The Ruff-est Bar in Texas

Where everyone knows your (dog’s) name

The Watering Bowl


Every good businessperson needs a guiding mission. Leslie Paetschow (’12 BA, Anthropology) has a good one: She wants to “pet all the dogs.” Every day at The Watering Bowl, an outdoor dog park and bar that she owns and operates in South Austin, is an opportunity to do just that.


As “barktender” and “rufferee” at the park, Paetschow gets to see dogs of all sorts during her work week. The dogs, she admits, were pretty much the whole point when she first got the idea for The Watering Bowl. Then, she was spending most of her free time with her energetic puppy, Shiner, helping him run out his energy through daily 6-mile runs followed by two hours at the local dog park.

“One Saturday, I thought to myself, ‘I would pay someone so much money to monitor my dog for me if I could sit here and relax with a beer while I watch him be silly,’” she says. “I was 24 at the time and pretty broke, so for me to say I would give all my money to a concept like that, my next thought was, ‘Why the heck isn’t that a thing?’”

Inspired, Paetschow threw herself into learning everything she could about starting a business. In October 2021, with the help of her chief dogperations officer, Heather Spearman, she made her dream a reality.

“Seeing the dogs come in so excited to be here, and especially the dogs who come frequently enough to know me and the staff well enough to go right for us to say hello and get love, is so rewarding,” she says. “Their happiness and the love they get from the people at the park remind me every day why I do what I do.”

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