Shopping with your dog? Join the pack in the Madison area

Wisconsin State Journal | When they lived in L.A., Madison native Grace Wang and her Yorkie, Beni, got invited to all kinds of over-the-top celebrations for “dog-obsessed people,” as Wang describes them: pup-themed “bark mitzvahs,” “yappy hours” and other flashy galas designed for pooches and their humans.

Wang had received tiny Beni, a 1½-pound puppy at the start, as a gift from a friend, and the photogenic dog would soon become her constant companion, as well as the inspiration for her shop Petphoria. With both a permanent location in Middleton and a pop-up presence at Hilldale shopping center, the boutique shop — covered in logos featuring a dog uncannily resembling Beni himself — offers luxury pet gifts, such as custom dog bowls and pet treats in gift containers designed to even look good sitting on a kitchen counter.

The Petphoria owner loves being at Hilldale — where some customers and their dogs stop by daily — and hopes the pop-up might become a permanent resident there. The store even features a pup-size couch in pink for a canine photo or selfie.

“This is our demographic,” said Wang, a Memorial High School graduate who employs small and local businesses as her vendors. “Everything here is made with love.”

A few doors down from Petphoria, the front shop window at Morgan’s Shoes bears a sticker proclaiming it as a dog-friendly business. A dog bowl filled with water sparkles in the sunlight near the doorway.

Although only their humans wear shoes, companion dogs are frequent visitors to the shoe store, said staff member Megan Natzke. She doesn’t mind the extra visitors — even as a cat owner herself. “They’re usually very well-behaved,” she said.

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