Have a drink, meet a dog: How this 'dog bar' is giving shelter pups a 2nd chance

At one bar in Portland, Oregon, there's more on tap than just beer.Fido's is the world's very first dog taphouse that doubles as a foster home for rescue dogs.Created by TODAY and sponsored by American Express

The dogs live in a room separate from the bar, equipped with kennel cages, toys and food. Up to eight dogs can be accommodated, though Fido's usually fosters three or four at a time.

Patrons who stop by to enjoy food and drinks have the opportunity to interact with the bar's adoptable dogs in hopes of taking one home. If someone finds one they love, they do have to wait three days before taking the dog home to ensure alcohol was not a factor in the decision-making process.

The dogs live and play together until they're adopted. Laura Spotteck
Scott Porter opened the bar three years after being inspired by a cat cafe. Since opening in early 2018, over 70 dogs have found their forever homes."Fido's is unique in that it is a craft beer taproom. We focus not only on beer, cider and wine. We primarily focus on charities, dog rescues and helping them to solve the pet population problem," Scott told TODAY.
"It's important for me to be around dogs just because of the joy," Scott said. Laura Spotteck
They partner with the charity Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA), which rescues the dogs from high-kill shelters in central California. OFOSA conducts all interviews with potential dog owners and organizes a mandatory meet-and-greet for the family interested in adopting.

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Most of the animals come from challenging behavioral or living circumstances, according to Porter. However, after weeks of living in a stable, loving environment at Fido's, their personalities bloom, he added.

Fido's is named after a famous World War II dog. The owner of the dog was killed during a bombing raid. The dog waited for its master at the bus stop, returning every day for 5,000 days. It came back to that bus stop for 12 years. Laura Spotteck

Though he's owned and operated many businesses as an entrepreneur, opening a bar with adoptable dogs is definitely a first for Porter. The biggest learning curve has been controlling the costs of a business with larger waste and smaller margins, he says.

"There have been so many challenges with learning the bar business, learning about the charities, the rescues, the behavior of dogs but at the same time just meeting the people, the dogs, the patrons that we have ... how they love dogs is just extremely rewarding."

Another thing that is special about Fido's? Dogs and their owners can enjoy a meal together. For humans, there's an array of dog-themed food to choose from. For your furry friend, there's the doggy mash, a gourmet mashup of brown rice, chicken, peanut butter and teriyaki sauce.

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Dogs and their owners can eat at Fido's!Laura Spotteck

Helping people connect with dogs is most meaningful to Porter, who says his pets saved his life.

"My own dogs helped me through some pretty severe depression. They were extremely loving and attentive to me. And they understood that I was going through some tough times."

That unexplainable joy that Porter's own dogs provided is now what he witnesses when patrons interact with the adoptable dogs.

Scott's dog was instrumental in his battle against depression. Laura Spotteck

"People often times will step into the room. And they'll get dogs in their arm. And they just break down sobbing because of that connection."