This spring, you don’t have to leave the dog at home

Local places encourage owners to exercise, shop with their pets

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published April 17, 2019

 Diamond, a sheltie from Clinton Township, likes to shop at the Three Dog Bakery  at the Mall at Partridge Creek each time his owner, Dawn Bayer, brings him along.

Diamond, a sheltie from Clinton Township, likes to shop at the Three Dog Bakery at the Mall at Partridge Creek each time his owner, Dawn Bayer, brings him along.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

METRO DETROIT — After the long, dreary days of winter, people may not be the only ones experiencing cabin fever — dogs have been cooped up too.

Once the sunshine breaks through and the temperatures start to rise, people may be looking for any excuse to get out and about, taking their four-legged companions along.

Erin Ballinger, the destinations editor of BringFido.com, said that more people are looking to travel with their pets and to bring their dogs around town because it makes them feel safer — and feel less guilty than they would if they had left their dog at home. BringFido.com is a dog travel directory that provides reviews, pet policy information and online reservations at pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals, as well as pet-friendly activities, events, restaurants and stores where someone can bring their dog.

“More and more pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family,” Ballinger said in an email interview. “Since people are working so much, they want to spend their free time with their pets.”

She said that dogs can also be social ice-breakers, helping their owners to make friends at dog parks and at dog-friendly venues. Seventy-five percent of Americans in their 30s have a dog, compared with half of the overall population, according to a survey by the research firm Mintel.  

“All of these pets owned by childless, active young people also attributes to why more and more people are choosing to bring Fido along,” Ballinger said.

At the open-air Mall at Partridge Creek, located on Hall Road in Clinton Township, dogs are allowed in many of the stores, and there are water dishes and pet waste bags scattered throughout to encourage dog owners to come, walk and shop with their pets.

Dawn Bayer, of Clinton Township, said her sheltie, Diamond, knows the mall by name and gets excited whenever they get ready to go. She said the mall is great, even in the winter, because the sidewalks are heated.

“His breed requires a lot of exercise,” she said. “This is his hangout. We kind of have a routine.”

Diamond’s routine includes the Three Dog Bakery, where owner Chad Konzen said that both dogs and owners alike love that they can be together and shop.

“It’s a great experience for the dogs and the owners to be together and have a place for themselves,” he said of the mall.

Bayer said that another benefit of coming to the mall is that she doesn’t have to worry about poor lighting or dodging traffic.

Catherine Ellis, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said she enjoys the mall because it gives her an opportunity to socialize her puppy.

“She gets used to different people and places. It’s good for me not to have to leave her home,” said Ellis, who was at the Mall at Partridge Creek with her golden retriever puppy, Maizey, April 9.

Sometimes dog aficionados are just looking for a place where their pooch can get off-leash and run with other dogs. Several dog parks have been created in local municipalities across metro Detroit for just that purpose.

Emily Minna, the recreation coordinator for the Clinton Township Parks and Recreation Department, said the Clinton Township Dog Park, on the grounds of the Clinton Township Civic Center at 40700 Romeo Plank Road, opened in 2001 and has grown in popularity since then.

“Dogs have become like family members to people,” she said. “We keep adding new things to our park as well.”

There is a water fountain for humans and one for the dogs, picnic tables, benches, a “funbrella,” an agility apparatus and grass in the park.

“We really do have a really nice grass park,” Minna said.

About 650 dogs were registered for the park in 2018. It is accessible with a key fob after owners register their canine, show proof of vaccination and licensing, and pay a fee.

“People are definitely wanting to bring their dogs places with them and doing more for their dogs as well,” Minna said.

In St. Clair Shores, the Statler Maloof Dog Park, located inside Brys Park, 20700 Brys Drive, is also accessible via a key fob. In addition to paying a fee and providing proof of licensing and vaccination, prospective members have to take a one-time etiquette class, which Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman said smooths out a lot of the issues between park members.

The park is separated into areas for large dogs and small dogs.

“It’s a time for those dogs to socialize with other dogs, and — probably more important — it’s a great chance for the owners to socialize with people who have the same passion,” Bowman said.

Other local dog parks include Mark Twain Dog Park, 4600 N. Campbell Road in Royal Oak; Behnke Memorial Dog Park, 300 N. Groesbeck Highway in Mount Clemens; Red Oaks Dog Park, 31353 Dequindre Road in Madison Heights; and Anne Fracassa Memorial Dog Park, 7000 E. 12 Mile Road in Warren. Most parks require prior registration before use but accept those who are not residents of their communities as well.

For a list of local dog-friendly activities, visit www.bringfido.com/attraction/city/detroit_mi_us.

For many pet owners, being able to bring their dog with them wherever they go is important to them.

Adrianna Ridella, of Macomb Township, recently rescued her 16-year-old Chihuahua, Choo Choo, from Texas. She brings him to the Mall at Partridge Creek for small periods of time to get him acclimated to bigger crowds.

“We’re inseparable,” she said. “He’s helped me more than I think I’ve helped him.”