September 24, 2018

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Man's best patio friend

More restaurants welcome dogs and owners to dine in outdoor spaces together

The dog days of summer have arrived on Winnipeg patios.

As you sip your spritzer, drink your draft or slurp your sundae, you might notice the table next to you includes customers of the four-legged variety with their human companions.

Patios that are furry-friend friendly are becoming more common at city restaurants, bars and other snack shops as more business owners are discovering there’s no city bylaw or provincial regulation prohibiting pets on patios.

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The dog days of summer have arrived on Winnipeg patios.

As you sip your spritzer, drink your draft or slurp your sundae, you might notice the table next to you includes customers of the four-legged variety with their human companions.

Patios that are furry-friend friendly are becoming more common at city restaurants, bars and other snack shops as more business owners are discovering there’s no city bylaw or provincial regulation prohibiting pets on patios.

“I think there’s probably some misinformation but some people could be using that as a tool make it easy to enforce a rule that might otherwise be unpopular.” -Forth manager Ben Jones

"There is kind of a misconception and lots of restaurant owners think you can’t have dogs on the patio," said Rebekah Grisim, general manager of Little Brown Jug Brewing Company, where dogs are welcome on its patio.

Grisim said the brewery’s owner, Kevin Selch, looked into restrictions for pets in outdoor spaces at restaurants and found none.

Kevin Selch, owner of Little Brown Jug, and his dog, Penny, soak up the sun on the craft brewery';s pet-friendly patio in the Exchange District. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

Kevin Selch, owner of Little Brown Jug, and his dog, Penny, soak up the sun on the craft brewery';s pet-friendly patio in the Exchange District. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

"In some places, it might make sense not to (allow pets on patios) but I’m under the impression that most people think there is a bylaw against it," Grisim said.

The City of Winnipeg and province confirmed there are no restrictions banning pets at outdoor spaces.

Mike LeBlanc, manager of the health protection unit with Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, said no animals other than service animals can be inside a restaurant but there are no such concerns with patio spaces.

LeBlanc noted restaurants may have their own policies so pet owners should check with management before bringing a pet to a patio.

Forth manager Ben Jones said pets aren’t allowed on its rooftop patio because the only access is through the restaurant, but people are encouraged to bring their pets to its ground-floor patio.

"(There are) no regulations around it and it’s at the discretion of the business owners," Jones said. "I think there’s probably some misinformation but some people could be using that as a tool make it easy to enforce a rule that might otherwise be unpopular."

Furry-friend patio rules

Rules of engagement for dogs at patios can vary, so check with your favourite establishment before dropping in with Fido.  Here are the rules for canine customers on Forth's Puppy Patio Sundays:

Rules of engagement for dogs at patios can vary, so check with your favourite establishment before dropping in with Fido.  Here are the rules for canine customers on Forth's Puppy Patio Sundays:

Dogs must be on their leashes at all times.

If your dog starts to cut loose and get a bit out of hand, please head over to the park -- they don’t want to be on a patio.

Any messes will need to be cleaned up immediately. Preferably your dog has been walked and done its business prior to hanging out with us, but things happen!

You don’t have to have a dog; the patio is open to all and all are welcome — dog lovers and otherwise.

Dog treats and bowls of water are provided for four-legged furry friends at Forth in the Exchange. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Dog treats and bowls of water are provided for four-legged furry friends at Forth in the Exchange. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Jones said Forth encourages its visitors to be mindful of their dogs’ needs.

"If the dogs don’t feel comfortable, take them for a walk. We don’t want anyone to force an animal to be in this space," Jones said. "A good way to know if your animal is being forced to be in this space is if they seem aggressive or unhappy. In that case, just move a long and no harm, no foul."

Grisim said Little Brown Jug’s patio was designed with dogs in mind with hooks for leashes and water bowls.

"We love having dogs on our patio. We’ve been doing that since we built it last summer," said Grisim. "We’re all dog owners, everyone who works here, so we usually have some of our dogs around here. We’ve posted it on our social media that we encourage people to bring down their pups and hang out on the patio."

Pets are welcome on the patio at Chaeban Ice Cream on Osborne Street, marketing director Kristi Nikkel said.

The ice cream shop, which opened six months ago, even offers pricing for dog-sized ice cream treats.

"... I just posted about it (on Instagram last week) and everyone went crazy saying how great it is," said Nikkel.

Little Brown Jug owner Kevin Scelch's dog, Penny, on the patio of the establishment. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Little Brown Jug owner Kevin Scelch's dog, Penny, on the patio of the establishment. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

"We feel like if you’re welcoming all members of the family, paws included, more people are going to be open to coming. If people are walking by and they’re with their dogs, nothing is stopping them from coming in and grabbing a treat to cool down."

Jones said dogs are always welcome but Forth is holding Puppy Patio Sundays each week of the summer until Sept. 30.

"It’s really a nice community-building opportunity. A lot of people who have dogs, it’s a good way for them to meet one another. For people who don’t have dogs, it’s a chance to go spend some time around them. It’s a little mix-and-mingle where the pets are meeting each other and the people who own the pets are also meeting each other," Jones said.

Fundraising has also gone to the dogs on patios.

In partnership with Winnipeg Giant Breed Rescue, Little Brown Jug will host its second Pints & Puppies fundraising event of the summer on Aug. 18. For a $5 donation, people can sit on the patio, pat puppies and enjoy one of the craft brewery’s beverages. All dogs at the event are available for adoption.

The first fundraiser on June 2 raised $1,600.

Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery will host Barks and Brews on July 14 in partnership with Central Paws Dog Rescue. Volunteers will bring adoptable dogs to the patio to visit with the customers and donations will be accepted.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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