenges. For three years, the two organizations have partnered to create a program that brings together students and seniors twice a week to enjoy each other’s company while participating in educational and fun activities with topics focused around nutrition, reading, literacy, art, and music education. “Our Grand Friends program provides a wonderful opportunity for our seniors to engage with young children,” says Senior Center Executive Director Kathy Sullivan. “They have meaningful and ongoing social interaction and develop real relationships throughout the school year, all of which are proven ways to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness which so many seniors are prone to experience. The look of pure joy on the faces of both generations together is priceless!” Both organizations are partly supported by the Rotary Club of West Chester and have received grants from the proceeds of the West Chester Chili Cook-Off. This year the senior center will use the funds to enhance the Grand Friends intergenerational nutrition education programs and their “Weather the Weather” emergency food packages. The grant will support the generations learning together about better eating on a budget, smart grocery shopping, and healthful, simple meal prep. The grant also supports the annual emergency food drive that provides almost 500 bags of non-perishable foods to seniors and children in the school. Of course, the senior center doesn’t just benefit from the Chili Cook-Off; for years, Kathy and her senior center crew have been in the middle of the action, fielding one of the most enthusiastic chili teams on the street. Their “Bean There, Done That” chili even won second place in the Non-Profit Division at the 2017 event. Kathy expressed her appreciation for the support Rotary offers at the club’s presentation ceremony following the cookoff. “We are so grateful for their generous support of our Intergenerational Grand Friends Program,” she said. “This funding will enhance our nutritional education programs for the seniors and young children throughout this school year and also provide much-needed supplemental food for both generations, which will be especially important during winter inclement weather. Nutrition is vitally important to these two generations and even more crucial to those who are also on a limited income and/or unable to leave their homes during the winter weather. Thank you Rotary!”





Bartender of the Month

PHOTO Amy Tucker INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Jacqueline Brandt-Lee chats about Bar Avalon's engaging atmosphere that keeps people coming back. How long have you been working at Bar Avalon? I’ve been behind the bar for three years and working at the restaurant for eight. What drew you to the industry? Well, I was 17 when I started. It was just a job that was available that I knew I could do, and I could work my hours around school — I was still in high school at the time. As soon as I hit 18 I started serving. Describe the atmosphere. Fun. Funny. Welcoming. Some bars you go in, you can tell people are not happy and that feeling spreads, but people come here because it

is always happy. Customers know coming in is going to make them smile. What’s the vibe on a typical night? Friday and saturday we have live music, so there’s a jazz vibe. Lots of cocktails, lots of small plates at the bar, so people are sharing. There’s a lot of interaction; not just with me, but between customers. Most people are going for the cocktails? Our most popular is our smoked Manhattan, because it draws the whole bar in. We burn little wood pellets and put the glass on it and let it sit for a minute, then we flip it back over and pour the manhattan into it. It’s a fun drink because it raises a lot of questions, and that engagement is always fun. And most people are going for small plates? We have amazing calamari, and then a fried cauliflower that is great. People get pastas and entrees and share them, plus our pizza is a big sharer, too. But, our most popular dishes are the lamb bolognese—which has been a staple on our menu—and our mussel bake: mussels with pizza dough baked over top for dipping. People also go for our burgers, like the stacker burger: cheese, fried pickles,

lettuce, tomatoes with a big, fat, juicy burger on a brioche bun that comes with truffle fries. Why do you think you’ve stuck with it? I love it. I love the atmosphere. I love the fast pace, and most of all, I love the people—the customers and the staff are awesome. Have you developed strong relationships through work? I have become great friends with the staff. We go out on the weekend after work and text each other all the time. How about with customers? My regulars are the best part of my day. There are a few who’ve even become my Facebook friends [laughs]. When I have a bar full of regulars—which happens pretty often; regulars are often the core of my bar—it’s like sitting at the bar talking to friends and family. Why do you think you’ve got such a good group of regulars? I think because we’re good at making them feel welcome. If I notice someone more than once, I get to know them, what they drink, what they like. We don’t just throw a drink at you and walk away.





History & Culture

Chester County Historical Society explores the local past and its influence on our lives today.

When Barnum’s Circus paraded through West Chester, the entire population from the area crowded into the streets to witness the spectacle. A month before the event, Barnum’s advance men plastered the town with colorful posters. Max Mueller positioned his camera early to capture this view of the procession:

Only the circus could close the court, schools, businesses and the college. Seeing the parade was free, but tickets for the show were expensive: $1, which in 1887 was roughly $150 today. On May 11, 1887 Barnum’s private train, 80 cars long, rolled into the old Gay Street Station at 9am. It was greeted by a crowd of 300 people who had waited since sunrise to get a glimpse of the great entourage. P.T. Barnum did not travel with the show, but his daughter, Mrs. Robbins, was on hand to handle the money. Embarking from the train first were 500 horses, harnessed to dozens of carriages, cages and wagons, all beautifully groomed. Next came the elephants, and children squealed with delight to see them pushing the wagons into place. There was a menagerie of animals in cages and a herd of camels. The wagons lined up and the procession headed through the streets of West Chester to the delight of the throng. The circus made real things that most people only knew of by reading newspapers and books. Instead of using the Chester County Fairgrounds, the big top was set up in a farm field, probably where the Roslyn development is today. The tent held 20,000 people and had three separate rings with a constant display of daring feats. There was a Roman hippodrome with wild chariot races, an elevated stage featuring 100 acrobatic performers, but the animal acts were the most popular. Ponies, monkeys, goats and even a baby pig charmed the audience. The skills of the circus horses and riders delighted. Big name performers were a great draw. Senior Myers performed on the trapeze while “traveling at the rate of thirty miles an hour.” Also on hand was Paul Boyton who gave “an aquatic performance in a crystal lake of water.” An exhibition of a stage coach being attacked by Indians brought the Wild West to life. Ticket holders also got to see the Museum of Living Wonders which included all kinds of exotic animals from around the world, as well as human curiosities. After the show the tents were taken down and packed on the train. At 1am the train moved off to Dover, Delaware for the next show.—




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All the Dogs is your pup’s new favorite stop in the borough I was always just a cat person. Yet about a year and a half ago, that all changed. In a serendipitous twist of fate, a four-year-old rescue dog named Dale came into my life. As many animal adoption stories go, mine sounds familiar: one Sunday morning I didn’t have a dog, and then a few hours later, I did. In the process of adopting him, I learned that Dale is a former therapy dog from Virginia, and on that fateful day when he found his forever home with me, he turned out to be a Southern gentleman with a heart of gold. Like all dog owners, those first bonding experiences with Dale awoke something in me. It felt like a visceral realization of the ancient dynamic between humans and dogs that we’ve been experiencing for the last 15,000 years— our mutual impulse to imprint on each other. In fact, science makes sense of this special connection we feel towards our tail-wagging counterparts. Current research reveals that both humans and dogs release the hormone oxytocin when we look into each other’s eyes —which is the same hormone that is

released when a mother looks into the eyes of her baby. Needless to say, Dale has since become my third child. As I am now officially a dog-person, many local friends and other West Chester canine-compadres have shared with me their favorite pooch-friendly places in the area, as well as the businesses they rely on to spoil their pups. So, to all you dog-parents out there, consider these fun activities and doggy-destinations when planning the next excursion with your furry babies.

Borough Bound! A Stop at All The Dogs on the Way to Everhart Park As the newest dog-centric business in the West Chester borough, All The Dogs is all the rage. Owner Becky Hoffman opened this hip dog boutique on Church Street with the purpose of offering a unique line of eco-friendly and locally-sourced products for dogs. This shop is bright and refreshing, and Becky’s Earth-first approach is evident in every ware—from eye-catching food bowls made of recycled chopsticks and

plant material, to handcrafted pillows that are partially constructed from recycled water bottles. Here, with an assortment of funky leashes, patterned collars and other cool gear to choose from, your dog’s tail is guaranteed to get its (s)wag on. Naturally, dogs are always welcome inside All The Dogs, and free sample treats are available daily to any of your bewhiskered buddies. One product in particular here that caught Dale’s attention, is the boutique’s line of Green Gorilla’s CBD and olive oil extracts for dogs, cats, and horses. CBD is short for cannabinoids, which are one of the many non-psychoactive yet medically beneficial compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids respond to the receptors in the body of all mammals, and these CBD oil products (the only product of their kind available in the borough) offer an alternative for dogs suffering from inflammation and immune function issues, to stress and anxiety disorders. I picked up a pouch of CBD freezedried lamb treats with hemp extract for Dale —which is now his favorite





Hobbs is hanging out at Stroud Preserve photo Laura Bigley

snack (particularly on nights when he syncs-up the Wizard of Oz with Bark Side of the Moon). Local dog mom, Rosalie Zwizanski is a regular client of All The Dogs, and her little ones are big fans too. “Our dogs Ziggy, Scout, and Maisy love this place,” she said. “It’s a great locally owned business with all-natural, earth-friendly products and treats, and the ownership is really friendly and knowledgeable,” she added. After stopping by All The Dogs, Everhart Park is a just a hop, skip, and a pant down Miner Sreet. toward the Southwestern end of the borough, where there is plenty of room for your dogs to run around and show off their new toys. Everhart Park has long been a popular destination for dog walkers in the area, where dogs often pack together, and there are helpful plastic bag dispens-

ers stationed throughout. This park is a serene and spacious West Chester treasure, with small paths, a footbridge, and a large playground area in case you happen to have human children too.

Stroll Stroud Preserve, Followed by Food & Fun at Four Dogs Tavern Formerly known as Georgia Farm, the Stroud Natural Preserve sits on over 570 acres of once-pastured grasslands, working farmlands and woodlands that now serve as a site for recreation, education, and scientific research. However, in the dog world, the Stroud Preserve may be best known as a premier destination to explore with your four-legged sidekicks. Here, there is an extensive trail network that is super dog-friendly, with multiple options of various lengths and intensity. At Stroud Preserve, the air

We took our 5-month-old Beans to the Four Dogs Tavern... There were lots of other friendly dogs and the staff were very accommodating is cool and crisp this time of year, and its gorgeous undeveloped countryside is truly Chester County at its most pristine. Amy Barnes takes her dog Charlie here twice a week for a sunset hike after work. “I consider Stroud Preserve a local gem because it really has everything you could ask for if you want to connect with your dog in nature,” she said. Don’t forget to bring your camera here, as this place is the perfect backdrop for getting great pics of your puppers. Only two miles away in the historic village of Marshallton lies the Four Dogs





Tavern, where your dog is always welcome in their beautiful outside seating area. So, after strolling the grounds at Stroud, you and your hound can hop in the hoopty and head over to Four Dogs for some great fare and fun. Since 1996, the Four Dogs Tavern has been open seven days a week serving their American brasserie menu in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Four Dogs’ rustic New England charm is warm and cozy, and the food here consistently receives excellent reviews. Scott Grassi recently brought his dog to their outside patio and was impressed with how the servers bring doggie water bowls to all the outdoor tables. “We took our 5-month-old Beans to the Four Dogs Tavern and had a great experience sitting outside with our pup. There were lots of other friendly dogs and the staff were very accommodating,” he said. The next time you’re wrapping up a walk at Stroud Natural Preserve, remember that only a couple miles away, there’s a table waiting for you outside at Four Dogs Tavern, where you and your furry pals can enjoy some shade for a spell.

Enjoy a Day of Beauty at Barkers Barber, then Lap it Up at Restaurant 51’s “Yappy Hour” For the last eighteen years, Barkers Barberhas been a family-owned business in Gay Street Plaza that’s been providing high-quality grooming services for cats and dogs in the Chester County area. At Barkers Barbers, owner Brenda Tinder and her team of professional groomers bring over 30 years of experience. When it comes to haircuts, these pros work with all lengths—from trims and full cuts, to any style you’re looking for. In addition to haircuts, this doggie spa offers nail services, and they strive to give your dog the loving and caring treatment they would receive from you at home. With every treatment offered here, the staff is gentle, patient, and they pay close attention to detail. Barkers Barber guarantees that after receiving any of their numerous services, your dog will walk out smelling fresh, looking good, and feeling even better. Long-time customer, Amy

Yes, Restaurant 51 has menu just for dogs photo Connor Gill

Restaurant 51 Owners Bob Zorba and Jeff Ogborn are big-time dog fanatics, and they offer 25% off your dog’s bill every Tuesday Buchman, is a huge fan of the business. “Barkers Barber is absolutely the best,” she said. “My family has been going here for years and they always do a wonderful job. The owner is great with dogs, and there’s no one else I would trust leaving my pups with,” she added. After your doggie gets their hair dids at Barkers Barber, saunter on up to Restaurant 51’s “Yappy Hour” to show off the new doo.

Inside the iconic, Engine 51 Firehouse at 31 Church Street, you’ll find Restaurant 51—a casual, comfort-food tap and spirit house, where the exposed brick and thick-beamed reclaimed wood throughout this historic space is warm and welcoming. Owners Bob Zorba and Jeff Ogborn are big-time dog fanatics, and they offer 25% off your dog’s bill every Tuesday, when dogs are welcomed to come chillout inside the restaurant. On all other days of the week, it’s always “yappy hour,” and the staff at Restaurant 51 will still treat your furry forever friend like a guest of honor on the outside patio with their doggie-inspired Pick of the Litter Menu These dishes of either grilled chicken, sirloin beef patty or prime rib, are all served with hand-





Maybe it’s best to leave the boozin’ to the humans, but dogs are always welcome at Levante Brewing Co.

some sides of Brussels sprouts and rice, and are accompanied with either a peanut butter biscuit or a vanilla sundae for dessert. Undoubtedly, after a hardy meal at Restaurant 51’s Yappy Hour your dog will leave saying “Poochas Gracias.”

in this stunning ecological sanctuary is rejuvenating, and the well-maintained trails are truly beautiful any time of year. Your water-dogs will love the accessible stream that parallels a large portion of the GNA’s main path.

has food trucks as well, and added, “The fact that they are so dog-friendly was a game-changer for me. They even provide a waste station and a grassy area when your dog needs to take a break. It’s a winwin in my book,” she said.

Hike the Gordon Natural Area & then Grab Suds at Levante Brewing Co.

Less than a mile and a half away is Levante Brewing Co., a local brewery and taproom known for being incredibly dog-accommodating and for serving some of the finest craft beers in Chester County since opening in 2015.

If you’re looking for a new go-to place to unwind with your dog and drink some amazing beers, Levante Brewing Co. may be your favorite Spot’s new favorite spot.

Tucked back behind the athletic fields of West Chester University’s south campus, you’ll find dense woods with several hiking trails known as the Gordon Natural Area (the GNA), which serves as a refuge for local wildlife and native plants. At the GNA, you and your dog can heed the call of the wild under the canopy of 135 acres of an enchanting old-growth forest. I have spent a lot of time here with Dale, and from our experience, I’d say this place is much more than just a peaceful destination to go hiking or running with your dog—simply being in the GNA can feel Zen-like. The energy

Levante’s mission seeks to infuse artisan craft brewing with new-world styles for the modern-day beer enthusiast. There are no TVs in this garage-like atmosphere, and Levante’s regular customers rave about the vibe. Jeff Rezer was enamored with Levante’s brews and staff from his first visit. “This is cutting edge stuff—from how they interact with their fans, to how they think about beer and everything in between. I tasted six or seven the other day and couldn’t find anything wrong with any of them.” Amy Barnes pointed out that Levante

As I continue to immerse myself in West Chester dog culture, I’ve come to appreciate how much these wonderful creatures have become central to so many people’s lives and lifestyles. The more I connect with other people who have also been profoundly affected by rescuing or adopting a dog, I’ve realized that nowadays, dog ownership seems to be much less about the owning part of it, and much more about the deeper, timeless relationship part. They are not just pets to us anymore—they are now our family members. It really is true, dogs are the new kids, so let’s keep on spoiling them!





Spot the five differences in this photo of some adorable doggos,, then send your answer to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to October’s winner Martina Martin who spotted the five differences in the Halloween display at The Painted Plate!





November Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be enjoying all summer long. The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. | @DJRomeo24

DJ Snake ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B – “Taki Taki” Post Malone ft. Swae Lee – “Sunflower” Brothers Osborne – “I Don’t Remember Me” Halsey – “Without Me” Shawn Mendes & Zedd – “Lost In Japan” Justin Roberts – “6 Figures” Luav ft. Julia Michaels – “There’s No Way” Tim McGraw – “Neon Churches” Kid Rock – “Po-Dunk” Quincy Mumford – “Thank You” Zara Larsson – “Ruin My Life” iLOVEFRIDAY – “Mia Khalifa” Ariana Grande – “Breathin” David Guetta ft. Anne-Marie – “Don’t Leave Me Alone” Mike Posner – “Song About You” Old Dominion – “Make It Sweet” Drake ft. Michael Jackson – “Don’t Matter To Me” Dean Lewis – “Be Alright” Kanye West & Lil Pump ft. Adele Givens – “I Love It” Why Don’t We – “8 Letters” No Rome – “Narcissist” Lauren Alaina – “Ladies In The 90s” Khalid – “Better” Built By Titan – “Into The Mist” Brandi Carlile ft. Sam Smith – “Party Of One” Pardison Fontaine ft. Cardi B – “Backin’ It Up” Picture This – “One Drink” ZAYN – “Fingers” Kim Viera & Daddy Yankee – “Como” Gryffin ft. Elley Duhe – “Tie Me Down”





t PUP s e t u C


We’ve narrowed it down to our 20 favorite entries, now it’s up to you to decide who wins! Visit and find the Cutest Dog Contest photo album to vote for you favorites. The pups with the most likes by the end of November win gift cards to All the Dogs on Church Street! First Place: $50, Second Place: $30, Third Place: $20 Brodie



Hobbs & Penny


Lucy & Huckleberry

Bailey Bubbles

Knuckles & Peter









Maggie Murphy


Mr Wiggles