Westport Stores Go To The Dogs

An alert — and perturbed — “06880” reader sniffs:

The latest Westport trend is: dogs in stores.

And we’re seeing it more and more.

This picture was taken the other morning at Terrain:


These 2 women conducted a lengthy checkout. The entire time their Lab licked and nibbled the holiday packages of chocolates and peppermint bark on the lower shelf.

When the transaction was complete, the women and dog grabbed a choice table in the Terrain Cafe.

I reported what I saw to the cashier, who seemed completely disinterested.

Not one to give up easily, I found the store manager who said, “It’s probably something we should frown upon. But we’re owned by Urban Outfitters. It’s their rule to allow dogs in the store and cafe.”

She did say she would remove all of those boxes of candy from the floor.

I did not stick around to see if she made good on her promise. But imagine if I hadn’t reported this? Some innocent shopper would give quite a gift: a very germ-y box of candy.

50 responses to “Westport Stores Go To The Dogs

  1. That box of candy, licked by a dog, would probably have been less germy than if handled by a shopper and put back unpuchased.
    70% of shopping cart handles in super markets are reported to have feces on them; I can’t recall seeing a dog pushing one of ’em.

  2. Dick Lowenstein

    The Westport-Weston Health District might have something to say about animals, other than service animals, in in “food” establishments. That aside, will pictures like this succeed the privileged car-parking photos?

  3. This complaint probably comes from a from a misdogynist, doesn’t know that the dog is mans best friend.

  4. Julie Van Norden

    I like dogs in stores. It’s the owners that should be watching out for them.

  5. Worse than that they allow dogs to
    Ride in shopping carts st Stew
    Leonard’s, next shopper who has
    Innocently taken that cart gets to put
    their food on dog contaminated
    cart bottom. Manager really wasn’t
    interested my concern.

    • I’ve never seen a dog in Stew Leonards in 35 years and I doubt that they’re allowed as you say.

  6. In this photo It doesn’t look like their Lab is licking anything, he’s just standing there. (Happy to see this complaint gaveso many Westporters opportunity to stick up for man’s best friend In the comments section, also happy to hear urban outfitters is so dog friendly, I’ll start shopping there again for that reason alone 🙂

  7. Had a good laugh with this one! Thanks Dan. Clearly this reader has way to much time on their hands. Oh no, a dog in a store! Don’t ever visit the West Coast where dogs are preferred way more than people. 😉

  8. Northern Virginia is also very dog-friendly. Depending on the location, rules allow for inside or designated outside seating with pets, they usually provide bowls of water as well. I don’t recall any incidents where the pet owners ignored their dog’s misbehavior.

    If only parents of unruly children did the same.

  9. Dan, why not have a section of the blog entitled “First World Problems, Westport Edition” Also please consider some new adjectives beyond “alert” to describe the members of your Frequent Complainers Club; perhaps “curmudgeonly” or “kvetchy.” E.g., “a kvetchy 06880 reader complains…”

    • I’ll stick with “alert.” That’s why I (almost) always add a qualifier — in this case, “perturbed.” Another example: “Alert — and nit-picking ‘06880’ — reader Peter Blau says…”

      Happy new year!

  10. Touché. BTW, have you ever wondered what Andy Rooney would have said about dogs in the shops….

  11. Matthew Mandell

    This town loves it dogs. So just to give a heads up and a save the date…

    THE WESTPORT DOG FESTIVAL will be Sunday May 7th on Winslow Park.

    Have a Barky New Year….

  12. We’re going thru a similar debate here in Naples, FL. People can’t have a dog as a seasonal renter and in most of the Gulf front condos, it’s a no pet policy. Of course, we have more access to outdoor dining all year round. High today will be 70 degrees. Hence, folks taking advantage of the ease of certifying their animal as an emotional support pet. I’m with Peter B., “First World problem…”. There’s a time & place for everything … Happy New Year!

  13. Glad the relatively clean mouth of the dog has already been addressed. Antibiotics are big universally prescribed after a dog bite, unlike cat or human bites, because with adequate irrigation they have a low rate of infection.

    That said, even as a dog lover whose family kept its dogs at home or at the periphery of civilization, I would prefer my chocolate box be sealed and free of dog saliva and any sort of feces.

    Finally, if there is no sign on the door stating “no dogs” can you really call a person bringing a dog into the store “entitled”?

  14. There is a large list of pet friendly chain stores that welcome dogs…including Tiffanys!

  15. I suspect that “licking and nibbling” is an exaggeration – or perhaps fabrication – by your “alert” observer. I can tell you no dog owner would ever allow this to happen, if for no other reason than eating chocolate will kill a dog. Also, dogs don’t “lick” packages; if they want something, they go for it. Happy Non-Judgemental New Year, everyone!

  16. I don’t mind having dogs in stores, but I REALLY don’t want dog saliva on the things I buy, or poopie bottoms in my shopping carts. It’s a good idea to put a spotlight on this issue, Dan, and I don’t think it’s nit picking. Store personnel and dog owners must be held responsible to make sure things stay clean and to not be as apathetic as described in some of these comments.

  17. How about the filthy hands of little kids, who are the target of such maniacal product placements? Thankfully the packaging is provided for protection from germs, viruses and buggers!
    “Not one to give up easily”…aka annoying, aka yenta.

  18. Cheryl DeMichael

    Oh my ….I hope the person taking the picture has something more important to do with his/her time. I have seen adults with colds touching the packages and would prefer the dog ! Dogs are man’s best friend, and I see first hand how they bring joy to so many. I hope we can continue to keep Westport dog friendly town!

  19. Hi and happy new year…the dogs is not the issue for me..but why would someone, human go there and spend so much money..so overpriced …

  20. Probably a cat person, bitter that Westport won’t allow a trendy Cat Cafe.

  21. Jann Colabella

    he’s just standing there! not even near the candy

  22. Robert Mitchell

    The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Guide lays down the law: with few exceptions, live animals of any kind are not permitted on the premises of a grocery store, a restaurant or other food establishment. The prohibition applies to dogs, cats, birds and other animals. Animals are unsanitary, and the law protects the national food supply from contamination from dog drool, urine, feces and other material that dogs carry on their coats and paws and might leave behind on store shelves or counters.

    • Werner Liepolt

      True except for the fact that the law the FDA lays down is superseded by the the Disability Act and any person claiming a disability and a service animal cannot be questioned about that… Plus there is no certification required for a service animal save the licensing required of any animal.

  23. I love dogs too but the day one rode in the shopping cart at Stew Leonard’s I felt was it over the top of sanitary!

  24. Dan, slow news day?

  25. Doctors don’t urge us to get flu shots because they’re concerned about dogs nuzzling packages we buy in stores – the way one gets sick from shopping is everyone sneezing and touching packages with germy hands. Dogs are welcome in stores and sometimes restaurants in various places (e.g., UK, Ireland, parts of Florida) and they add a certain civility and friendliness that I think we could all use these days – and this has a positive impact on our health and well-being!

  26. I am severely allergic to dogs. So I guess I should stay home.

  27. This may be a silly question for dog owners, but if your pooch is in a store and decides to evacuate, can you stop the act from happening? In other words, can it be safely assumed that a dog will never “let it go” in Aisle 3?

  28. It’s the same with their kids. They are allowed to run wild in the stores with the parents oblivious of them. I yelled at a kid the other day who was bashing the rolls in front of the deli counter. The mother proceed to chew me out and then I told her off as her kid was running products that someone else would buy. Dogs kids and to some extents husband’s don’t belong in stores.

  29. LOL…Ever been to Terrain at midnight…I’ve seen herds of deer, and smaller creatures of every description munching on everything outside (and inside I’m sure) the store. If they are going to allow dogs during business hours; design the displays to take the food stuffs out of dogs reach to protect the sensibilities of the delicate shoppers instead of at Dogs eye level. They may sell more at Human level. LOL.
    OH what fun your blog is!

  30. Melody James

    Ick! I LOVE DOGS but that’s disgusting. In Germany, I was told, dog OWNERS get the license; they’re responsible for training their animals, an interesting concept.

  31. Patt Campbell

    There’s room for considerations on both sides

  32. Elaine Marino

    Dan – I think you have unleashed (pun intended) the concept of “doggy meet-ups” at Terrain. Why go outside and brave the elements, when you can walk your dog indoors and enjoy the lovely offerings at Terrain?

    This Pottery Barn in Rancho Cucamonga, CA is super dog-friendly: https://www.instagram.com/p/BAfzhdnEuqk/

  33. I’d rather touch anything that a Fairfield County dog licks than touch anything on an airplane. One airline blogger just reported that flight attendants are having a difficult time keeping parents from changing diapers on those pull-down meal trays we all use for our drinks, books, food, IPhones, etc.because the lavatories on planes are getting too small to maneuver a diaper change. Oh, and most planes only get a thorough cleaning every 30 days.

    • Elaine Marino

      Deb Madison: “I’d rather touch anything that a Fairfield County dog licks than touch anything on an airplane.”

      Isn’t a dog’s “back end” the most common thing that it licks? Yuck!

  34. Lauren de Bruijn

    I am a dog lover and an animal rights activist.


    Ringworm, staph and MRSA can all be present in a dogs saliva and live on solid surfaces for months. It’s debatable whether or not animals should be allowed into stores that sell/serve food products. At the very least, those dog-friendly establishments should not place those edible retail items at shin level.

    That fact has nothing to do with being “curmudgeonly” or “nit-picky”. That’s just common sense.

  35. Alberto Escarlate

    In other news: “box licks dog”…

  36. Those of who have dogs in our homes, romping around our kitchens and dining rooms, can’t be too disturbed by the sight of them in Terrain. I actually think it’s kind of nice, and I worry more about getting run down by distracted drivers in their parking lot.