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The Hop welcomes dogs to socialize over ice cream

Emma Shock 
A&F Staff Writer
[email protected]
As October approaches its end, scoops of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry continue to fill ice cream dishes in the traditions of summer, waiting for spoons and tongues to scrape the bottoms for lingering drops.  
The Hop will host a doggie ice cream social as a fundraiser for Brother Wolf and the Asheville Humane Society from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and will take place at The Hop Ice Creamery on Haywood Road.
Greg Garrison and his wife Ashley became the owners of The Hop in 2008 after working there since 2003 as students at UNC Asheville. In 2009 and 2010, they hosted the socials at The Hop on Merrimon until the number of dogs and owners attending outgrew the location, calling for a larger space for guests to socialize in.
The Hop Ice Creamery opened in 2015 with the production location, tasting room, birthday party and field trip space. The new addition provides a better outdoor event space for hosting the socials, Garrison said.  

The Hop keeps dog ice cream in stock at all times. It’s recipe for dog ice cream utilizes peanut butter, bananas and yogurt. Photo by Nick Haseloff.

“The reason we originally wanted to reach out to the dog-loving community was because we wanted for people with dogs to feel like they could come and hang out,” Garrison said. “We have great patio areas at both stores where well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome and now we have a new, even bigger space for them to play and interact in.”
Along with the ice cream for human guests, Garrison said Happy Tails Ice Cream, which the menus at The Hop on Merrimon and The Hop West always feature, will be available for dogs at the event.
Garrison said the socials were held on Fridays in the past, but the coming social will be on a Thursday. Starting in March 2018, he plans to host all doggie ice cream socials on the last Thursday of every month.
Jackie Teeple, marketing and art director for Brother Wolf, said The Hop has been a great partner of Brother Wolf for many years, catering its events as well as holding fundraisers for it and other animal rescue groups.
“I love that The Hop considers our four-legged friends as family members and holds these events so folks can bring the whole family out to enjoy a treat together,” Teeple said. “These sorts of events really strengthen the ties between people and their pets and allow dogs to meet new doggie friends in a fun, neutral environment.”
Brother Wolf tries to partner with local businesses whenever possible to  provide opportunities to promote animals for adoption and for both parties to meet new people, Teeple said.
Garrison said The Hop also collaborates with local organizations and businesses when it can, including creating flavors specifically for UNCA. It also creates beer ice creams for many breweries and cideries in the area.  
“In this city, there is a great sense of working together as small business owners that it’s almost impossible not to work with each other,” Garrison said.
Although some socials have been somewhat hindered by weather, Garrison said attendance has still been great. Providing a space where dogs can hang out together over the course of the night makes it worthwhile.  
Courtney Maloney volunteers with Brother Wolf at adoption events and special events such as VeganFest.
“I try to support Brother Wolf in any way I can,” Maloney said. “They do so much for the animals in our community and also help rescue animals in disaster areas, such as after the hurricanes. Plus, the ice cream social is at The Hop, so it will be supporting two local businesses. Ice cream and puppies together make for a great event!”
Garrison said seeing owners and their dogs enjoying themselves in an environment created especially for them is one of his favorite parts of the socials. People and dogs of all ages have the freedom to come and enjoy ice cream together.
“It’s great to be able to provide that sort of a space for all people in any of our locations and now at the Creamery, it can really include dog owners in a more unique way,” Garrison said.

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