Lafayette rolls out the welcome hydrant

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:48

New dog-friendly attitude encourages shoppers to bring along their pooches, By Beth Kalet Lafayette — They have a goal. To put Lafayette on the map as the most dog-friendly place in New Jersey. And this weekend the results of nearly a year of planning, renovating and creating a canine-centric universe will be front and center during a two-day event called Dog Days of Summer. The program on July 9 and 10 is designed to focus attention on the new dog-friendly atmosphere at Olde Lafayette Village and the Lafayette Mill. It’s all about making sure humans know just how welcoming the region is to them and their dogs. What’s the big deal? Borrowable dog bowls and buckets of fresh water Biodegradable waste bags Signs indicating which stores invite dogs to browse along with their owners A new, state-of-the art grooming salon on site A new, 2,000-sq.-ft. doggie daycare center An off-leash, quarter-acre fenced-in dog run Dog product sections in many shops A walking path for dogs and/or people linking The Mill to the Village Americans love dogs Jen Liu, owner of Fuzzy Nation, is the spark behind making Lafayette so dog-friendly. She knows about Americans’ obsession with dogs. She designs innumerable dog-related products for humans, including dog-shaped purses, slippers, jewelry — all with a whimsical tone. “People want places to go and recreate with their dogs,” she said. And since the Village and the Mill are both off the beaten path and literally are parks, the setting is more than appropriate for pets and people. With this new push, they hope to attract people from outside the area as well as those who are passing by, so they know they can make a pit stop at the shopping areas, walk around, let their dog run off-leash a bit, grab a bite, and get back on the road. They can even get a bite for their dogs, as some of the shops will be featuring doggie cuisine. “We’ve always had animals here,” said Don Kihlstrom of the Lafayette Mill. The Mill offers a collection of antiques shops and the Millside Cafe. “Eighty percent of the time if you tell someone their pet isn’t welcome, they won’t stay.” He finds that pet-owners are thoughtful about how their pets behave. With the addition of the designated bags, cans and watering spots, both Kihlstrom and Liu think pet-owners will be tickled. Sparta man overseeing doggie day care center A newly created doggie day care center is 2,000-sq.-ft. Every dog will get fresh linen and a fresh pillow, and a staff of newly trained dog sitters under the supervision of Mark Hutchison. of Sparta. He’s bringing his own twin sons, who’ve just completed their freshman year in college, as well as a group of other teens, to the job. Everyone will be trained first by professionals. To keep the costs of day care low for customers, shoppers will get discounts on their day care bill with receipts from purchases at the antiques shops at the Mill and at stores in Olde Lafayette Village. In addition to this weekend’s program of presentations by experts on dog training, grooming, agility, healthcare and more, Liu says she is planning many events throughout the year. Get ready for Yappy Hours.

Dog Days of Summer
On July 9 and 10, special events for dog-lovers and the objects of their affection will be featured at Olde Lafayette Village and the Lafayette Mill. Dog Days of Summer is a two-day program of dog training, healthcare and exercise events on the grounds of Olde Lafayette Village.
This hoopla is designed to draw attention to an atmosphere that will remain in place on the grounds and in the attitudes of the merchants at both of the two major Lafayette destinations.