The Dog-Friendly South Hills
My ideal world involves dogs. It’s not a slight to people, I swear. But dogs make me happy. I’ve learned that they seem to make most people happy. They’re a gateway to a connection with others and they are a reliable conversation piece—a conversation focused on something positive.
My husband, my daughter and I adopted a malamute back on August 1. Nukka is now my second child (apologies to my first–born human child). To help her become an integrated member of the family, we decided to incorporate her into every possible piece of our lives. I’ve always had the mindset that you get out of a dog what you put into them. We’re currently in the throes of misbehavior (Get the morbid details in my recent blog) but I can see the model dog hiding behind the T-Rex skin she’s stuck in. Once she escapes her inner T-Rex, she’ll be an awesome dog.
Trying to achieve socialization and exhaustion, we have been taking Nukka to every single place we’re allowed. After she received her last round of shots, the world was our oyster on where we’d try to go. I have no problems asking every place we visit if they allowed dogs. I’ve even been known to call businesses ahead of time to check as well.
In the South Hills, I have found a plethora of places that permit dogs (friendly, well-mannered ones at least). I feel compelled to share this information with others—it’s time to brighten others’ days and get our dogs out there!
I am shocked that not once have I heard a negative comment about having Nukka with us in the stores. Mind you, we’re training her and don’t let her become a bull in a china shop. She sits nicely for pettings (or flops at will). Ok, let’s be a bit realistic… she’s 7 months so there is an occasional attempt to jump up for kisses, but she is reminded of the mantra, “four on the floor.”
We started our visits at Petco, since we knew they had cleaning supplies for the unpredictable puppy bladder. We rolled her around in the cart like a queen while we waited for her final shots. Next, we ventured to Home Depot. The staff offers bones for the dogs and you can even ask customer service for one.
Then we expanded our horizons and began asking around.
This past summer, we ran up to Washington Road to check out the shops. Nukka took a quick sniff at all the water bowls the shops leave along the sidewalk. We ventured into Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, where Nukka grabbed a quick snack from the cookie jar and proceeded to greet every single person who would look her way. We also ran over to Rollier’s to check out all the hardware my husband could lay his eyes on.
Beyond Uptown, we often venture over to the Galleria and all the surrounding stores. I was shocked to find on the FAQs for The Galleria that dogs are allowed. And, by walking the mall, we also found out most stores permit pets. The store associates swooned over Nukka when we visited. She’s become a bit of a regular there and grabs a puppuccino from Starbucks every time we go.
Within just a few–mile radius, over time, I’ve learned of a ton of stores that allow dogs. Here’s a quick rundown (and I’m sure I haven’t found all of them):
- Grandpa Joe’s Candy Store
- Rollier’s Hardware
- Petco (and PetSmart… pet stores in general)
- Home Depot
- Barnes & Noble
- Half Price Books
- Galleria Mall (and many stores within)
- Bed, Bath, and Beyond
- Macy’s (haven’t tried there but they’re notorious for allowing dogs)
- Dollar Tree
- My mom’s (just kidding… that one’s for me only)
- Five Below
- Hobby Lobby
- Sportsman Warehouse
My ultimate goal with Nukka is for her to obtain Therapy Dog Certification (via TDI). But, even if she never gets a certification, I feel like we’re already accomplishing a part of that goal—seeing everyone welcome her and play with my goofy dog is a form of therapy. It wipes away a few seconds of reality and puts people in the moment. It opens people up, softens them a bit.
I think this is a form of therapy we all need right now: Finding the joy in meeting a four-legged stranger. One who doesn’t judge and who only wants to offer a piece of friendship that can be difficult to find these days.
I’d love to see others out there with their furry children spreading some smiles along the way. And, if you ever see Nukka (a big fluffy malamute) and her humans out there, please always feel free to grab some love from my pup. She has plenty to offer!
Thank you for the list!
I love the articles about this pup Nukka. Ms Kaplan’s descriptions in her writing puts me right in the situations she describes. Thank you taking me on this and your other 2 journeys.
Awe. Thank you so much! This makes my heart happy more than you know!
– Cathy Kaplan
Very informative. I had no idea pets were welcome in so many places. A very useful article fir a community magazine!
Mary Anne Duffy
We love dogs at Back to Basics on Mt. Lebanon Blvd! You might even find our official mascot, Coraline, in residence. She is a one year old black lab and currently making good progress on learning her manners!
Ooh… another place to check out! I’ll have to bring Nukka over!
south hills village mall is not dog friendly, service dogs only. i called the management office today to confirm 🙁