Sunday, May 13, 2007

A dog friendly template for us to follow!

I found this article and is it a doozy!

SHOPPING WITH FIDO | Call these places four-legged friendlyStores go to the dogs and keep their customers happy
Canine companions are restricted at City Market, but the Plaza and elsewhere make them feel wanted.
The Kansas City Star

For thirsty pets, Tivol on the Country Club Plaza is ready. Dogs can go ahead and turn up their tails at the City Market’s recently instituted pet ban.

Farther south, one of Kansas City’s premier shopping districts has put out the welcome mat.

Dogs can stroll the Country Club Plaza, and several shops invite them to stop in. The Tivol jewelry store even has a “doggie bar,” a granite-based outdoor water bowl with a spigot for fresh water, that opened last weekend with doggie treats and cake.

Americans spend $38.5 million annually on their pets, and many owners expect shops to make pets as welcome as children.

Plaza resident Liz Braden takes her shih tzu Pamela to visit Plaza stores about once a week and often shops during the trips.

“I drop the leash when I go in the door at Halls and tell her to find her friend Lisa; she runs around the store until she finds her, then she visits other employees,” Braden said.

Kansas City ordinance requires dogs to be on a leash.

Function Junction has a welcome sign for pets, which have included everything from twin Siamese cats in a special stroller to enormous Newfoundland dogs. Glassware is kept high to prevent mishaps from a wagging tail. The rubber floor is made from recycled tires and is easy to clean when pups can’t make it to the fire hydrant. (The Health Department doesn’t regulate operations that sell prepackaged food.)

Other retailers is the area also welcome dogs.

SRO Video in Waldo puts out a fresh water bowl inside the store and also hands out dog treats.

Stuff in Brookside not only welcomes visiting dogs, but also has two dogs on staff. They serve as greeters. Each dog — pets of the owners — works a different shift and has its own people groupies who stop by to visit.

“We want people to feel comfortable, and we know how important everyone’s pets are in their lives,” said Casey Simmons, who owns the shop with her sister, Sloane Simmons. “It creates a more homier, friendly environment.”The Legends at Village West in Kansas City, Kan., is pet-friendly and works with a group that will bring dogs to the center to become more socialized.

Leawood’s Town Center Plaza, meanwhile, does not have a pet policy. Dogs often are seen at the shopping center’s concert series, art shows and other events, but they rarely show up at regular shopping times.

Aspen Grove, an outdoor shopping center in Littleton, Colo., may have the ultimate pet-friendly approach. Along with water bowls throughout the mall and free dog treats, the Gap, Victoria’s Secret and other stores sell dog clothes and accessories.

Later this month the mall will hold “Bow Wow Vows,” a mass dog wedding ceremony that may break a world record. For pooches without partners, a speed-dating session will be held beforehand.

Some shopping areas turn up their noses at the four-legged visitors.

Three-year-old Zona Rosa in the Northland banned pets from the beginning, citing safety concerns and the comfort of its customers and guests. But it makes exceptions, including the Easter Parade and a special doggie ice cream social held in conjunction with Cold Stone Creamery a couple of years ago.

Pet owners taking their dogs to the City Market might be handed a flier asking them to leave their pets at home during their next trip.

Market management cited several reasons for starting the policy earlier this year: the number of pets in the market sheds and concession areas; owners not cleaning up after their pets; aggressive behavior and dog-bite incidents; and the number of people taking their dogs into food operations in violation of city health codes.

Some shoppers praised the move, but others complained, pointing out that people sometimes are not so well-behaved, even relieving themselves where they shouldn’t.

Downtown resident Ashley Smith liked trekking a couple of blocks to the market to walk her bichon frise pup Kosmo. She understands a ban for unruly dogs, but the well-behaved dogs add to the friendly atmosphere of the market.

“I’m a single-dog parent, so if he’s not with me, he’s home alone,” Smith said. “I’m more likely to stay and shop and spend money if he is with me.”

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