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Lodi, the pet place

From Lowe’s to Tillie’s Coffee, Lodians are taking their pets out on the town. Find out where Fido will find a welcome mat — and maybe even a special treat

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Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010 12:00 am

In San Francisco, you and Fido can get pampered with Hotel Monaco’s “Bone-a-petit” package. On Monterey’s Cannery Row, your four-legged friend can be near you while you dine on the balcony at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

In Paris, France, you can even share an ice cream cone with Fido at the popular sorbet shop, Berthillon, where pets are allowed to sit at romantic outdoor tables.

But what about Lodi — is it a pet-friendly town?

Most local pet owners seem to think so. And not many restaurateurs or business owners flat-out oppose pet visits, if the dogs are well-mannered.

House of Coffees on Ham Lane, owned by Debby Goni, is a favorite local spot, where customers know their dogs are welcome if they are on a leash outside.

Dan Grauman takes his Golden Retriever, Jersey, to House of Coffees almost weekly.

“(Jersey) enjoys the cool breeze at the patio tables,” Grauman said.

Goni says big and little dogs are welcome, and she’s never had a problem with dogs fighting.

But is bringing dogs to coffee shops that much more popular than in the past?

“Absolutely,” Goni said. “We provide little bowls of water and really fancy dog treats.”

Kathryn Munson, owner of Wine & Roses, has also noticed more and more people bring their pets to dine outside.

“It’s like its their best friend that they’re bringing with them,” said Munson, adding that the hotel also has a room that allows pets. She said one bride recently went down the aisle with her dog walking on its hind legs.

When Ernie Rivera has errands to run, he takes his Jack Russel-Chihuahua mix, Rinty, along for the ride.

“Farmers & Merchants Bank on Turner Road is probably his favorite,” Rivera said, adding that Rinty gets lots of attention. “He looks forward to going there.”

Rinty also takes regular trips to Lowe’s, Walmart, Target, Orchard Supply Hardware, Central State Credit Union and Staples, but stays home when food is involved.

Linda Castelanelli, chairman of the Lodi Animal Shelter, also takes her “pound puppy,” a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, Karma, to town as much as possible. Castelanelli enjoys a scone and coffee on the Tillie’s patio. The light-colored Karma enjoys colorful bone-shaped dog treats given to her by Carolina Morena, who works at Tillie’s, the coffee shop in Downtown Lodi.

Around Lodi, most of the dogs who are out and about are small lap dogs, though Claudia Halecky took her Springer Spaniel, Louis, along for a visit with a friend at Tillie’s after a veterinary appointment.

Some cafes or eateries won’t turn away outdoor customers who carry their dogs inside to order at the counter. However, it is against health codes unless the pet is a service animal.

“If someone walks in with their dog to get a Starbucks (and walk out), that’s technically not allowed,” said Jeff Carruesco, program coordinator for San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department.

It is OK, however, to have pets at an outdoor dining area, where people are being served. Carruesco says he hasn’t noticed an increase in complaints about animals in food venues, and he says most pet owners are aware of the service dog guidelines and know whether or not their dog is behaved enough to venture to an eatery.

When dining at cafes or restaurants like the ones Castelanelli recommends: House of Coffees, Rosewood, Lodi Beer Company and Scooters, Castelanelli will often hold Karma in her lap to keep her close. She also doesn’t take her to food stores, but pushes her around in a shopping cart through stores like Staples and Lowe’s.

“I try not to be intrusive,” Castelanelli said.

Java Stop offers treats for dogs. Lowe’s allows dogs, as long as they’re on a leash. Aaron Uhls says customers’ dogs stop in daily to visit the orange cat that lives at Lodi Color Center, the Downtown paint store. Genie Gilman, with Lodi Transmission, says they love their “animal customers” and they keep Mother Hubbard bones on hand for when a furry friend visits.

Then there are Lodi’s animal businesses, where pets are the focus: Dirty Dog Pet Wash, Beauty of the Beast, Phibb’s Pet Photography, Discount Pet and Robinson’s Feed, where Beverly Seniors’ dogs always get treats.

“My three Australian Shepherds love it there,” she said.

While Bay Area hotels advertise their pet-friendly rooms, Lodi is doing some of the same things. The Best Western Royal on South Cherokee Lane offers a pet-lovers package that includes basket for your pet with a water bowl, treats, food and pet bed. Ruby Galivan, who works at Best Western, says more and more customers have been taking advantage of the package in recent months.

Contact Lodi Living Editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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