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Five questions with Megan Casey and Jamie Lamb of Paws & Pints, a ‘doggy Disneyland’ in DSM


Megan and Kyle Casey with their four dogs at their home in Norwalk, Iowa. — via Paws and Pints on Instagram

Des Moines dog-owners have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Paws & Pints, an indoor-outdoor dog park complete with a bar, grooming center, doggie daycare, and restaurant that serves food for both humans and pups.

Little Village sat down with co-owner, Megan Casey, and marketing director, Jamie Lamb, ahead of the soft opening of the park in August and grand opening planned for late September.

How did the idea of Paws and Pints come to be?

Megan: My husband, Kyle, and I have been on the pursuit of Paws & Pints for about five years. We travel a lot with our dogs and when our female Bernese Mountain Dog was little, we ended up in Denver, Colorado on a work trip. She was with us, we stumbled across a dog-bar concept. And from there, kind of decided that we could take it to the next level and really create a doggy Disneyland, if you want to call it that, with all things under one roof for dogs. And it’s been a journey since then, with COVID and finding investors and bankers and business partners. We’re happy and lucky that we’re here today.

Jamie: One thing that Kyle and Megan say a lot, too — it’s like bringing the dog community together, as well as all of the needs you have as a dog owner.

A digital rendering of the future Paws and Pints “Stray Bar”

How did you decide Des Moines was a good place for this concept?

Megan: Oh, we lived here. We had jobs here. We had dogs here and friends here and family here. And I guess truthfully, I never really considered putting it anywhere else to begin with. This was home. I mean, Des Moines is a very dog-loving community as a whole. There’s not a lot of things you can do with your dogs. So we really saw it as the perfect place. I mean, when you start to look at just the market research, the statistics will tell you, the dogs in Des Moines are present. You know, the dog owners are willing to spend money on their dogs. It’s a young, growing community. Truthfully, we drove past that piece of land for so long that eventually we were like, well, we wanted space. We wanted somebody coming from Indianola to easily be able to get to us. We liked being on the backside of the airport; it makes it easy when dropping your dogs off when traveling.

I will also say that this is not the only Paws & Pints we’re planning to build. Our business partners are young, we’re all entrepreneurs. We kind of said, we want to hire a stellar core team who wants to grow this because I have no intentions of putting this much work into it just to build one.

You have a more intense entry process than your average dog park. Can you speak to why that is?

Megan: Yeah, I mean the ultimate goal of the dog park was to create a safer, cleaner, more enjoyable [dog park], you know, more things to do for the dogs and the humans. So from the human perspective, we’ll have live music, we’ll have a walking trail, we’ll have seating areas, we’ve got a life-sized chess board, we’ll have games, you know, obviously a full-service bar and restaurant. And then from the dog perspective, it’s a temperament test. And “test” isn’t really the correct word because it’s not a true test. But I’m a dog mom of three dogs now, and I’ve been at the city dog parks where, quote, unquote, shit has hit the fan. And we don’t really want that. The goal of Paws & Pints was for that to not happen. So we’re ensuring that vaccinations are up to date. Records are checked. Everybody’s signing a waiver at the door that you’re basically holding yourself, as the human, responsible for the actions of your dog.

Everything is done through an app. So you can go to the app store and download the Paws & Pints app. From there, that’s where you’ll do everything. So it’s kind of the accountability factor. So it’s clean, it’s safe — we’re playing on turf. We canine-turfed the indoor and outdoor part of the dog park. So in the summer, we’ll have water features. In the winter, it’ll be the only green grass in Des Moines.

So that was the ultimate goal: more things for the dogs to do, more things for the humans, and accountability on all fronts.

What is your crew focused on right now as opening day approaches this summer?

Megan: Everything. Hiring, working on menus — about July 8th there will be a large crew of people putting furniture together, bathing tubs together, making sure technology works. We start staff training. We’ll do three weeks of soft openings, so planning what those look like. Grand opening’s the end of September. Lining up music. I don’t know, Jamie has so many things to do — she probably can’t keep her head on straight.

Jamie: Yeah, a lot of just getting the word out and making sure people know and keeping people informed. It’s like Megan mentioned, it’s been a huge project for so many years. We have so many loyal followers who are so excited and just ask us, we get the question every day, “When are we opening? When can I come in? When can I make reservations?” So it’s just keeping everybody in the loop so nobody feels like it’s not coming. It is, it’s almost there.

Do you have dogs? Tell us about them!

Megan: We have three. We lost a comrade two weeks ago: my cavalier, Bentley, was 11. He went to doggy heaven and joined some of our other furry friends. So currently living in my house — the reason behind Paws & Pints — is Kora. She is a 5-year-old Bernese mountain dog. She likes all the human pets. She’s kind of like a grandma somedays so I’m not sure she cares about the dogs as much. Then we have a shar pei named Murphy. Murphy is 4. He’s a classic shar pei: he’s independent, he likes to chase squirrels. He’ll be found at Paws & Pints when the dog park is not full of everybody else’s dogs. He’s very social, he’s just not a fan of all the people. And then the youngest in our squad and the largest at 100 pounds and 11 months is Myers. He’s a Bernese mountain dog, too. He is actually Kora’s nephew. He can’t wait for Paws &a Pints and neither can we because instead of wanting to dig holes in my backyard, he can hang out with his best friends everyday.

Jamie: I just have one. She’s a red lab and her name is Ruby. She’s just over a year old. And she’s a pointing lab so she has a lot of energy. She needs something to do that’s not during hunting season. So her and Myers will probably just run around the dog park. All day, everyday.

Paws & Pints has not yet announced a date for their grand opening. You can follow them on Instagram or become a member on their website to receive updates.


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