National Dog Day is Aug. 26: Do we need more dog-friendly businesses?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 26, 2013 

My dog hangs out at Maltitude in downtown Columbus.

Bring out the pet treats: Today (Aug. 26) is National Dog Day.

Pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige founded the holiday in 2004, according to its official website. The holiday "serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort," it notes.

I adopted my dog, Bailey, approximately a month after moving to Columbus seven years ago. Since then, I've watched Columbus develop an even greater emphasis on pet-related activities and responsible pet ownership.

Multiple rescue organizations are present in our community. Columbus recently held its first Furry 5K race, which was specifically designed for dogs and their owners. And thankfully, it seems like we're seeing more pet waste disposal bag stations around town.

The next step? Maybe it's time for more dog-friendly businesses.

The suggestion coincides with my first visit to Maltitude, the new beer and wine store in downtown Columbus.

It was Sunday afternoon, and I had no desire to buy beer. That is, until I saw this update on Maltitude's Facebook page: "Just a heads up while you're out enjoying (your) Sunday afternoon....we are dog friendly & open from 1-6!"

Dog-friendly? You mean, my dog can help me create my own six-pack? Suddenly, the idea got a lot more appealing. So I took my dog to the downtown RiverWalk and we made an afternoon out of it.

I can't help wondering if more businesses should think the same way.

Of course, making a food-oriented venue dog-friendly is an entirely different ballgame. My dog wasn't exactly jumping up to grab a beer out of anyone's hands. By making a business dog-friendly, an owner inevitably risks alienating potential customers who might be afraid of dogs.

When we're talking about restaurants, "pet-friendly" can mean a variety of things. It generally pertains to pet-friendly seating in an outdoor area. The local whitewater course has led to more businesses with outdoor seating and now it's common to see people dining with their pets outside.

Dining options aside, there's also the topic of companies that regularly let employees bring their pets to work. A recent article in USA Today explains: "According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol."

Discussion time: Would you like to see more dog-friendly businesses in Columbus?

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