Beer, burgers and belly-rubs at evening strolls for dog lovers

Attendees having dinner with fellow dog-lovers and their dogs at Burger & Beer Joint in Mary Brickell Village.

Mary Brickell Village brings together Miami’s dog lovers for an hour-long evening stroll through the heart of Brickell and a pet-friendly happy hour at the Burger &  Beer Joint restaurant on Wednesday evenings.

The “Yappy Hour” events take place on the first Wednesday of every month after February.

“There’s so many animals here. And not a lot of pet-friendly places in the area. So we’re working together to create a community to come on out, have a good time, meet new people to socialize and for the dogs to socialize,” said Flavia Berti, a co-founder of Equipaws Pet Services, which guides the strolls. Flavia and her staff provide dog walking, daycare and training services.

Thirty-nine percent of downtown Miami residents own a cat or dog, according to a 2016 study by the Downtown Miami Development Authority. But many building owners do not allow tenants to have pets.

Magena Rodriguez, director of marketing for Mary Brickell Village, said it’s important for her facility “to incorporate activities and programming that fits the needs of the community and that includes pet-friendly events.,” said

Rodriguez  believes the village’s recent renovations on the landscaping and fountains will foster more community events in the future.

Originally, these guided dog walks were called Walk & Wag pack walks and took place on Sundays in the cooler months. The organizers eventually introduced the idea of an evening stroll in the warmer months after February.

Adrian Dominguez is a journalism major at FIU, specializing in visual storytelling through photography, videography and writing. Born and raised in Miami, Adrian took a great interest in the visual arts during high school, then decided his focus would be photojournalism and documentary work. He is set to graduate after the spring 2020 semester.