Coffee and Coffee Shop Moments: a Posting Contest
I was listening to the velvety, dulcet notes of Sarah Vaughan’s beautiful rendition of “Black Coffee” as I perused the menu. My dog, Barclay was sitting across from me panting happily. Barclay was a papillon dog, and he was my best friend during his time here on the planet. I hope I was his best friend as well. I certainly tried to be. This was back a few years ago, before poor Barclay got ill. I know it probably sounds a bit crazy, but we were at Munchies Coffee House and Bakery in Hamilton, Ontario. The picture above is not a photo of Barclay, but it looks a lot like he did!
We were travelling to Niagara Falls, the Canada side, which, in my opinion is the best side, although feel free to disagree. My brother was living in Waterloo at the time, taking his PhD in pure Mathematics of all things. I told him that I missed him terribly and desperately wanted to see him, but that I might just die of boredom if I had to go to Kitchener-Waterloo one more time. No offense if you live there. I am sure it is lovely once you really get to know it. I have not done so.
Barclay hates to fly. I mean, he doesn’t have wings, of course. He hates airplanes. I took him across Canada one time, and he tried to hide for a week afterwards. I say “tried,” because he could not hold out. His little belly got the better of him and he came out for nourishment, but he seemed most displeased with me. I had betrayed him by taking him so far up in the air. It was unnatural, and we both knew it. I promised myself I would never do that to him again.
So, I know what you might be thinking. Carys, why the heck didn’t you just hire a dog sitter or put Barclay in a kennel? Well, first off, I am not made of money, and secondly, if he got upset by an airplane ride, how angry do you think he would be if I left him with strangers, or, worse, locked up for a week or more? No. I had to drive, and Barclay was my navigator, and he was the happiest little dog you ever saw. He was grinning like a darned fool the entire time, his tail wagging faster than I thought possible.
I would have thought he might have gotten tired of wagging that little tail, but it kept going most of the way there and most of the way back.
While Niagara Falls was breathtaking, and I was excited to see it (Barclay just barked at the waterfall as though that was going to accomplish anything), the highlight of our trip was the stop at Munchies. You might have heard of cat cafés. You know, where there are cats at the café and you can pet the cats, yadda yadda? By the way, I have heard some rumours that there are some less well-run cat cafés that are actually cruel, so be sure to do your research before frequenting such an establishment.
At any rate, I wondered out loud once whether there were dog cafés since I am a dog person, and my nephew Peterson immediately ran off to research it. He came back and showed me a list of dog cafés. And owl cafés. Penguin cafés. Then he gave a five-minute monologue about how there is cruelty afoot in many of these places. He is thorough. We think he might be on the spectrum, but he is extremely high-functioning, and should we really mess with it? He gets along with people. There don’t seem to be any issues.
Well, during his research, he found this place called Munchies in Hamilton, which is a different sort of dog café. It’s a bring your own dog café. BYOD, so to speak. So, I asked Barclay if he thought we should check it out, and he said, “Woof!” and there we were enjoying the afternoon together. The waitress brought us each our food and drinks.
I ordered an espresso. Black. That’s how I like it. It was strong and I enjoyed it. I felt invigorated. I got Barclay an order of pupcakes. By the vigour with which he consumed his treat, I must assume he enjoyed it also. However, it’s hard to say. I think just the novelty was something for Barclay. It was his first café after all. It is a bittersweet memory for me thinking about Barclay that day. I remember it was summer, and it was so hot. I was very glad not to have to leave Barclay in the car, even for a few minutes. It sometimes gets very humid as well as hot in the Ontario summer.
That is one of my favourite memories of Barclay. Sitting across the table from him as though he was a human being. I wish all cafés would allow dogs to sit at the table like that. I am sure there are many humans whose grooming habits are far worse than my Barclay’s! Well, after he had his treats and I drank my coffee, it was getting late in the day. The sun was starting to set, and it was time to make the last leg of the trip to Niagara Falls. We had a fairly fancy hotel waiting for us. My brother decided he was paying for the room. I tried to argue, but he insisted. The room was beautiful, and it allowed doggies, which was, of course, the most important thing.
We had coffee several times while in Niagara Falls, but none of the coffee shops compared to Munchies for me because none of them would serve my bestie. Well, in fairness, I didn’t ask, but I assumed they did not allow doggies. Most of the time, we just took our coffee to go so that we could walk where dogs were allowed and enjoy the sights.
I’m so glad that I took the time to share my trip and my coffee with Barclay when he was alive. Time goes by so quickly it seems. Barclay always reminded me, in his way, to slow down. For one thing, he had tiny little legs, so I had to walk a little more slowly so the little fella could keep up. However, also in a metaphorical sense, he reminded me not to always have my face in a screen, to look around, to appreciate nature, and to drive instead of taking that scary flying machine. While he didn’t drink coffee, his mere presence reminded me to take small sips and really experience the moment. He was such a good dog.
I can’t find any photos of him, which makes me sad in a way because I wonder why I did not take a lot of photos of him. However, then I realize: it was because we were too busy living our lives together. Walking, playing, eating, sleeping. And drinking coffee, of course. (Note: I did not give Barclay coffee… it seems like it would be cruel to feed a dog coffee… or was it cruel not to?)