[Article by North Bend resident, longtime pet trainer and owner of Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs]
Way back in January 2015 – after reading an argument on Facebook about dogs in malls – I wrote an article detailing where you can take your pet in the area . Three years later we’re having the same argument on Facebook, except this time the beef is with dogs in grocery stores. So I decided to revisit the topic.
After taking a VERY non-scientific poll on a local Facebook group, I found the majority of people don’t mind seeing dogs in some businesses but not all: a middling group who would rather see our pooches stay home all of the time and then a small group of kooks (myself included) says – “Bring it on!” – dogs everywhere!
In my 2015 article, it was around Christmas and people were noticing a rise in dogs in a local mall. While I’m fairly certain this had something to do with canine Santa visits, at the time it got me thinking about where you can and cannot take dogs in the area – and what the rules are for certain places in Washington state.
Full disclosure…if I had it my way we would be more like France and dogs could go everywhere. Personally, I’d rather see Fido in the mall than finding some toddler there. But remember, I am a childless dog trainer. To me, a dog in a shopping cart at your local grocery store is not a big deal.
However, as much as we see it, it is against the law. Per state statute, with the exception of service animals, pets are not allowed in eating and/or drinking establishments (nor grocery stores).
A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service dogs in public places such as restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels. Contrary to common belief, the ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. There are two questions allowable under the law that can be asked to determine if the dog (and in rare cases mini horses) is in fact a service animal.
- is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.
Service animals may only be excluded from a business if they are out of control and/or not housebroken.
An emotional support animal is one that a medical professional has determined would benefit a person with a disability. They do not have to be dogs and are not trained with any particular task unlike other service animals. While they do have some protection under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, they are not covered under the ADA and do not have full public access.
So, while you may get away with carrying that new puppy into QFC, it is against state statues and could get the store in trouble with the state health department. As far as malls go, it is up to individual malls to make rules regarding animals within their walls. Many malls count pet stores among their tenants and allow animals on a limited basis, but its best to ask about rules before bringing Fido out shopping with you.
So, all this got me thinking about places in the Valley that are dog friendly; places that will allow you to bring your pooch out for a glass of wine (you, NOT the pooch) or who will have a bowl of water ready on a hot summer’s day. I asked the question back in 2015 on social media and got a TON of responses. I did work to confirm these businesses are dog friendly, but again, it’s always best to check before heading out with your pooch.
While restaurants and grocery stores are off-limits for pooches, there are exceptions to that rule. One notable exceptions in the Valley is Sigillo Cellars in Snoqualmie. They are dog friendly and allow you to bring your pooch to wine taste with you. Almost every drive–thru in the valley is known for being dog friendly and most have lots of love and treats for their canine clientele. Wanted Espresso, Huxdotter Coffee and The Daily Grind are the coffee stands most often mentioned as being pooch friendly. While Umpqua, Chase and Sno Valley Credit Union are the banks hailed as treat heaven for mutt banking. Another notable drive thru is the pharmacy at QFC. Les Schwab in North Bend is also leashed dog friendly and I’ve taken my pooch into Jiffy Lube to wait for an oil change.
Nancy, the owner of Birches Habitat is said to be not just dog friendly but, as an employee said “dog crazy” and welcomes pooches in her store (I did call to confirm that one. Me too Nancy, me too) and we all know Pet Place Market and Ace Hardware in North Bend always welcome leashed dogs into their stores. Lastly, the Salish Lodge now has a pampered paws program for the fancy dogs among us.
Just remember, if you do decide to take your dog into one of our welcoming local establishments, make sure your dog behaves appropriately. Taking your dog in public is not a right, but a privilege. Let’s help make sure pup-friendly businesses continue to allow our canine companions for many years to come!