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Local Life

Out on the town with furry friends

Pet-friendly businesses start appearing in metro area


On any given sunny day in Colorado, take a trip down Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada, Washington Avenue in Golden, or Main Street in Littleton, and the same thing can be seen.

A sight that hikers will run into on the trails in Lakewood’s Bear Creek Lake Park, Westminster’s Standley Lake, and Parker’s Cottonwood Community Park — dogs. Dogs everywhere.

With all the outdoor activities, Colorado has been a very pet-friendly place for years. But more and more, that friendliness is coming inside to businesses.

“Denver is a very dog-friendly city,” wrote Erin Ballinger, an editor and pet-friendly travel expert at BringFido, a dog travel directory website and app that provides unbiased reviews, detailed pet policy information and more to pet owners, in an email interview. “BringFido lists 76 hotels, 90 vacation rentals, 238 restaurants and bars, 12 dog parks, and several hiking trails and stores in the metro area that are dog-friendly.”

Since starting in 2005, BringFido also provides online reservations on thousands of bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and campgrounds that welcome pets in 150 countries worldwide.

“More and more businesses are becoming dog-friendly and offer amenities for pets, like dog-friendly hotels, which offer amenities like treats, loaner dog beds, room service menus, dog-walking stations and bowls,” Ballinger said. “Restaurants and bars will have servers bring water bowls for dogs and some offer dog treats, a doggie menu, or dog beer like Bowser Beer.”

One example in Denver is The Watering Bowl, 5411 Leetsdale Drive, which blends together a bar/restaurant and dog park. It’s a 7,000-square-foot outdoor dog park that hosts dog birthday parties, “bark” mitzvahs, and even dog weddings, and serves green chili, pizza, craft beer and cider cocktails for their owners.

In Westminster’s Orchard outdoor shopping center, The Lazy Dog opened on Dec. 20 at 14618 Delaware St. The restaurant offers a unique take on Midwestern comfort food, as well as scratch cocktails. And for its 1,700-square-foot patio, which includes a fire pit, the restaurant offers a menu for dogs.

“When our founder, Chris Simms, first came up with the idea for this restaurant in a lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a dog was sleeping by the fire,” said Rob Prowers, manager of the Orchard location. “A lot of people consider their dog a member of the family, and they want to bring the dog with them when they go out.”

The Lazy Dog menu for pooches includes free bowls of water and a grilled hamburger patty or chicken breast with brown rice.

“People in Colorado love their dogs so much that we knew this concept would be successful here, and we are very excited to have the first Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar location in Colorado,” said The Orchard’s marketing director, Renee Bochnovich.

Those who prefer felines to dogs can visit to the Denver Cat Company, 3929 Tennyson St., which opened in 2014, making it the third cat café in the country, according to information from the business.

Denver Cat Company features adoptable cats from partner rescues, Life Is Better and PawsCo. There is a small entry fee to help pay for fostering the cat, and customers can expect to find around 15 cats at the cafe, all of whom are fully vetted and ready for adoption. As of November 2017, the cafe has facilitated the adoptions of more than 400 cats.

Customers can also purchase cat-themed gift items, Solar Roast coffee, a selection of teas and other drinks, and prepackaged snacks.

“The humanization of pets is a current trend and has been gaining momentum over the past decade and just continues to rise,” Ballinger said. “Since people are working so much, they want to spend their free time with their pets who may be cooped inside or left alone while they are working.”


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