A few years ago, I had a pretty bad Target problem. Every time I had the urge to leave the house, it was the best destination.
The only thing that cured it was moving states. Yes, there’s still a Target 10 minutes away from my house, but it’s in an unfavorable location. You need to park in a garage to get there. It’s just not as convenient. Otherwise, I’d be there every weekend with a facial expression that looks similar to that of the corgi-Aussie mixed puppy who is continuously going viral.
Zira the dog was only 4 months old at the time but learned that she loves the popular store. Twitter user @virgoprincxss, otherwise known as “Zira’s human mom” (or Jesse Donovan, to most people), posted photos of her precious furchild roaming the aisles in a cart.
Even though it happened back in 2018, it’s too sweet not to share with everyone today.
There’s only one thing wrong. Target isn’t a dog-friendly store. Since Zira’s not a service animal, she shouldn’t have actually been there. That means that this accidental trip likely won’t happen again.
Prior to sharing the photo, Zira’s mom Jesse didn’t know about Target’s rule. Since, she’s posted an apology. “By now I’m sure you’ve seen the viral post of our dog Zira in a shopping cart at Target. Upon seeing those photos, you may have wondered, ‘Can I bring my dog into Target?’ Well, we’ve learned that the answer is no,” she wrote on her blog.
“Although we had seen other dogs at our local Target and the employees and managers asked to pet Zira, we realized it was still a mistake to bring her in because, regardless of the individual circumstances, Target is a service dog-only store,” she continued. Mistakes do happen. But it is important to address since service dogs are working dogs.
That means that while Zira was willing and open to being petted, your standard service dog shouldn’t be disrupted. Service dogs can literally help someone see and hear, and they’re trained in a special way to be more of a helper than a domestic pet.
Zira is just one of the two corgi mixes that the Donovan family has. Ellie is also in the mix. Ellie is Zira’s half-sister, and the Donovan family brought her in when she was just around 6 months old. “She’s the sweetest, cuddliest, and laziest pup we could ever want,” the family’s website biography states. “With Zira and Ellie, we truly have the best of both worlds when it comes to corgis.”
Chances are, Ellie’s reaction to Target would have been just as powerful as Zira’s. Even though the Donovan family won’t repeat their mistake in the future, some of the responses to Zira’s trip are worth mentioning. As expected, many people shared their own cute dogs to Jesse’s feed.
Others cut her some slack. While it’s not the first time a dog has toured Target, and won’t be the last, at least we can use this viral moment to educate others. If you see a pet in a place where a pet shouldn’t normally be, always communicate with the owner before you get close. And see if they’re wearing a vest or clothes that distinguish them as a service pet.
On the Donovans’ blog, Zira made an effort to show people some of the stores where dogs of all sorts are more than welcome. Of course, every store depends on a call by the manager. So before you load up your pups for a retail trip, you may want to call in advance just in case.
Stores on the list include Home Depot, Ross, Marshalls, Michaels, and PetSmart. In general, pet stores are usually more than happy to have your pooch wander the aisles. A lot of it depends on the temperament of your dog. If you know your dog is not the biggest fan of other dogs, these trips may be stressful all around.
Since people often view their pets as children, more and more stores are also open to being pet-friendly. BarkPost reports that in general, Hobby Lobby, Sephora, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works, and Bed Bath & Beyond all have no problem with your dog. One thing these places have in common? They don’t sell food.
Grocery stores aren’t necessarily the most hygienic places in the world (especially when you think about shopping carts), but they definitely try their hardest. Major grocery stores often have people managing each section carefully to make sure the food being sold is as fresh and clean as possible. Dogs, unfortunately, threaten that goal.
Speaking of Bed Bath & Beyond, its New York locations have taken dog-friendly to the next level. They have designated dog-friendly shopping carts that keep your pet comfortable and out of the way. Iain Scorgie, president and CEO of Microdry, is credited with helping design this “canine cart” that helps pad the metal grid that may be uncomfortable for some pups.
If you live near a Bass Pro Shops location, the retailer also specifies particular “dog days” where dogs are the main focus. “We love dogs and they are always welcome at Bass Pro Shops,” Katie Mitchell, Bass Pro Shops communications manager, said in a 2017 release. “Besides being a great addition to any family, they make for super companions in the outdoors. Dog Days is a great way to get the latest information, tips and products to help maximize your pet’s life and activities.”
The good thing about Bass Pro Shops is that their events actually focus on your dog’s health as well as their happiness. While they’ll have fun at the events, they can also get checked for health. New dogs can also get microchipped, which is a great way to keep them safe and secure.
No matter what, the look on Zira’s face was both priceless and relatable. It’s a reminder that dogs have emotions as well, and are a lot more expressive than anyone could have thought. If you bring your pet to a dog-friendly establishment, who knows? Maybe they’ll become as famous as Zira someday.