Dating can be anxiety inducing, but having your best furry mate by your side can help to ease the nerves.

“They really bring so much good energy,” says The Social Dog Company owner Tatum Brown, whose Dating with Dogs event will soon come to Melbourne after stints in Sydney and Canberra.

Dating with Dogs is an opportunity to bring your dog along for an afternoon of mingling, games and doggo-themed cocktails. Your dog will have a good time, too. Dog-friendly doughnuts, cupcakes and cakes are available, and there’s even a complimentary vet check at the event. The dog-themed cocktail menu includes the Moscow Mutt made with vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. And there’s an Espresso Paw-Tini and a Canine Cosmo.

“It’s like a day-drinking dog park,” says Brown.

Each event usually attracts around 40 to 60 people, and Brown says about half of the attendees don’t bring a dog. The event is left open to allow people who need to leave their anti-social dogs at home, or those who are unable to own a dog, the freedom to attend.

This first event is for straight dating, but future events will be organised for the LGBTQI+ community. And instead of a speed-dating model, attendees mingle as they wish, or you can compete in short and fun challenges if you need help getting a conversation started.

The Social Dog Company supports pet-rescue groups. A portion of ticket sales from each Dating with Dogs event is donated to organisations such as deaf dog rescue group Hear No Evil, Canberra-based Best Friends Pet Rescue and full-breed specialists Staffy Rescue.

Brown wants to focus on local or smaller dog rescue groups and shelters. “I just wanted to help the underdog, so it’s mainly those ones that I target,” she says.

The first Melbourne-based Dating with Dogs event will be held at the National Hotel in Richmond. A portion of the funds raised will be donated to All 4 Paws Dog Rescue, which works to rescue dogs of all ages and sizes from pounds and surrenders.

Dating with Dogs takes place at the National Hotel on July 13. Tickets here.