FARGO - When Archie goes to Scheels he’s a shopper with a mission.

Get all the treats.

Get all the scratches.

Belly rubs won’t be turned down.

Archie, a 2-year-old goldendoodle who probably is part social-doodle, too, owns a goodly share of the hearts of Kylee and Nick Lisburg.

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That’s why they take him wherever they can.

“He has his stops he likes. First we go up the stairs to the treat department, and then around to the hunting and gaming area, and then we go around by the arcade games. Then back down the stairs to the clothing department,” Archie’s furever mom, Kylee, said during a recent pre-Christmas stop.

On the second floor of the outdoors emporium, Nick held a big package of Archie’s favorite chews.

“He knows the treats are upstairs,” Kylee said. “He tells us what to buy.”

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For Archie, Scheels “is like Disney World,” Nick said. He gets plenty of stimulation in the store, with its Christmastime crowds and the Ferris wheel.

“This tires him out enough and kids love to pet him,” Nick said.

Kylee and Nick Lisburg along with Archie, look over the dog toys at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5.
David Samson / The Forum
Kylee and Nick Lisburg along with Archie, look over the dog toys at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5. David Samson / The Forum

Archie is not the only pup patrolling area stores, as more and more people are seeking out places that they can bring in their furever friends.

When Rachel Mrozinski moved from California to Fargo in 2016, she knew she wanted a dog.

After that, she decided that she wanted some friends, not only for herself, but her pup, too.

That’s why she founded Downtown Dogs Fargo-Moorhead.

“I just wanted to create a safe space for people to make friends with people and dogs to make friends with dogs,” Mrozinski said Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The group, now mostly coordinated through a Facebook page, started doing meet-ups at local dog parks, then later started meeting at taprooms and restaurants that allowed dogs on their patios.

Kylee and Nick Lisburg and Archie visit with fellow dog owners Madison Brantner and Joseph Muchlinski at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5. David Samson / The Forum
Kylee and Nick Lisburg and Archie visit with fellow dog owners Madison Brantner and Joseph Muchlinski at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5. David Samson / The Forum

Mrozinski has since added events like DOGA - yoga with doggies, and monthly meet-ups at facilities such as Fargo’s Barks & Recreation. There are also critter-lover-only craft events coming up, including “Paws, Paint and Pints” at Wild Terra Cider, or pet dish making at Front Street Taproom.

In January, they will also also do pawzercize. A local dance teacher will teach humans a beginners' dance workout while the dogs run around and play.

“It’s more goofy than serious, because you can’t get a ton done while dogs are running around,” Mrozinski said.

She hopes other area stores follow the lead of Home Depot, Lowe’s, Scheels and others who allow dogs to roam the aisles with their humans.

“I think that if people can bring their kids places, people should be able to bring their dogs places. I think I know many kids that could do way more damage than my dog could,” Mrozinski said

“During the winter, basically, there’s no options (to socialize) unless they want to leave their dog at home. That kind of sucks, not many people want to do that,” Mrozinski said.

Teresa Terry works on obedience training with her Irish wolfhound Rowan at Runnings in Moorhead on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Terry is preparing Rowan to work as a therapy dog for people in hospitals and nursing homes. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
Teresa Terry works on obedience training with her Irish wolfhound Rowan at Runnings in Moorhead on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Terry is preparing Rowan to work as a therapy dog for people in hospitals and nursing homes. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Who's a good boy?

Of course, heading out shopping - especially during the busy holiday season - is not something every dog can do.

Some dogs don’t get along well with other dogs, while other dogs don’t get along well with children or adults other than those they consider to be in their pack. To join the social scene, they need to be chill canine citizens.

That’s where people like Allison Case, a certified canine training and behavior specialist, come in handy.

Case runs Vigilant K9 LLC. She helps area dog owners train their pups to be American Kennel Club-certified good citizens or even therapy dogs.

Case says Fargo-Moorhead has a number of “super dog friendly” stores, and she wants that group to grow. That requires trust that dog owners will be responsible owners.

“We understand they’re still stores and that not everyone likes dogs,” so dog owners must be sure their pups behave well, Case said.

One of her dogs is search-and-rescue trained. Shopping is a good mental exercise, she said..

“For me it’s really nice to be able to make him a little bit more bomb-proof. He’s expected to behave in any situation, no matter what, in a lot of chaos. So being able to take him into Scheels on a Saturday when there’s a ton of people” and making sure he’ll listen and behave is a huge bonus, she said.

“The more exposure they get, typically, the less excitable they get, because they’re used to those situations,” Case said.

Dogs need to be well-behaved, trustworthy and listen to control commands in new environments.

“Making sure they heel, making sure they can sit at doorways, making sure they can walk in appropriately,” Case said.

Taking part in training classes and keeping hounds on a short leash are also helpful, she said.

One of Case’s training sessions was at Runnings in Moorhead on Wednesday evening.

Not just a pet

Teresa Terry was there with her gentle giant, Rowan, a year-old Irish wolfhound.

Rowan is a daunting sight already. At not quite a year old, he’s already a whipcord lean 130 pounds. In the next year or so, he’ll probably put on some weight, Terry said. His sire is 190 pounds.

For all that, Rowan is a budding master of mellow and a hit with kids.

“We hope to become a therapy team so we can go into hospitals and nursing homes,” the Fargo woman said. “His disposition is wonderful.”

Terry enjoys doing retail therapy with her super-economy-sized pup.

“It’s nice not to leave him at home. I’m a dog mom. I got him to be a companion, not a pet,” Terry said.

“You learn, Your dog learns. You learn what they feel comfortable with and what they don’t feel comfortable with,” Terry said. “Hopefully it (the experience) will make us a better therapy team,” Terry said.

Archie, owned by Kylee and Nick Lisburg, checks out the surroundings at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5.
David Samson / The Forum
Archie, owned by Kylee and Nick Lisburg, checks out the surroundings at Scheels in south Fargo on Thursday, Dec. 5. David Samson / The Forum

Back at Scheels, Nick figures at least 30 people will come up to Archie each time they visit Scheels.

When Archie sees new people, it’s like, “No, we’re not leaving until I say hello,” Kylee said.

Other favorite spots for Archie are Natural Pet Center, Home Depot, and Drekker Brewery, “because there’s a lot of people there, too,” Kylee said.

He’s also done his share of downward and upward dogs at doggie yoga.

“During the end, during the relaxation part, he was laying on a mat with his legs up in the air,” Kylee said.

Archie feels very comfortable in Scheels. In fact, if no one is around to pet him, and his owners stop for a couple seconds, he’ll just plop down and watch the world go by.

“It helps that there are stores in the area that allow dogs, especially when it’s 20-below (zero) out,” Nick said. “We try to take him as many places as we can. We didn’t get a dog to leave him at home.”

But every good thing comes to an end. Even a good boy has to move on, and Archie does so, pulling Kylee behind him past the Ferris wheel and through the team clothing.

After all, Archie’s got places to be and people to sniff.

F-M hound havens

There are a number of stores in the Fargo-Moorhead area that are pet friendly. Among them are:

  • Scheels, 1551 45th St. S., Fargo. Dogs are welcome throughout most of the store, but are note allowed in the coffee and fudge shop.
  • Scheels, 505 Center Ave., Moorhead
  • Scheels Home & Hardware, 3202 13th Ave. S., Fargo.
  • Fleet Farm, 3730 36th St. S., Fargo.
  • Harbor Freight Tools, 3207 Main Ave, Fargo.
  • Home Depot, 4700 17th Ave. S., Fargo. Dog’s must be on a leash and not disturb other shoppers.
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement, 5100 13th Ave. S., Fargo.
  • Runnings, 3000 U.S. Highway 10, Moorhead
  • Tractor Supply Co., 3330 U.S. Highway 10, Moorhead.
  • Petco, 1126 43th St. SW., Fargo.
  • Petsmart, 1630, 13th Ave. E., West Fargo
  • Natural Pet Center, 3037 13th Ave. S., Fargo.
  • Amy’s Hallmark Shop, First Center South, 3051 25th St. S., Fargo. Pets must be well-behaved and on a leash or held.
  • Barnes & Noble, 1201 42nd St. S., Fargo. The store allows pets that are well-behaved and leashed or held. However, only service animals are allowed in the coffee shop area.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond, 4340 13th Ave. S., Suite 1, Fargo.
  • Beyond Running, 516 Broadway N, Fargo.
  • Drekker Brewing Co. (Dogs can be indoors, but only in the barrel room.), 1666 1st Ave N, Fargo.
  • Hobby Lobby, 4427 13th Ave. S., Fargo.
  • Michaels, 1638 13th Ave. E., West Fargo. The store, a tail wag away from Petsmart, is “pet friendly all the way through," a manager said.
  • Old Navy, 4440 13th Ave SW., Fargo.
  • Others, 218 Broadway N, Fargo.
  • Pets R’ Inn, West Acres shopping mall, 3902 13th Ave. S. The shop in the mall is the only one open to all pets. The rest of the mall is generally open only to service animals, a mall spokeswoman said.
  • Unglued, 408 Broadway N, Fargo
  • Zandbroz Variety, 420 Broadway N, Fargo. Well-behaved dogs are allowed, but the shop asks that you let them know you’d like to come in with your canine buddy.

When the weather is warm, some restaurants and taprooms allow dogs on their outdoor patios. The Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau lists some at www.fargomoorhead.org/outdoor-activities/article/dog-friendly-spots-check-fargo-moorhead/.

Some websites list stores that are reportedly pet friendly. However, that may not hold true for every location. Be sure to check signs, often by entry doors, that state whether or not a business will allow animals other than service animals.

If you are unsure if your pup or kitty will be welcome at a store, call ahead and ask.