Downtown La Crosse business owners welcoming dogs indoors

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — If you’re looking for activities to do with your dog this summer– look no further than La Crosse’s downtown. Downtown Mainstreet’s initiative is bringing even more life to La Crosse’s downtown businesses.

The program, introduced earlier this month, gives stickers to businesses that are designated “dog-friendly.”

For Katie Pehling, who owns White Buffalo Thriftery Co. in downtown La Crosse, animals in the shop, like her dog Barry, are a no-brainer.

“They’re kind of timid at first, you know, they’re like ‘Do you accept dogs?’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, of course!’ We’ve got one here, we’ve got a pig! You know, bring all your animals,” Pehling said.

And it’s not just Pehling who’s on board.

With Downtown Main Street’s new dog friendly downtown initiative, people are welcome to bring their dogs to any participating business.

Pehling just opened her thrift shop in March.

“I wanted to have this place feel like just an extension of my home. Anybody that comes in here I just want them to feel welcome and…. you know I’d want somebody to come in and just feel comfortable being here with Barry,” Pehling said.

To her, having her pup in-house is essential.

“He likes it! He normally just, he will greet customers and then curl up in his little bed. It’s better to have him here than home alone,” she said.

Down the street, 6-11 Crystals has its own lapdog.

“I love just having a little friend!” said Anika Nystrom, a manager and part-owner at the shop. “A lot of people will notice that when I’m walking around at the store he just follows me.”

Nystrom’s dog Jasper brings a burst of energy to the shop

“Customers love him! They love to just come and hang out with him, bring their kids so it’s something for their kids to do if parents want to shop,” Nystrom said.

The store’s owners are eager to welcome more.

“It’s really nice to have dog-friendly places like this so I don’t have to worry about leaving him in the car or leaving him at home,” Nystrom said.

You can bring your dog to any of the participating locations downtown—just look for the dog friendly sticker on the window.

A complete list of dog-friendly businesses are available on the Downtown Mainstreet website.