If you've ever wanted to take your dog out on the town with you but worried your four-legged friend wouldn't be welcome, a growing trend could soon get dog lovers to ditch that concern.
Sidewalkdog.com reports more and more business owners are realizing that dogs are family members too, especially because they attract more loyal customers.
Cassie Fortin and her fun-loving dog, Guss, are inseparable.
"He pretty much goes everywhere with me," smiled Fortin.
When Fortin runs errands in Uptown, she makes sure to frequent the dog-friendly spots.
"I like to go to those restaurants that are more friendly and have a little dog treat," she laughs.
Fortin believes there's a method to learning which places will welcome Guss.
"I just walk in," she admitted. "As long as they don't have food, usually people will let them in."
Pooch-friendly places seem to be gaining popularity. The evidence is found in front of Magers & Quinn, a trendy Uptown bookstore that welcomes all pups. FOX 9 News met Lori Vanderpoel and her Maltese Poodle there.
"He's a part of my family, and he's my baby. So, it's nice to bring him along," Vanderpoel said.
Hundreds of Twin Cities businesses have already marked their dog-friendly territory with Sidewalkdog.com stickers. Sidewalkdog.com is a free web directory, launched in 2008, which lists pup-positive businesses all across the Metro.
"We have seen the users coming to Sidewalkdog.com go up to 80- 90 percent depending on the category," said spokeswoman Deb Balzer. "It's crazy, but what it's showing us is that there is a trend -- especially here in the Twin Cities -- for people wanting to know what they can do outside of the home with their dog."
Managers at CB2, a contemporary furniture store in Uptown, actually reached out to sidewalkdogs.com to be listed on the directory. They believe welcoming dogs is good for business and the store's appeal.
"[Dogs] are not going to do much worse than a person in the winter with dirty boots, they're on the ground just like people are. They actually usually bring smiles to other people's faces," said CB2 Store Manager Liz Schultz. "They're really cute. How can you resist?"
Managers at Café Barbette can't resist either. Free treats and water await four-legged friends on the patio.
"I think people are realizing that there's an opportunity to get out of the house and include your pet in all parts of your life," said Balzer.
The American Veterinary Medical Association says there are approximately 845,000 dogs living in the Twin Cities. Is it time to include them more? Tell us what you think www.facebook.com/myfox9
To visit Sidewalk Dog, click here: www.sidewalkdog.com