It’s happy hour on a sultry Las Vegas evening and, like everybody else at every other happy hour in town, Molly and Jake are getting to know one another.
Molly (not her real name) stands in the courtyard of Rumor Boutique Hotel, checking out the music and the crowd and unwinding after a hard day, when Jake (not his real name, either) ambles up behind her, gets ready to make his move ...
And takes a quick but enthusiastic sniff of Molly’s butt.
It’s OK, though. Molly and Jake (actually, they may not even be a boy and a girl, but it seemed rude to look) are dogs, and their ships-in-the-night encounter took place last week at Yappy Hour, a monthly happy hour that caters to both people and their pets.
(By the way, is the howdy-do that Molly and Jake shared really any different, metaphorically speaking, from what humans were doing at every other happy hour in town at the exact same time? Didn’t think so ... )
Yappy Hour has been part of the entertainment calendar at Rumor Boutique Hotel, 455 E. Harmon Ave., for almost two years, said Judi Perez, executive vice president of the Siegel Group, which owns the pet-friendly property.
Offered on the third Thursday of every month, Yappy Hour is a means for dog-loving humans to meet like-minded humans in a sociable setting as their dogs do pretty much the same. In fact, Perez says, “I think there have been some matches.”
Among dogs or dog owners? “Both,” Perez answers.
Although dog owners certainly seem to enjoy Yappy Hour, Perez says the event is designed “more for the dogs to have fun.”
“I don’t think there’s anyplace in Las Vegas where dogs can mingle,” explains Perez, who has two Yorkshire terriers of her own: Louis, who’s the poster dog for Yappy Hour — you can see him on Yappy Hour billboards around town — and Lola, whose birthday was being celebrated last week at July’s edition of Yappy Hour.
“People love their dogs. They’re part of their family,” Perez says. “So why not bring their dogs to an event and have a good time and, at the same time, their dogs can have a great time, too?”
Past Yappy Hours have attracted as many as 200 people and 175 dogs at a time, Perez says.
Most of the dogs at last week’s gathering spent their visits unleashed, roaming the hotel’s courtyard at will and making the best use of the property’s palm trees that any dog can.
There were plastic wading pools in which dogs could cool off. There were conveniently placed water dishes around the courtyard. A friendly guy staffing a table from At Your Service Pet Supplies in Henderson spent the evening tossing treats to every dog that happened to wander by, and guests also receive treats from Sniffany and Company in Las Vegas.
Each month’s party has a theme. Last week’s was that birthday celebration for Lola, while a beach party in June included a swimsuit contest (for the dogs, not the people). Also on the schedule, Perez says, are a costume party at Halloween and a “Santa Paws” party at Christmas.
There are games for dogs and dog owners, and even music provided by a DJ, Gus Skerlich, whose nom de turntable is DJ Gusdamnit.
Skerlich says he’s been working Yappy Hours for about a year now. It’s different from his usual gigs in that “I play a lot of clean music,” Skerlich says. “I play a lot of Top 40 stuff, stuff you hear on the radio. I stay away from heavy hip-hop and stuff like that.”
Does he ever play dog-themed songs here? Like, maybe — and you sense that Skerlich both anticipates and dreads the words that follow — “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
Yes, Skerlich answers gamely, “I probably play ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ ”
Yappy Hour is “fun,” Skerlich says. “It’s very laid-back. It’s fun to watch.”
Yappy Hour’s four-footed attendees represent as broad a swath of the canine universe as human revelers do at their own happy hours. Maybe it’s the heat, but it’s amazing to see how closely the dogs mirror human happy hour archetypes.
There’s the pudgy beagle who spends the evening wandering from human to human, desperately seeking attention. There are wallflower lap dogs that never leave their owners. There is the pack of a half-dozen dogs who run around together until they inevitably cross the line (sure, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets nipped). There’s even a fashion plate puppy wearing a blingy collar and a streak of pink in her fur.
The $10 cover charge (for humans; dogs are free) includes a drink, while a menu of special food items — dubbed, you just knew it, “Yappatizers” — is available.
Perez says a portion of Yappy Hour proceeds goes to the Animal Foundation, which also staffed an informational table at last week’s event.
Nevin Edwards and Michelle Latour say they, and their pets, have been Yappy Hour regulars since first stopping by last summer.
What’s the attraction? “Beer and dogs,” Edwards answers with a laugh as Jazz, his 8-year-old pit bull mix, looks on.
“It just seems like a good thing to do that’s sort of different from anything else,” he says. “Just going to a dog park, you’re not allowed to party, so to speak.”
Edwards and Latour are engaged and, Latour says, “one of our early dates was here.”
“People here are more approachable and more friendly because we have dogs in common,” Latour says, adding that Rondo, her 4-year-old German shepherd/Siberian husky mix, “loves it. He loves running around, playing with the other dogs.”
“This is unique for Vegas,” Edwards says. “No doubt.”
Carol Benton says the appeal for Mickey, her 4-year-old Maltese, is “running around having a good time.” And the appeal for her? “Having a drink,” she says with a laugh. ”It’s a fun event.”
Steve Dorsey, who’s here with friend Katie Clark — she, in turn, is here with Nougat, an 8-year-old Jack Russell terrier, and Teddy, a 2½-year-old mixed breed — says it’s difficult to find someplace where a dog can “socialize with other dogs.”
“You can tell the dog actually appreciates it,” he says. “They get so happy, running around and playing with the other dogs.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@review journal.com or 702-383-0280.