WEST TOWN — It was raining dogs — literally and figuratively — at the season's first "Pup Crawl" in West Town Tuesday.
Held from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday from May 28 to Sept. 3, the weekly crawl is organized by Chicago Canine Concierge and "free of charge to leashed, friendly dogs and their unleashed, friendly owners," according to organizer Tracey Gold.
Even with the gloomy weather and torrential rain pouring down near the "tail-end" of the crawl, the patio at Mahoney's Pub & Grille at 551 N. Ogden Ave. in West Town was packed with just as many dogs as people.
Joe Hernandez, general manager of Mahoney's, said late Tuesday he expects that around $140 will be given to Safe Humane Rescue.
Mahoney's donates 15 percent of its bar sale proceeds from 6 to 8 p.m. to a different rescue operation, shelter or dog park each week. A full-line-up of the crawl's beneficiaries is posted online.
By Hernandez's estimate, around 50 or 60 people showed up for the crawl, bringing about 30 dogs.
Daniel Campos, 31, a machinist from Berwyn, drove into the city with Tom, a Shih Tzu mix.
"It's a cool event. There's not too many places where you can bring your dog and it's a good opportunity for dogs to meet other dogs and dog owners to meet other people," Campos said.
Kyler Laird, a farmer from Rensselaer, Indiana, said he drove about 90 minutes to hang out with friends he knows through the crawl's MeetUp.com group, which has over 200 members and began in 2010.
Though Laird said he's "down to 10 dogs and one cat" on his soybean and corn farm, he elected to bring just two from the canine crew to Mahoney's: Rufus, a large furry Newfoundland and Elle, a Maltese.
For at least one dog at the crawl, a Greyhound named Tucker splayed out on the pavement and napping, oblivious to social opportunities, the event was a chance to perhaps find a permanent home.
River North resident Maliaka Bujo has been fostering Tucker — who's featured on the Greyhounds Only adoption site — for about a month, since the pup was bitten by another dog and needed a place to recover.
"We have a dog of our own but thought we'd bring Tucker instead, get him some visibility," said Bujo, who's fostered seven other greyhounds in the past.
For Addie, a four month old Shepherd mix described by her owner as "super shy," the gathering marked a first visit with other dogs, at least in her new adopted home of Chicago.
Lia Ayala, 30, a banker from the Printer's Row neighborhood, said Addie is a rescue dog from Oklahoma and was adopted Friday from PAWs.
Ayala said she hadn't heard Addie bark at another dog until the crawl.
In addition to Mahoney's Pub & Grill, participating "West Town Pup Crawl" bars include: J. Patrick’s Irish Pub at 1367 W. Erie St.; The Aberdeen Tap at 440 North Aberdeen St.; and The Matchbox at 770 N. Milwaukee Ave.
For more information on each week’s charity and service provider, please visit www.chicagocanineconcierge.com/giving-back/
The crawl also coincides with Mahoney’s Tuesday Trivia Night with a $100 cash prize.