We all know stores like Petco and Petsmart welcome our furry friends with open arms. Watching our pets shop for themselves can be relaxing and humorous.
Fergus shopping with his parents at Pet Supplies Plus in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
But sometimes we need human things like jackets, shoes, or toilet paper but still want to hang out with our besties. Maybe we've had a busy week and don't want to leave them alone again. Or maybe the weather is making outdoor excursions an unreasonable or unsafe option. Whatever the reason, the Cedar Valley has some stores that welcome friendly, well-behaved, leashed pets!
Today, I spent some time calling around to confirm that certain "human" stores were indeed pet friendly. If there are others that you're aware of, please let me know and I will update this post!
Now located at 402 Viking Plaza in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Scheels is a sporting goods and clothing store. From running gear to coats to sweatshirts to archery equipment, Scheels is a one-stop shop for outdoor and sports enthusiasts. It is also a great place to take your pup for socialization and to get some good sniffs in. I was surprised to find out that this store was pet friendly considering all the clothing items they have (i.e. my dog will shed on all the things) but I got a very welcoming "Yep, they just need to be leashed!" when I called to confirm Ruger would be welcome. One caveat I would have about this location is there is a large animal carving in the entryway. If your dog might have issues with that, you may want to test the waters before marching your dog in the store.
We all know what home improvement stores offer to purchase, but did you know some also offer a place for you take your pet? Home Depot in Waterloo, Iowa is pet friendly. Ruger has taken a few trips with me to check out power tools and has also helped us shop for fruit trees. He also approved some outdoor patio furniture.
Another home improvement store that allows pets, Lowes in Waterloo, Iowa has played host to my dogs without batting an eye. Having never seen another dog there, I find it an ideal place to take my dogs. I can practice cues and engage with them without the distractions of other dogs.
Now, this one I want to confirm again. When I called the new Fleet Farm at 400 W. Ridgeway Avenue in Cedar Falls, I got a hesitant "yes" when I asked if their store was pet friendly. Having gone to the store only once, I thought I had seen a sign that stated service animals only. (It's also quite possible my brain made that up.) I am going to check further, but as of right now, I am considering Fleet Farm to be pet friendly! The only issue I would have taking my dogs in this store is the aisles are so very narrow and the store seems very densely packed with shelves and merchandise. Personally, I would prefer to have more space.
The original Man Mall, Blain's is a typical farm store with dog food, horse tack, and lots of Carhartt and denim. They also have a most excellent candy aisle that you can shop while they put new tires on your car. The aisles are wide and the staff friendly. Our dogs quite enjoy Blain's. Nessie says she particularly enjoys checking out the display tables and saying hello to people who ask about her fluffs. Bear was not impressed with the shoe collection but humored his dad. Blain's is located at 219 Brandilynn Blvd in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Ruger says there is a McDonalds right across the way as well and chicken nuggets are always a welcome treat after a day of shopping.
In the market for some home decor? Pots and pans? Home Goods At 903 Brandilynn Blvd in Cedar Falls (Just down the road from Blain's!) you can find a variety of home furnishings, including dog beds. Yes, there is a pet section! Again, some of the aisles are pretty narrow and there are breakable things, but this would be a good option for a shopping date with your furry one.
Despite what online reviews say about Hobby Lobby as a corporation, Hobby Lobby in Cedar Falls is not pet friendly. They permit service animals only. However, the Hobby Lobby in Waterloo at 2711 Crossroads Blvd is pet friendly! That being said, I'm not sure my dog has any interest wandering around with me for an hour looking at all the things I never knew I needed. 🤣
Your pet can help you buy cattle fencing and baby chicks! Located on University Avenue in Waterloo, Iowa, Tractor Supply is just one more spot you can go give your pet a new and exciting yet safe experience.
Now it goes without saying that any and all pets are not welcome. Pets who go into public spaces should be leashed, friendly, and well-behaved. Some pets are just not cut out for the public life. Pets should not be aggressive or rude. (ie barking at people, lunging, etc.) These outings should be fun for everyone so if your dog is too stressed or is unpredictable in public, I would suggest that you start slowly when the stores are almost empty and for short periods of time. But if your dog has too many behavioral issues, this will not be the activity for you.
Regardless if your pet is friendly, leash your pet! Not everyone is a fan of animals and they should not have to meet your dog. You also should always have control of your dog in the event your dog is getting into something it shouldn't and to keep it out of the way of other shoppers or employees. In fact, not only do some people not want to meet your dog, be prepared to hear some negative comments. When Bear came with us to Blain's, a gentleman was quite vocal about how he thought pets should not be allowed and proceeded to switch check-out lanes. Bear just stood quietly and watched the muttered tirade like the good boy he is.
Finally, be prepared to clean up after your pet. Some stores have clean-up stations but be prepared to clean up potty accidents. Leaving the scene of an accident is bad, even potty accidents.
In short, be a good human and be responsible about the privilege of taking our pets into stores. I quite enjoy having the option of taking our dogs out with us and would not want to be the reason that privilege is taken away. Don't be the reason we can't have nice things.
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