Wines & Whines at Vines & Canines

Sophie the alpaca-eating dog.

Sophie the alpaca-eating dog.

Why is it that man’s best friend gets to be a dog and a girl’s best friend has to be diamonds? Don’t get me wrong. I’m itching for some bling as much as the next 20-something female, but I’ll be the first to admit that my gender is getting the raw end of the deal here. Diamonds are shiny, but otherwise useless. Dogs are cuddly and can literally do tricks. A few weeks ago my pug Sookie trotted over to the DirecTV receiver and turned it on with her pudgy little snub-nosed face. That’s a great trick. It’s also what best friends do. They turn on your television mid-conversation because they are tired of hearing you babble.

Instead of diamonds, here’s what should be a woman’s best friend: wine.

That would make Vines & Canines a double-bonus best friend zone, which is basically what it feels like when you walk into it. It’s a unique place where you and your four-legged furry friends can buy dog treats and specialty (human) wines, then open and enjoy them on-site at a cozy table for two. The drink-with-your-dog thing isn’t a gimmick, either. The selection of products here is thoughtful, with a variety of hard-to-come-by wines and locally made items available. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and assume that Pork Chop Slobber is a food-enhancer for dogs. It’s a barbecue sauce for humans. The dog on the label is just the adorable face of the brand.

Table Scrapz, all-natural dog treats made here in Louisville.

Table Scrapz, all-natural dog treats made here in Louisville.

Last Thursday, I ventured to the dog-friendly wine shop for Vino, Bark & Brew, a benefit event it was cohosting along with its neighbor Great Flood Brewing Company for The Arrow Fund. It was my first visit since the business relocated back in March from its original Clifton location to these more spacious digs on Douglass Boulevard near Bardstown Road.

At the event, I met a Brussels griffon named Count Chocula who refused to leave the snack table, lest he miss another cheese or cracker falling onto the floor. After tugging on his leash proved futile, the Count’s owner finally had to walk over and pick him up. I have to admire that level of doggy determination. Also, I met a pound puppy named Sophie who eats more exotically than I do. See, Sophie’s owner places orders with, an Indianapolis-based company that lets you order raw meats, bones and organs for your pet to eat. Does raw ground whole alpaca taste good? Only Sophie knows.

Count Chocula, Sophie and I were one of the dozens of humans and canines that showed up for the benefit to drink, shop and show our support for the worthy nonprofit The Arrow Fund, which specializes in treating and rehoming animals that have endured torture, abuse or extreme neglect. The group has successfully treated and placed more than 30 animals and has 20 more in volunteer foster homes while the receive treatment or await their “furever” homes.

Of course, treatment and rehabilitation isn’t always an option given the complex or advanced medical issues involved, but as founder Rebecca Eaves pointed out to me, many of the animals that come her way have never experienced love or respect from a human. Having that, even if only for their end days, is worth something.

“It’s a lot of work, especially for such a small amount of people,” she explained, referring to the group’s volunteers and fosters, “but it’s rewarding work. … We try to do ‘happily ever after’ stories.”

Noel Riggsbee and her dog Ralphie, adopted from Arrow Fund.

Noel Riggsbee and her dog Ralphie, adopted from Arrow Fund.

Many of those so-called “happy tails” attended the event, which delighted longtime supporters who recognized the mini-celebrities from social media. The Arrow Fund dogs included Ralphie, a blind beagle who lost his eyes to untreated glaucoma, and Hank, who came to the group severely emaciated and malnourished but now has pep in his step.

Though the night should have been a time to relax and enjoy a beer with a boxer or a wine with a weinheimer, Eaves ended the night constantly checking her smartphone as she corresponded with somebody in La Grange, Kentucky about Arrow Fund’s next case: a shepherd mix with a gnarly leg injury.

Both Vines & Canines and Great Flood Brewing Company agreed to donate 10 percent of their proceeds from Vino, Bark & Brew to The Arrow Fund. Though the total amount raised wasn’t known by the time of this writing, what is certain is that the money will go a long way.

Vines & Canines
1985 Douglass Blvd

The Arrow Fund