There are not any dog friendly businesses in Grand Rapids, MI.  What? Let me rephrase that, except for 21 Hotels, there are not any listed dog friendly businesses in Grand Rapids, MI.  The top 10 pet friendly cities vary depending on which study you look at.   Chicago, Portland Oregon, Seattle, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Austin, and Nashville, to name a few.  Of the lists I reviewed, not one Michigan City was mentioned.  We didn’t even get an honorable mention, like Raleigh NC.

Grand Rapids has been making some lists though.  Forbes Magazine listed Grand Rapids as the #1 place in the United States to raise a family and #4 for finding employment.  GR also ranked #2 on best cities to relocate to.  GR is getting some notice.  I may be bias but I believe West Michigan is an awesome place to live.  Downtown GR has a lot to do, is safe, and family friendly. Grand Haven and Muskegon both have dog friendly parks right on Lake Michigan.

Now it’s time for Grand Rapids businesses to step up and show the Canis Lupus Familiaris some love!  Pet owners want to be able to take their dogs with them and enjoy lunch or coffee in an outdoor setting.  Maybe do some window shopping, there are plenty of outdoor eateries and they could bring in more business by announcing that they are pet friendly.  I was in Historic downtown Lowell, Mi. this past week and there were a couple of businesses with signs posted, Dog Friendly.

Sonic and DQ are dog friendly, but not walking distance in the downtown area.  I’m calling out businesses that need to get out the word out that dogs are welcome;  Peppino’s, Founders Brewing Co., One Trick Pony, Cottage Bar, Biggby, and Go Java.  Post that you are pet friendly on your web pages, send links to and

Come on GR get your act together.  Nashville and Chicago does it why can’t we?   I recently vacationed at Emerald Isle, North Carolina.  Now this is a dog friendly island.  Dogs played on the beach with their owner’s right along children and surfers. There rules were not needed because everyone was respectful and the dog owners were responsible.  Everyone was living and enjoying the island in harmony.  I could faintly here the song “Kumbaya” as I lounged in the sun and surf.   Ottawa County has the Grand Ravines North and South which have several trails, suspension bridge and dog park.   It’s really nice you should check it out!

Some would argue that irresponsible pet owners will ruin it for everyone else.  You don’t have to worry about irresponsible dog owners in public places because they’re irresponsible!  Irresponsible dog owners don’t take their dogs on walks and want to spend time with them in public places.  That’s because they are too busy chasing their dogs throughout the neighborhood because they broke out again.

Let’s get together make some phone calls.   I want to start a pet friendly movement in Grand Rapids.  If we work together, we can put GR on the Top Ten list of Pet Friendly Cities.  Grand Rapids Magazine and Dog Unleashed, send your reporters out to GR businesses to cover the story on pet friendly business.  It will be a start in a new, pet friendly direction.

Update 6/3/2014 – Dog Friendly GR Bar and Restaurants



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