My Best Friends Place to hold grand opening Saturday

My Best Friends Place pet cafe sits on Don King Road on Tuesday. Staff photo by Taylor Balkom

My Best Friends Place, a pet retail store that opened last month, has just launched its Dog and Cat Cafe that will have a grand opening celebration, complete with a pet alligator, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday at its 4227 Don King Road location.

The cafe, which features a small fenced dog park in the back, officially opened two weeks ago. Dog owners are able to bring their dogs and watch them play, while they sip some coffee on the courtyard or inside the cafe — which has treats available for humans and dogs.

While enjoying coffee, guests are invited to view the BARK for ART Gallery, which is dog and cat related artwork that hangs on the walls of the cafe. The first artwork was donated by Maida Kelley, and the proceeds go towards the animals under the care of the BARK Rescue at My Best Friends Place.

The retail part of the business carries food, treats, toys, grooming supplies, training and behavior aids, supplements and natural remedy products. It also has a fish room with tropical fish and aquarium and tank supplies, among other items.

Gretchen Moore, the owner of My Best Friends Place and Groomingdales Pet Resort, said the idea for the pet cafe came to her a few years ago.

“I was in Seattle and had a hotel room that kind of overlooked a little dog park,” Moore said. “I watched people with dogs, happy dogs, go into a coffee shop, grab a cup of coffee and then they would walk another block and go to the dog park.”

If someone doesn’t have a dog but wants some animal attention, the new addition to My Best Friends Place also includes Litterbox Lodge — a room next to the dog park — that has adoptable cats to play with.

There are a few rules to follow for the Dog and Cat Cafe, including no children under the age of 12 are allowed in the courtyard or cafe areas. However, Saturday will be a family day, where everyone will be welcome.

“Just for safety purposes,” Moore said. “It’s really hard to watch your own children, watch your dog, and watch other people’s dogs.”

A few other rules include: Dog owners must be 18 or older to be allowed in the courtyard, no treats or food of any kind, or glass containers are permitted in the courtyard, and aggressive or female dogs in heat are not allowed.

“Owners must immediately leash and remove the dogs from the courtyard at the first sign of aggressive, hostile, or combative behavior,” the rules state.

A full list of rules is available on the business’ Facebook page, and will be available at the grand opening event on Saturday. My Best Friends Place is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“I thought Ketchikan needed something for people and their pets,” Moore said.