The dog days of summer

I realize this is hardly hard-hitting news.

Lots of people in my NDG neighbourhood have dogs and appreciate it when businesses offer water bowls outdoors for their dogs. A local franchise of a supermarket chain called Provigo wants to offer dog owners a designated place to tie up their four-legged friends while they shop. The dogs get bottled water in stainless steel dog bowls.

I wrote an article about it  for the July 9 issue of the Free Press, a paper in my neck of the woods (my article is on page 14).

Unfortunately the photo I wanted to accompany the story never ran. Instead another a photo I took was published. It offers a view of the supermarket’s new “doggy bar” area, which looks like a bleak stretch of pavement with no dogs in sight.

Here’s the story, plus the photo I wanted published and waited hours to take. There was a heat wave and it took over two days of searching to find a dog using the space!

Provigo provides place to tether dogs

By Stephanie O’Hanley

The Provigo store on Monkland Ave. has posted huge signs announcing in French an opportunity for shoppers with dogs — a “waiting room” on the Marcil Ave. side of the building reserved especially for four-legged friends.

The “waiting room” is not really a room at all, but a stretch of pavement about the length of two parking spaces where five rings for tethering dog leashes have been drilled into the wall. To quench dogs’ thirst, there are two dog bowls filled with bottled water.

The store’s director, Mélanie Boisclair, made the doggy “waiting room” happen about a month ago. At press time, Boisclair was on vacation, but the store’s service manager, Denis Gauthier, called client reaction “favourable,” with plenty of people using the space reserved for dogs.

Last week, when temperatures reached over 30°C, few dogs were seen at the new reserved space. Last Friday a Free Press reporter observed a woman tying her dog’s leash just under the awning near the store’s front entrance, only to be advised by customer Josée-Renée Trudeau about the doggy area on the Marcil side of the building. Rather than do this, the woman and her dog left.

“This is nice,” said Trudeau, of Provigo’s new initiative. “I used to have a dog. They’re in the shade and they have water.”

On Saturday morning, however, the Marcil side of the building was in in full sun. Old Orchard resident Anne Adams, a Provigo customer who was walking by the store with her small dog, Punkie, said she wouldn’t use the doggy “waiting room.”

“In this heat, it should be an area that’s not going to be boiling hot,” said Adams. “It should be on the other (Monkland) side, an area under the awning. She’s (Boisclair) made an effort, but it’s the wrong effort.”

Gauthier said as far as he knows, Boisclair has no plans to install an awning to protect dogs from sun, rain or snow.

Area resident Marie, who preferred to give only her first name, used the outdoor dog area on Saturday morning to briefly tether her dog Bérénice, a chocolate Labrador, as she shopped for groceries. “I’m happy,” she said. “I find this is terrific. I only hope people with more aggressive dogs will tie them at a distance,” she said, adding that when she shops, her dog is the only one there.

berenice, a labrador dog on a leash tied to wall, lies down on pavement waiting for her owner

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