What Toronto’s first dog-friendly dinner club looked like

What Toronto’s first dog-friendly dinner club looked like

Ossington’s Böehmer restaurant was transformed on Monday night into Diner en Bark, the city’s first dog-friendly supper club. The private affair, organized by Get Leashed and Co., kicked off with cocktails so the canines—some bred as far away as Germany—could mingle. In attendance: two pugs that have been a couple for nine years, an Instagram fashion icon, a frug that’s a bit of a boozehound and a pup that runs a fitness studio. The 30 (human) guests enjoyed a three-course meal, while their dogs snacked on bone-shaped treats courtesy of chef Paul Boehmer, cookies, beef liver and dental sticks. In between dishes, the dogs got dolled up with bow ties and bandanas for a photo booth. We asked each owner to tell us about their furry friends and their eating habits.



9, a shih tzu and bichon frise mix from Iowa

Her owner says: “If I open a package of cheese, she’ll bolt from wherever she is—even if she’s deep asleep. She’s also famous for finding hot dogs when I take her for walks. It doesn’t take a lot to make her happy, but she’s quick to destroy any clothes that I try to put her in—Matti’s a nudist.”

Iggy Joey

2, Italian greyhound from Ontario

Her owner says: “Iggy has more than 50 outfits and over 34,000 followers on Instagram. She’ll eat anything, especially bananas, iceberg lettuce and broccoli—I let her have as many vegetables as she wants. I can’t let her off her leash during walks anymore because she ran up to a family in a park last year and stole their chicken. She also went into someone’s bag and stole some cheese. Iggy’s a vacuum—she will not stop eating, but she stays skinny.”


9, pug from Charlotte County, New Brunswick

Her owner says: “She’ll eat until she explodes. Her favourite foods are other dogs’ food and whatever her boyfriend, Lawrence, is eating. When we go to the park, she runs to every person, hoping to find a treat—she sort of ignores all the other dogs.”


10, pug from Toronto

His owner’s friend says:“My neighbour fell in love with my pug, so he got one for himself. That was nine years ago, and our dogs have been dating ever since. Lawrence will let Charlotte take his toys, eat out of his bowl and lie on his pillow. He’s an alpha male, but a sucker for romance. He loves carrots—we have to be careful about even saying the word around him. I give him a carrot cake for his birthday every year—of course everyone at the party has a piece, too.”


5, potcake from Turks and Caicos

Her owner says: “She has these scars because some people threw acid on her and two other dogs when she was about six-months-old. The SPCA was able to save her, but the other dogs died. Potcakes have a robust constitution: they can eat anything under the sun without being bothered—in Turks and Caicos, they regularly survive off garbage. Ducky’s favourite food is cheese, but she doesn’t get much of it. What Potcakes are most starved of is human affection. If Ducky’s upset with me, she won’t eat. Instead, she’ll sit in front of her food and stare at me until I give her hugs and kisses, then she’ll eat. She spends half the year in Toronto and half in Turks and Caicos—she’s a city girl and a Caribbean girl.”

Chloe Deane

4, frug (French Bulldog and Pug mix) from Orangeville

Her owner says: “She likes to eat almost anything but when I open the fridge drawer for cheese, she’s right under my feet. She also likes alcohol. If you put your drink down on my living room floor, trust me, it will be gone.”


2, American bulldog and shar-pei mix from Richmond Hill

Her owner says: “Mercy likes to eat Italian, Japanese and Chinese food, but she’s particularly fond of salmon, bacon, steak, chicken and peanut butter. She’s a diva—but in a good way, and she’s daddy’s little girl. When I hug my partner when I get home, she jumps right between us.”


6, miniature pinscher from Ontario

Her owner says: “Gigi’s a neat freak. If she’s chewing a biscuit and some crumbs fall to the floor, she’ll finish them before she resumes eating the biscuit. If she’s eating a dental stick, she’ll only eat one side. Also, Gigi has a heart murmur, so she can faint if she gets overexcited.”


8, Bernese mountain and white shepherd mix from Pennsylvania

His owner says: “We feed him really healthy food, except on his birthday when give him a vanilla ice cream cone from Ed’s Real Scoop in the Beaches. Everyone in line sings happy birthday to him—probably because he’s wearing a party hat. He’s a therapy dog, so I bring him to a nursing home once a week. Rocky really engages with each person; resting his head on their wheelchairs and making them laugh. He’s also my business partner—for real. I run a boutique fitness studio called Woof-fit, where my clients can bring their dogs along. And yes, they are included in the exercises we do.”


9, doberman from Germany

His owner says: “He’s sexy, he’s sleek, he’s suave. So I thought his name has to start with ‘S’ and denote a regal presence. If he had his way, he would always eat human food—especially anything Filipino. He also loves lasagna and pasta because his dad, my partner, is Italian. His original owner brought him here from Germany, then decided to give him up. We took Sultan to obedience school because a lot of people assume the worst about Dobermans, but all dogs—small and big—need discipline.”