January 21, 2020

Winnipeg
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Dog days of summer, indeed

Growing number of Winnipeg stores, patios welcoming canine companions

When Sheala O’Brien moved to Winnipeg from Toronto, she was surprised at how few dogs she saw on the street — and in stores.

"So, as I strolled and explored my new neighbourhood, she came inside with me," O’Brien said.

Lawrence Medel photo</p><p>Lawrence Medel brings his one year old Shiba named Lupe Akamaru everywhere.</p>

Lawrence Medel photo

Lawrence Medel brings his one year old Shiba named Lupe Akamaru everywhere.

"She" is Lucy, her 15-year-old Siberian husky-English bulldog cross. Lucy doesn’t like to stay home alone, she said.

But thanks to dog lovers such as Lawrence Medel, more stores are rolling out the welcome mat for shoppers’ canine companions.

"Definitely a lot more local places have been more accepting of our furry friends coming through the doors," said Medel, who takes his year-and-a-half-old Shiba Inu named Lupe everywhere. "You never really used to see that I try to bring him to as many places that I’m legally allowed to."

Those places include Outlet Collection mall, where dogs are allowed, as long as they’re carried. Medel says he always asks at individual stores if it’s OK to take Lupe inside.

Some Winnipeg retailers where dogs are welcome

 Jacobs Trading

 Tiny Feast

 Windsor Plywood

 Pink Flamingo

 Peavey Mart

Jacobs Trading

Tiny Feast

Windsor Plywood

Pink Flamingo

Peavey Mart

The Hive Salon

Indigo/Chapters

Winners

Princess Auto

Canadian Tire — varies by store

Home Hardware in Selkirk, Stonewall

Pet Valu and other pet stores

Outlet Collection Winnipeg mall (as long as dog is carried)

"I see Lupe as more than just a pet — he’s part of me," Medel said. "I want to maximize the amount of time I spend with him."

There’s been a surge in interest in people taking their pets shopping, said Tegan Jacobs, co-owner at Jacobs Trading, a Transcona rock and crystal shop. "We didn’t even realize the interest until we posted it on Facebook. (Customers are) so happy that there’s a place for them to shop with their animals.

"We’re all pet owners, as business owners, so we understand it’s sometimes nice to take your pet along. It’s nice to be able to have places to shop that you can go with your dog and not have to worry about what you’re going to do with them because, obviously, you’re not going to leave them in the car."

Jacobs, who has three cats and a dog, said there’s often a dog at the shop or warehouse.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Windsor Plywood manager and owner Melissa Johner and her lab cross rescue dog Castiel.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Windsor Plywood manager and owner Melissa Johner and her lab cross rescue dog Castiel.

"They’re part of your family, right? Why would you want to leave them at home all day?"

Many stores, such as Tiny Feast, which sells stationery in the Exchange District, don’t have formal policies.

"We are simply happy to invite in any well-behaved pets," said co-owner Danika Bock. "Of course we understand not everyone loves animals, so we just try to maintain a safe and respectful atmosphere for all our customers, first and foremost."

The biggest selection of dog-friendly stores appears to be in the city’s home-improvement sector.

"We don’t like dogs sitting in cars while people are shopping, so bring ‘em on in," Nathan Back, who works in sales at Windsor Plywood’s Century Street location.

Melissa Johner, the building-materials store’s manager, said that location and the one on Main Street posted signs a decade ago letting customers know that dogs were welcome inside. The Pembina location joined the pack sometime after that.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Tegan Jacobs, co-owner of Jacobs Trading, with pups Vinny and Valentino at the pet-friendly store in Winnipeg.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Tegan Jacobs, co-owner of Jacobs Trading, with pups Vinny and Valentino at the pet-friendly store in Winnipeg.

"It’s primarily to benefit the animals, but I’m not going to lie," Johner said. "We just really enjoy meeting everyone’s pets."

Some local pup-friendly patios

 Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria

 Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar

 Fionn MacCool’s

 Little Brown Jug Brewing Co.

Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria

Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar

Fionn MacCool’s

Little Brown Jug Brewing Co.

Stone Angel Brewing Co.

The Forks Common outdoor patio

Forth Cafe

Sana Soup House

North Star Drive-In

One Great City Brewing Co. (Sundays)

And it’s not just dogs. All Manitoba Peavey Marts are pet-friendly, the modern-day general store chain’s marketing director Jest Sidloski said.

"For some fun, we’ve had pigs, rabbits, parrots and goats brought in," Sidloski said.

Although Lupe is very friendly and loves people, it’s important to know if your dog has the right personality to meet the adoring public, Medel said. And he understands not everyone loves dogs, and that some people want to keep their distance.

"Just be respectful and mindful of others," he said.

tvanderhart@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @tessavanderhart

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