« Pets

Pets: Bring 'em or leave 'em?

by Ken Lanphear

While at the Farmers Market this past weekend, I noticed someone shopping with a small dog on a leash.  Now, the Farmers Market in Kalamazoo banned dogs from the shopping area a couple of years ago, but it got me thinking about pets and taking them out in public.

It seems more and more businesses are looking to be "pet-friendly", allowing pet owners to bring their dogs on a leash into their establishments, recognizing how many people love to bring their pets along with them on shopping excursions.  Many hotels and the like are also becoming more accommodating to pets and pet owners, hoping that being pet-friendly will lead to a loyal, returning customer. 

One of the best in this area is Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City.  They have a separate "hotel" for pets on the grounds of the resort, with comfortable accommodations for pets and staffed around the clock to attend to the pets while the owners stayed elsewhere in the resort.

But, such a policy may not work everywhere.  In a Farmers Market or a food establishment in general, patrons may find pets to be a nuisance or even a danger with food close at hand.  And, many suffer from pet allergies, which could certainly discourage customers from a store.  And, others just flat out aren't dog people.

So, while there are places where pets obviously don't belong, pet owners who like having their dogs part of as many activities as possible welcome the more accepting attitudes found in many business establishments.