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With Pet in Tow

pet friendly detroit

by Ilene Wolff

Metro Detroit packs lots of wonderful treats for those traveling with four-legged friends.

After a year’s hiatus from its annual show, the Detroit Kennel Club is back this year, taking up residence at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on June 20-21. “We’re expecting at least 170 breeds,” said Erik Bergishagen, club president and second-generation Labrador retriever breeder who owns Jagersbo Kennels in Troy. “Showgoers will be able to talk to the breeders and ask about the traits of all the different breeds.”

With the heralded show once again locked in for summer 2015 in metro Detroit, the timing seems perfect for a rundown of what to do and where to stay in The D if you have pet in tow.

In Transit

Those flying in will, of course, arrive at Detroit Metro Airport. If that sounds stressful, consider this: According to airport sources, four-legged travelers are VIP guests. All pets must stay in their travel crates, except when nature calls. Then they can use either of two animal relief areas at each of the airport’s two terminals. Look for signage indicating “Service Animal/Pet Relief Area.

Once luggage is collected, catch a ride with Crown Limousine, which is dog-friendly and will gladly transport crated animals and their owners to their accommodations, said owner James Daniels.

Insider tip: Ask your driver about a tour. For an extra fee, Crown Limos will take you by notable Detroit hot spots, such as the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, Ford Field and the three downtown casinos.

That’s exactly what Candilynn Lockhart did with her celebrity dog DaVinci, a three-year-old mini-dachshund mix that regularly makes media rounds on behalf of a charitable foundation bearing his name. “We were being picked up at the airport, and our limousine driver said we do tours of Detroit,” said Lockhart. “They’re completely dog-friendly.”

Only catch: Dogs must stay inside their carrier during the entire ride to minimize any allergic reaction for subsequent limo guests.

Lockhart and DaVinci also recommend touring Detroit’s waterfront via a charter boat. The pair boarded at Bray’s Boating Services on the Detroit River in Wyandotte. Owner Tommy Bray, who also offers fishing expeditions, has two regular, 30-mile, round-trip tours from April through October, weather permitting. He asks that pets be on a leash and bring their own life vest.

canine to five detroit

For those who prefer to keep all four paws on the ground, Liz Blondy, owner of two Canine to Five doggy day care locations in metro Detroit, hosts leashed riverfront pack walks weekly, May through October. (She scales back to monthly walks November through April.) Scheduled walks and other activities are listed on the website under “Events” at caninetofivedetroit.com.

Blondy, mother to Bunny, a Newfoundland, and Argon, a Great Pyrenees, also organizes Drinking with Dogs May through September at Detroit restaurants and bars. One of her favorites is Fountain Bistro in the heart of downtown at Campus Martius. The popular public plaza, she said, makes for a great starting point for a walk when thirsts are satisfied.

“It’s really nice to walk your dog through Campus Martius, down Woodward (Avenue) to Hart Plaza and then down the Detroit RiverWalk,” said Blondy.

No Bones About It

Dog parks, pet bakeries and special canine recreation venues are also plentiful in and around the city.

bow wow baketique dog treats

In Grosse Pointe Farms, Lisa Bardy not only bakes organic and nonorganic treats at her Bow Wow Baketique, including wheat-free and gluten-free offerings, but she also hosts a weekly ice cream social year-round on Thursday evenings.

“It’s kind of cool because everybody’s relaxed,” said Bardy. “It’s a great, friendly, everybody-gets-along atmosphere.”

Bardy supplies refreshments to the two-legged revelers. They, in turn, can pamper their pets with either apple and cheddar or banana and peanut butter Yoghund Frozen Yogurt from Bardy’s freezer, a Baketique-prepared pupcake or a locally made Beer Bone, made from spent brewing grains. The four-legged friends can wash down their treats with Bowser Beer (nonalcoholic, of course).

After indulging in Baketique’s treats, it may be time to let Fido romp around at one of Detroit’s dog parks to burn some calories.

A group of dog owner-volunteers worked for three years to open the PetSmart P.U.P.’s Detroit Dog Park at a former playground in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood in May 2014.

“Detroit is an incredibly dog-friendly town,” said one of those owner-volunteers, Mary Lorene Carter. “My own excellent mutt gets to snooze under my desk at work.”

dog party old tiger stadium

The same group that launched PetSmart P.U.P.’s park vows to also continue its popular Dog Party at 11 a.m. every third Saturday of the month at Old Tiger Stadium, former home of the Detroit Tigers.

For gentler recreation, which is especially good for older, arthritic dogs or those who’ve recently had orthopedic surgery, there’s the heated pool at Sit Stay Swim in Garden City.

Thirty minutes of buoyant play in the 15-foot circular pool’s 90-degree water equals a five-mile jog, said owner Jean Carew. She makes sure the water is sanitary with the same chemicals used in hot tubs, and supplies life jackets for the dogs even though the pool is just 4 1/2 feet deep. “An important part of dog life is exercise,” said Carew. “It makes them much more easy to manage in a home environment.”

Time To Chillax

After a day on the town, you and your pet can relax in one of metro Detroit’s many dog-welcoming accommodations, ranging from historic downtown hotels to suburban chains.

westin book cadillac dog friendly

“The most popular one on our website is the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit,” said Melissa Halliburton, author of the pet travel book Ruff Guide to the United States and founder of the website bringfido.com. “They allow two dogs under 40 pounds in each room for no additional fee and have a ‘five bone’ rating.”

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport also allows dogs less than 40 pounds for no additional fee.

Another popular choice, added Halliburton, is the MotorCity Casino Hotel. “They are popular because they allow up to two dogs under 30 pounds in each room, but there is a charge of $125 per pet per stay.”

And if your pet, and you, are looking/feeling a little scruffy by the end of your stay, why not book farewell grooming sessions for you both? Drop said pet at one of Blondy’s two Canine to Five locations — there’s one in Detroit’s trendy Midtown and one in the inner-ring suburb of Ferndale. Then, make your own appointment. Not surprising, two of the city’s most dog-centric hotels also know how to cater to pets’ human counterparts. Hit D.Tour Spa in MotorCity Casino Hotel or The Spa Book Cadillac (conveniently located in the five-bone-rated Westin Book Cadillac Detroit), where a hot stone-plus-nail treatment is sure to make you growl with satisfaction.

Fido, Stay!

Many Detroit-area hotels and motels welcome crated companions.

Best Western
Best Western claims to be a leader in pet-friendly accommodations, but each location is independently owned, so it’s best to check first. A room reservation may allow up to two dogs, up to 80 pounds each, with a maximum $100 charge and $50 refundable damage deposit. There are Best Westerns in Allen Park, Hartland, Howell, Livonia, Roseville, Whitmore Lake and Woodhaven.
800-780-7234 or

Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront
The Crowne Plaza allows two dogs up to 40 pounds, with a pet fee of $25 per stay, and a $50 refundable deposit.
DD / 2 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, 48226

Red Roof Inn
One well-behaved family pet permitted; must be declared at registration and not left unattended in room.
There are Red Roof Inns in Belleville, Detroit, Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Lincoln Park, Madison Heights, Plymouth, St. Clair Shores, Southfield, Taylor and Warren.
or redroof.com


Residence Inn Detroit Novi - Marriott
The Residence Inn allows two dogs up to 80 pounds each, for a fee of $100 per stay.
GN / 27477 Cabaret Drive
Novi, 48377
248-735-7400 or

Sheraton Detroit Novi
This Sheraton allows two dogs up to 80 pounds each, provides dog beds and has an area to walk pets adjacent to the hotel.
GN / 21111 Haggerty Road
Novi, 48375

Towne Place Suites Marriott Detroit Novi
The Towne Place allows two pets per room, up to 100 pounds each, $100 nonrefundable fee.
GN / 42600 W. 11 Mile Road
Novi, 48375


Book a Detroit hotel online at bringfido.com with the code “DAVINCI,” and $10 will be donated to The DaVinci Foundation for Animals, a charitable organization that supports rescue operations around the world.

Fido, Go!

The Motor City is going to the dogs — in a good way. Here are some attractions and addresses designed to make your dog’s days happy ones.

Pet Friendly Mall at Partridge Creek

The Mall at Partridge Creek
This open-air mall is a popular spot for pooches. Several dog comfort stations are located in the common areas. Look for signage at store entrances that denote dog-friendly stores.
M / 17420 Hall Road, Clinton Twp., 48038
586-226-0330 or shoppartridgecreek.com

The Pet Beastro
Think of the Pet Beastro as a health food store for pets. Owner Jill Tack stocks high-quality food, safe treats, natural toys, organic herbs and essential oils, and offers alternative health treatments for dogs and cats. She’s also working toward a doctorate in pet naturopathy.
O / 27637 John R Road Madison Heights, 48071
248-548-3448 or thepetbeastro.com

grand circus dog park detroit

Grand Circus Dog Park
This park in the heart of downtown is operated by Detroit’s Recreation Department. Fenced with shade trees, tables for sitting and artificial turf.
DD / E. Adams Ave. at Witherell St., Detroit, 48226
313-224-1100 or detroitmi.gov/recreation

Midtown Dog Park
The nonprofit Midtown Detroit Inc. and Shinola, maker of luxury watches, leather goods, bicycles and pet accessories, sponsor this park. Fenced with picnic tables. Admire the large Shinola city clock.
DD / Cass Ave. at W. Canfield Detroit, 48201
313-420-6000 or midtowndetroitinc.org

Camp Bow Wow
In addition to boarding, day care and grooming (excluding hair cuts), this business will come to your home or hotel room to pet-sit.
M / 19795 E. 9 Mile Road St. Clair Shores, 48080
586-445-9663 or campbowwow.com/stclairshores

Oakland County Parks
Oakland County has three dog parks, and canines are welcome on leash also at Addison Oaks, Catalpa Oaks, Groveland Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Rose Oaks and Waterford Oaks.
O / various locations destinationoakland.com

Traffic Jam and Snug
A bakery/brewery/restaurant in Midtown welcomes pets to join the party on the outdoor patio.
DD / 511 W. Canfield, Detroit, 48201
313-831-9470 or trafficjamdetroit.com

Other pet-centric places where you can pamper your pooch — or favorite feline for that matter:
Cass Corridog in Midtown • Teacups & Toys Pet Boutique in Birmingham • 3 Dogs 1 Cat 4 Detroit in Detroit • Bone Appetite in Utica • Halliday’s Pet Resort and Day Care in Canton • The Barkery in Grosse Pointe • The Urban Dog in Rochester Hills • Moochie & Company in Novi • Three Dog Bakery in Clinton Township • Woofhaven Dog Park in Woodhaven • Bark-A-About Pet Activity Center and Resort in Shelby Township

Pet Talk with Figure Skater Charlie White

charlie white dog

Olympic gold medalist Charlie White is metro Detroit’s resident figure skating superstar (he and Meryl Davis were the first American pair in U.S. history to garner the gold in Olympic ice dancing, in 2014). He also happens to be a happy pet owner. He tells Visit Detroit, in fact, that when he travels, he often brings along his most prized possessions with him — his Olympic gold medal and his two adorable Cavachons, DJ and Finn.
Here’s what Charlie had to say about traveling to and from Detroit with his four-legged pals.

VISIT DETROIT: When you travel with your pooches, what are some of the must-have items in their bags?
WHITE: DJ has one stuffed animal that she treats like a baby. All of the other toys she has ripped up, but this one is very special to her, so it always makes the trip.

VISIT DETROIT: Do you bring your Detroit pride with you as you travel?
WHITE: I am very proud of Detroit and of being from the area, and everyone around the world knows it.

VISIT DETROIT: When you’re not traveling, and are spending time at home in metro Detroit, do you have any favorite places you take the dogs?
WHITE: One of the best things about metro Detroit is the abundance of parks. DJ and Finn love going for walks through nature. To them it always feels like an adventure, and I get to enjoy the sights and relax.

VISIT DETROIT: When you have a little free time, what are some of your favorite things to do together — go for walks, wrestle, raise DJ above your head like in the Lion King (referring to a recent Instagram photo from Charlie)?
WHITE: All of the above. And it’s double trouble since the recent addition of Finn. Those fur babies are the best at keeping a smile on my face.

VISIT DETROIT: Your first Cavachon, DJ, did you get her from a local shelter?
WHITE: My fiancée, Tanith, got her in Pennsylvania when she lived there, but we love the Humane Society and always love to show our support for what they do.

VISIT DETROIT: When DJ and Finn are being extra good, do you reward them with Detroit gear or treats?
WHITE: To be honest, they don’t have any more room in their closet for anything — besides U of M gear.

Don’t forget a metro Detroit-branded sports town souvenir for your furry friend — many stores carry apparel for professional as well as collegiate teams.

sports pet products

University of Michigan dog toy 3dogs1cat.com
Detroit Tigers dog collar detroitathletic.com
NHL Hunter MFG Detroit Red Wings Dog Bowl sportsmaniausa.com

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

detroit metro airport pet relief

Detroit Metro Airport’s McNamara Terminal has an animal relief spot before security on the lower level outside the International Arrivals area, and another after security adjacent to Gate A-34.

Detroit Metro Airport’s North Terminal has two pet relief areas — on the upper level at the north and south ends of the Departures curb.

The Detroit Kennel Club Show

June 20-21
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi

For ticket information and a schedule of events, visit facebook.com/dkcdogshow or suburbancollectionshowplace.com.

BTW: Only dogs entered in the show are allowed in the show. Leave your pet at home or hotel with a pet-sitter for this one.

Local Treats

Buddy Bones dog biscuits

Purchase Buddy Bones at Detroit pizza chain Buddy’s Pizza. The sales of the bones, made from leftover pizza dough, benefit the Michigan Humane Society.

biscuit bobs gourmet dog treats

Treat your pooch to Shelby Township-based Biscuit Bob’s all-natural bones and bite-size snacks. No wheat, no corn, no soy. He promises. biscuitbob.com

Photo Credits (from top):
Midtown dog park by Michelle and Chris Gerard; Canine To Five courtesy of Canine To Five; Bow Wow Baketique by Jacob Lewkow; Dog party by Michelle and Chris Gerard; Westin Book Cadillac Hotel by Bill Bowen; The Mall At Partridge Creek courtesy of Mall At Partridge Creek; Grand Circus Dog Park by Michelle and Chris Gerard; Charlie White and DJ courtesy of Charlie White; Sports pet products by Bill Bowen; Pet relief courtesy of Detroit Metro Airport; Buddy Bones by Bill Bowen; Biscuit Bob's courtesy of Biscuit Bob's.

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