Out on the Town: Dog-friendly Raleigh
Wags to Riches
by Cheryl Capaldo Traylor
photography by Cody Hamilton
Raleigh is a canine-loving city, and residents are likely to pick dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and shops.
Almost everywhere we go these days, whether it’s a restaurant, boutique, or coffee shop, we see dogs. Lots of dogs. It’s no wonder: Raleigh is a city of dog lovers.
According to estimates provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association, a city the size of Raleigh is likely to have 65,000 dog-owning households.
With their pockets stuffed with treats and bright blue bags tied onto leashes—telltale signs of membership in an unofficial canine club—more Raleigh dog owners are taking their dogs out on the town.
For Leah Ward, leaving her dogs at home isn’t an option; she takes them with her everywhere. Ward, a financial associate and co-owner of Barre Up, a local Pilates studio, works long hours. When she manages to find free time, she loves spending it with her corgis, Larkin and Nomi. She also enjoys going out to meet up with friends, many of whom have dogs of their own.
“Whether it’s dinner, coffee, brunch, beer, or just hanging out, we want our dogs to be a part of it,” she says. Fortunately, Raleigh offers many options for Ward, her friends, and their dogs to shop, eat, drink, and explore the city together.
Today, pets are considered part of the family. When asking how many children someone has, you might be answered with one number for two-legged children and another for “fur babies.” More pets are going on family vacations and accompanying their owners into the workplace. And why not? Our pets make us feel calmer and happier. Although pet owners don’t need convincing, there’s plenty of research to back this up.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that pets also improve owners’ lives by providing meaningful social support. Having a pet means having someone who’s always there, a loyal snuggle-buddy and Netflix binge-watching partner with no judgment whatsoever.
There are also broader social benefits to having a dog. Many dog owners say that taking their dogs out to public spaces helps them meet new people and make friends. Much like a mothers’ morning out program, doggie play dates allow owners to meet for conversation and drinks while their pups experience playtime.
However, taking our dogs out with us is not only good for us, it’s also good for our dogs. Ward agrees. She includes Larkin and Nomi in her leisure plans because she wants them to be socialized, to know how to behave when they’re around people, and to play well with other dogs.
“It makes them feel better not to be left at home. And it makes me feel better,” she says.
Ward goes out of her way to patronize businesses that welcome four-legged, furry customers. Her favorite spots are where the staff is welcoming and happy to see her dogs. “Bringing them inside is important, especially in summertime. It’s tough just to sit outside all the time with the dogs,” she says. “So, all of my favorite places allow dogs both inside and out.”
Many business owners understand this, especially the ones who are pet lovers themselves. Mary Kay Kennedy, development and communications manager at Artspace, says that dogs are always welcome inside the visual arts center. “We get a lot of foot traffic, and we want everyone to come in and enjoy the art. We wouldn’t want anyone to leave their dogs outside or feel like they couldn’t come in.” Kennedy adds there are several dogs who “work” at Artspace.
Retail centers often don’t have an official pet policy, but North Hills management states that dogs are welcome in outdoor spaces at North Hills and at all events. They ask pet owners to be responsible and use the pet-waste stations provided throughout the property. Each store has its own rules concerning pets inside.
Many stores in Raleigh welcome well-behaved and leashed dogs. So, go ahead and bring your dogs in with you. If you’re uncertain, call ahead and ask about the dog policy. And when your furry family member has been well behaved during your planned activities, treat them to a well-deserved playtime at one of Raleigh’s many off-leash dog parks.
Ins and Outs for Doggie Visits
We asked owners and employees at the following businesses if dogs are allowed inside. The overwhelming response was: “Friendly leashed dogs are more than allowed. We love having them and encourage you to bring them inside.”
Dog-friendly Spaces, Inside and Out:
Anthropologie (North Hills)
Ben and Jerry’s (Hillsborough Street)
Dram & Draught
Logan’s One Stop Garden Shop
Lucky Tree Gallery & Café (and the inner courtyard of the Royal Bakery building)
Quail Ridge Books
The Wine Feed
Total Wine (North Hills)
Walgreens (North Hills)
Here’s a sampling of the numerous establishments that welcome friendly, leashed dogs on the patio!
Goodberry’s Frozen Custard
Little City Brewing and Provisions Co.
Oak & Dagger Public House
Saints & Scholars
World of Beer
… and the list could go on!