Paws at the Door – My Experience with Hobby Lobby’s Pet Policy

Can Fido Come Shop Too? Navigating Pet Rules at the Craft Store

As an avid crafter and pet owner, I often like to combine my two passions and bring my furry companion along on trips to the craft store. However, not all retailers are pet-friendly, so I’ve learned to call ahead or check a store’s website before assuming my pooch will be welcome inside. One craft and home décor chain that many animal lovers frequent is Hobby Lobby. But what exactly is their policy on pets? Are dogs allowed in Hobby Lobby stores? Can I bring my service animal or emotional support animal inside? Read on for a complete overview of Hobby Lobby’s pet policy, along with tips for visiting with pets and respecting the rules.

Understanding Hobby Lobby’s Stance on Pets

After some research, I discovered that Hobby Lobby has no formal, published pet policy. Their customer service team confirmed that pets are generally welcome in stores, with some common-sense exceptions. Service animals are always allowed per federal law. Emotional support animals and other pets seem to be allowed at the discretion of each location’s management. So it’s a good idea to call your local Hobby Lobby in advance to learn about any specific rules or restrictions that may be in place.

In speaking with associates at my neighborhood Hobby Lobby, I was told that well-behaved leashed pets are usually fine to bring inside. However, they don’t allow pets to interact with merchandise, ride in carts, or disturb other shoppers. Management reserves the right to ask pet owners to take disruptive animals outside.

Abiding By Unwritten Rules and Courtesy Guidelines

Since the pet policy is loosely defined, I found that it helps to follow some general courtesies when shopping at Hobby Lobby with my furry friends:

  • Keep dogs on a short, non-retractable leash at all times. Even well-trained pets can get excited in a stimulating retail environment!
  • Avoid bringing dogs during the busiest shopping times, when aisles are most crowded. Weekday mornings tend to be more low-key.
  • Ask an associate before allowing your pet to sample any treats at the treat bar. Some foods may not be safe!
  • Bring clean-up bags and immediately clean accidents before continuing to shop. Store staff will appreciate the courtesy.
  • Carry proof of service animal status, especially for unconventional support animals. Educate staff on legal policies.
  • Pet smaller animals rather than letting them walk loose. Birds in carriers and leashed ferrets are lower risk.
  • Be watchful of interactions with other shoppers. Not everyone will welcome a pet sniffing them in store aisles.

Navigating Hobby Lobby’s Policies As a Responsible Pet Parent

As a conscientious pet owner, I believe in respecting local businesses’ policies and adapting my practices accordingly. I follow all staff guidance about where Leo can browse with me in-store and when it’s best for him to wait outside. We avoid aisles with delicate merchandise where his tail could cause disaster!

If Leo acts up by barking or pulling on his leash, I take him outside immediately to prevent disturbing other customers. Accidents do happen when pets get excited, so I’m prepared to swiftly handle cleanup. I also make sure Leo is healthy, pest-free, and well-groomed before taking him on public outings. This helps prevent issues for the stores we visit.

For now, Hobby Lobby’s informal pet policy works fairly well. As long as pet parents are responsible and respectful, many locations welcome leashed furry friends. However, policies can evolve over time. I’ll be sure to call my local stores on occasion to check if rules have changed, and confirm Leo is still welcome to help me pick out yarn for our next knitting project. Staying informed is the key to keeping pets included in our crafting adventures!

My Experiences Bringing Leo Along on Shopping Trips

Now that I’ve learned the (unwritten) guidelines, Leo and I have enjoyed several pleasant trips to Hobby Lobby together. I make a point to visit during their least busy weekday hours to reduce congestion in aisles. I keep Leo on his short handle-grasp leash so he stays close by my side. When looking at tiny craft supplies or in crowded sections, I opt to carry him rather than risk any accidents.

The staff at my local store know Leo by name now and always greet him warmly while reminding me to keep him leashed. They don’t mind when he selects a toy from the pet section or samples a treat by the registers after asking permission. I watch Leo closely, prepared to lead him outside if his excitable puppy energy gets out of hand. But so far he’s been calm and well-mannered during our Hobby Lobby visits.

While some customers steer clear of us in aisles, most don’t seem bothered by Leo’s presence as long as he’s under control. Kids especially get a kick out of having a cute canine shopping buddy! With reasonable precautions, I’ve had no issues bringing him along. It’s been great to combine my crafting and canine care passions.

Service Animals Enjoy Full Access, With Proper Etiquette

One important exception to Hobby Lobby’s informal pet policy is for service dogs and miniature horses. These highly trained animals must be allowed inside under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I’ve seen several service dogs accompanying people with disabilities at my local Hobby Lobby.

The store never asks for “proof” of service animal status, which is against ADA laws. But I do recommend service animal handlers carry certification or wear identifying gear, since unconventional support animals are more prone to access challenges. Educating staff on legal policies is also a good idea.

That said, even service animal owners should follow basic etiquette like keeping dogs leashed and under control. Letting service dogs play with store merchandise is still inappropriate. While legally protected, it’s smart for service teams to adhere to the spirit of a location’s policies. This helps ensure that pets retain their public access rights.

Impromptu Pet Visits Don’t Always Go Smoothly

During Leo’s last visit to Hobby Lobby, I realized how essential it is to prepare before bringing pets shopping. We were on our usual stroll when I spontaneously decided to pop into the store “just for a minute.” Without my purse, I didn’t have Leo’s collapsible water bowl or any cleanup bags.

Within a few aisles, an excited Leo began to get rambunctious. He barked at other shoppers and even jumped up to snatch a stuffed animal off a shelf! Embarrassed, I apologized while corralling Leo and his new toy. We hurried through the checkout line to leave.

This experience taught me to think ahead before spontaneously bringing Leo places. I now carry backup supplies during all our walks in case we end up going into any stores. Having cleanup bags, collapsible bowls, and leashes on hand makes visits more smooth, and shows that I’m a responsible pet parent.

While the visit didn’t go perfectly, the staff was still understanding. They know Leo is normally well-behaved during planned trips to the store. But the scenario reminded me that thorough preparation is key to avoiding issues when pets tag along on retail outings.

Cautiously Optimistic for the Future

For now, I’m thrilled that Leopold and I can enjoy Hobby Lobby trips together with some reasonable precautions. The unofficial policy of permitting leashed, controlled pets provides a nice middle ground. But I’m aware that policies evolve, and pet access remains complicated.

As I’ve researched this issue, I’ve learned that Walmart, Lowe’s, Michael’s, and other chains recently tightened policies after an increase in incidents. With pets’ popularity booming, more owners may push boundaries. I want to be proactive to retain our pet privileges.

Moving forward, I will be on my best behavior when bringing Leo along to Hobby Lobby. We will follow all guidelines, be conscientious of others, and help demonstrate that pets can blend into retail environments harmoniously. This will hopefully show that friendly, supervised pets have a place in stores and prevent future restrictions.

With extra care and preparation, Leo and I look forward to many more crafting adventures together at Hobby Lobby. And I’ll be sure to call ahead and confirm our local store’s current pet policy before each trip. Staying up-to-date and abiding by the rules is the best way to keep pets welcomed by businesses for years to come.

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