These Milwaukee Businesses All Have ‘Official’ Pets on Staff

Why get your own pet when you can find one at your local record store (or cafe, or hotel…)?

If you don’t have a pet of your own – or you’re just sad anytime you have to leave them at home – fear not. There are spots around town where you can cure that cat or canine loneliness. Where in Milwaukee should you go to get a fix of furry, fuzzy pet goodness? We’ve got you covered.

Photo by Ryan Peschman

Sip & Purr

Milwaukee will soon be welcoming its own cat cafe, the newest trend taking the world by storm (like the Cronut, except with fewer calories and more purring). Owner Katy McHugh will be opening the doors to delightfully happy-sounding destination Sip & Purr in early 2018.

“I owe the idea of Sip & Purr to an unexpected encounter with a cat named Gigi,” McHugh said. “A big yellow tabby who sauntered over and made herself at home on my lap, when I was at a cafe in Amsterdam. It was so peaceful that I didn’t want to leave,” McHugh said. “That got me thinking: How could I take this experience back home with me?”

Come for coffee, wine or some tasty fare. Stay for the cats. And, if you happen to fall in love with one of them and can’t tear yourself away, you might just be able to take it home with you.

Acme Records

Music and a friendly, furry face – that’s a pretty winning combination. Visitors to Acme Records in Bay View get exactly that. “When Acme opened, I had a dog named Penny,” shopkeeper Ken Chrisien said. “She was there for the build-out of the shop and was a regular nearly every single day for almost five years. She sadly passed away back in April of 2017.”

A new member of the family now welcomes shoppers: a dog named Gertie. And she, too, has her very own set of doggie duties. “She comes in to work with me nearly every single day as well,” Chrisien said. “When I give her the day off, most people that come in are already wondering where she is, why she isn’t there, etc.”

Photo by Lisa Peterson

Hounds Around Town

Whitefish Bay locals all love Lars. For the uninitiated, Lars is the CFO – Chief Fetching Officer – of Hounds Around Town pet store. Passersby on the busy, pedestrian-friendly stretch of Silver Spring Drive will often stop in just to see Lars.

“He grew up learning how to be my store dog and loves his job!” owner Lisa Peterson said of the 95-pound, five-year-old Golden Retriever. “His size, combined with his very gentle and loving personality, makes him irresistible to most of my customers. He is especially loved by the children who come into the store, who can often be seen lying next to him on the floor giving him a belly rub.”

Hilton Hotel Milwaukee

Concierge Rusty Dahler’s canine companion, Millie, has become a friend to many over the span of just a year as the Hilton’s official “canine concierge.”

According to Dahler, a lot of details had to be considered when determining the right type of dog to bring on staff: the breed had to be on the smaller side (since some hotel guests are afraid of larger dogs), shed-free and hypoallergenic. “The temperament was crucial,” Dahler said, “so [I] spent time talking to breeders who could assist in finding a dog that would be a daily friend to our rather large, 729-room hotel.”

Millie was born in September, 2016, and began “working” for a few hours at a time at ten weeks of age. She now spends 40 hours a week welcoming guests to the hotel. The directive “say hello” instructs her to head to the line of check-ins, where she, indeed, says hello.

Other spots where you might encounter Spot (or Whiskers)? The Harley Davidson Museum is home to Ozzy, and Lost Wonders comic book store is the place to find a kitty named Boo!