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Dog-friendly culture spreading through Baltimore businesses

Local project connecting shops with pet owners
Posted at 7:24 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:24:41-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Baltimore is the second fastest growing dog-friendly city in America, according to a recent study by Zillow and Rover.

With the huge increase in dog ownership, a small business has launched a project to connect pet parents, with shops that welcome their furry friends in.

“We are lucky to have such a dog friendly city truly and people want to do things with their pets; they want to take them out to eat and they want to go to the brewery with them. We feel like there’s a missing link between the places out there that are dog friendly and these dog owners who aren’t quite sure where they can and can’t take their dog,” said Lyndsay Shackelford, owner and founder of Dogs of Charm City.

She and her company launched DOCC Verified Project to make pet owners more aware of where they can bring their pups.

Businesses get nominated. DOCC team members go and make sure they are truly dog-friendly and then put up a sticker signaling four paws are welcome inside or on the patio.

They also have a map on their website laying out all the places that have been verified so you can look ahead and plan a shopping trip.

The project has already been a success, with lots of businesses taking part.

“I know I’m always thinking of like what can we go to Home Depot for today because I know I can bring my dog there so it’s a great thing to have now local businesses that are also allowing that interaction with your pets,” said Jessi Ceiri, manager of Charm City Run Fells Point.

All seven of Charm City Run’s locations are dog-friendly, and Ceiri often brings her French bulldog Bronx, the star of the shop.

Down the street, you’ll often find distinguished gentlemen Bear and Armin sniffing plants at Fells Point Cultivated Creations. Dogs are allowed inside and they even have a pet-safe section, approved by the shop dogs themselves.

“It’s already a part of your life. You already have to take them for a walk. You already gotta get them food and if you can bring them into those places, life just gets that much easier. You don’t have to go home and drop them off and leave them on the sidelines. They’re a part of your family you can bring them in,” said owner Alexander Madaus.

Across the harbor, snowball shop Ice Queens in Locust Point has an order window and features beef broth doggie ice, inspired by the owners dog Penny.

“We have some customers that only come for the doggie ice,” said owner Dasia Kabia. "My dog is like my emotional support animal so being able to bring her places with me and knowing she’s welcome is very reassuring for me and I wanted to offer the same thing at my own shop."

All three have noticed the stickers bring more people, and dogs, into their stores. They said before, people would only window shop.

“One partner would come inside while one partner stayed outside with a dog and I would always run to the door and let them know you can come on inside with the dog. So now with the sticker, it’s just a little more obvious and even when we are busy people can see that and know to just come on in,” said Ceiri.

“It has done well for the business, I’m not gonna lie, It has been nice to get that different sect of people in here but it’s also just really nice to have a space where people can come in an actually shop with their pets and feel comfortable,” said Madaus.

Dogs of Charm City is cooking up another exciting venture. After successfully launching the first-ever Dog-Friendly Brewery Passport, they are soon going to offer Patio Passports to connect Baltimore dogs & dog owners to local, dog-friendly restaurant patios.

DOCC will only print 100 of the new Patio Passports and they will launch on Tuesday, June 7. These passports not only allow each recipient 1 free appetizer OR 1 free cocktail at each restaurant listed, but they also support the community as 5% of every purchase is donated directly to BARCS, Wings of Love Kuwait and Saving Grace Animal Rescue.

They also have a lot of resources on their website.

"When we talk about pet care, it’s so much more than the physical care of pets, through dog walking and dog training. It’s caring for the pets of Baltimore and all Baltimore dog owners. We do this through resources on our website, things like dog-friendly blog posts, patios, restaurants, breweries. We do various community initiatives, outreach and in-person events," said Shackelford.