A dog’s life – Some shops cater to pets and their owners | TheUnion.com

A dog’s life – Some shops cater to pets and their owners

Man’s best friends will get a friendly welcome at some western Nevada County businesses if they are small and behave themselves, particularly if they and their owners don’t have to leave the car.

Shoppers appreciate businesses that will accommodate their dogs, but many retailers prefer that Fido remain outside because of liability issues, complaints from customers, and other considerations.

There are exceptions:

• Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Grass Valley will permit dogs in the store if they are small enough to fit in a shopping basket.

• The Washington Mutual Bank on Brunswick Road has dog biscuits waiting for small dogs that accompany their owners into the bank.

• A bone is occasionally available to dogs that accompany their owners through the drive-through lane at McDonald’s in Grass Valley.

• The Outside Inn in Nevada City has welcomed well-behaved dogs for six years, but pets are not going to be allowed in the new honeymoon suite.

• Several restaurants and coffee shops, such as the Flour Garden Bakery on Sutton Way, will put out water for dogs while they wait for their masters to finish a meal or a latte.

Some businesses, such as Scraps Dog Bakery in Grass Valley and The Gray Goose in Nevada City, have dogs on the premises during business hours, and this makes some pet owners feel more welcome.

“I truly enjoy going to a place of business where there is a cat or dog,” said Judy L. Cole of Penn Valley, who owns two dogs, three cats and a canary. “They make it feel comfortable, and I feel welcome.”

Businesses contacted by The Union don’t have formal policies regarding pets but some try to accommodate customers within reason.

Craig McGovern has a lot of items in his Ben Franklin store that can be reduced to debris by a waging tail, but he does make allowances for small dogs.

“It really isn’t a policy we encourage,” he said. “Some clients have little dogs they put in their carts. We’re not really keen on big dogs because there’s too much damage they can do.

“As long as something’s under control, it’s OK. A big tail would be a problem.”

Bear, Gloria Thiele’s 100-pound white German Shepherd, looks forward to her trips to the drive-up window at Washington Mutual because the tellers always have a dog biscuit for him.

“As soon as I pull up, Bear sticks his head out the window over my shoulder and barks to let his presence be known,” Thiele said. “Actually, he starts sniffing the tube as I take it out to put in the deposit.”

Branch manager Michaele Kings said employees have been handing out dog biscuits for at least the 15 years she’s worked there. “We are pet-friendly at this branch,” she said. “It has come to the point where the dogs expect it.”

As you might expect, Scraps Dog Bakery has no problem letting its four-legged patrons into the store. “Customers let their dogs pick out their toys and special treats,” said co-owner Arnette McClure.

She said a lot of dogs visit on Friday and Saturday but there haven’t been any problems. “We ask that they be put on a leash so that there is some control and nobody gets hurt,” she said.

McClure believes businesses are generally not friendly to dogs because of liability and other issues. “Owners would especially like to take their dogs into the bigger places,” she said.

Gary Graff of Accordia Gold Cities Insurance Co. in Grass Valley said that while dogs can be an issue when it comes to homeowners insurance, it hasn’t surfaced at the retail level. “But that could change if there’s a big judgment,” he said.

Visitors get “a rule sheet, a little bone, and a little plastic bag to pick up things” when they register at The Outside Inn in Nevada City with their dogs, according to manager Elaine Martin.

Well-behaved dogs are allowed in every room except one small cabin and the new honeymoon suite for $10 a day. Martin said the policy has been good for business.

“We have repeat business because people know they can stay here with their dogs,” she said. Among the regulars are twin sisters who show up with their twin dogs.

The facility on East Broad Street attracts a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, and many have their dogs with them, Martin said. “We don’t have any size restrictions, but we ask that they be well behaved.

“We (Martin and the owners) are all dog lovers.”

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