Drinking beer with your best friend.

It doesn’t get much better than that ­— but it can be a problem if your best friend is banned from most bars.

Big dogs. Little dogs. Red dogs. Blue dogs. All are welcome at the dog-friendly beer garden at today’s PawtoberFest hosted by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. It continues until 4 p.m.

Several hundred people turned out earlier to run with the dogs and knock back some cold ones at the agency’s first event of this type.

“We’re calling it a whole new breed of dog festival,” spokeswoman Ann Davenport said. “It just sort of struck me: Wouldn’t it be fun to combine two of my favorite things, really good beer and dogs?”

The event, expected to raise $10,000, kicked off with a K9-5K fun run. About 150 six-legged people/pet duos took to the sidewalks of downtown for the hour-long jaunt.

Sean Murphy and his two Siberian Huskies were at the head of the pack.

“The dogs think we’re practicing all year long for this one day,” he said. “They put forth an extra effort. They could tell.”

After the run, it was time for the humans to lap up some suds from Bristol Brewing Co. The dogs got water.

The fest, held at the Nosh patio and Alamo Square Park by the Pioneers Museum, included music, micro-chipping, food, pet contests and demonstrations.

About 20 vendors offered dog massages to bobbing for hot dogs.

“Just about everybody has treats. They are going to get treated-out,” said Karl Mickelson, accompanied by his two dogs. “I’m enjoying the doggie company.”

For banker Shannon Mateer, it was a rare chance to bring her dog to work.

As Mateer handed out goodie bags at the Bank of Colorado table, Belle, a plucky boxer-mix, went from taking a drink to taking a full-body dip in a big water bowl.

“Can you see her in a bank?” Mateer said.

Those who didn’t have dogs made do.

“I borrowed Figo,” said Caitlin Peters of the furry running partner on loan from a friend.

Figo lounged at Peters’ feet while she sipped an ale.

“It’s the best part of Colorado,” she said. “Run a 5K, have a beer and have dogs around.”

PawtoberFest continues until 4 p.m. today at the Nosh patio, 121 S. Tejon St., and the adjacent Alamo Square Park by Pioneers Museum.

Grant Sabin, a local blues musician, will perform until 4 p.m.

Call the writer at 636-0253.



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