During a recent “yappy hour” at Casa de Mañana, resident Betsy Jordan said it best … “Most of the time, the people talk to the people and the dogs talk to the dogs, but sometimes it’s the other way around,” she said with a grin, keeping one eye on her chocolate lab Bella, while enjoying some refreshments with her neighbors.
For an hour each month, Casa’s putting green, overlooking the Children’s Pool near La Jolla Cove, is transformed into a virtual “dogtopia,” a canine paradise where a leash-free canine contingent runs unbound in the San Diego sunshine. They tug on toys, chase balls, grab frisbees and provide plenty of love to their owners who socialize with humans and dogs alike, while they enjoy refreshments and exchange tales about their best friends.
“Ziggy just loves seeing his furry friends,” said resident Joan Keetch about her seven-year-old tan terrier. “And I love catching up with my friends too. It’s yappy hour for the dogs but happy hour for the humans.”
Casa’s life enrichment team started yappy hour in 2018 when a growing number of residents were moving into the community with dogs. Currently about 30 dogs live at Casa with their owners. “We try to keep the hour pretty loose,” said Life Enrichment Director Veronicah Cohen. “There are no organized games or events. We just want everyone to enjoy each other’s company, our furry friends included.”
“Coming to yappy hour reminds us that we have a special friend,” Betsy said. “So special that we often introduce ourselves to new yappy hour residents by saying … I’m Bella’s mommy or daddy. We all get a good laugh out of that.”
And of course, each yappy hour wouldn’t be complete without a doggy bag filled with biscuits, toys and other treats for them to take home.
“For some, it’s a time for their dogs to play, and for others it’s a time to make new friends,” Veronicah said. “Dogs are great companions for many of our residents. Particularly during yappy hour, you can see that special bond shine through.”