It’s easy to find stores that sell products for children, and it’s just as easy to find stores that sell products for pets, but it’s very rare to find one store that caters to both. This is where We Love Kids n Dogs comes in. Located in the Macy’s wing of the Meridian Mall, We Love Kids n Dogs is a unique boutique that combines a love for pets and children in one store. Store owner Melissa Rabideau Allen had the idea to open her own shop after designing an anti-tip dog bowl, which she calls the Poochie Bowl. “We were actually traveling around to different places, selling The Poochie Bowl, when I thought that there should be a place that sells this kind of stuff that you can’t get at other stores,” said Allen. “And that’s when we started We Love Kids n Dogs.” The specialty boutique provides shoppers with a wide variety of games and toys for both their children and pets. The store sells kits for kids that stimulate creativity and educate them on topics ranging from dinosaurs to robotics. They also sell GoldieBlox sets that are designed specifically for little girls to spark their interest in science. Bikes specially designed for younger children called Strider Bikes are also sold at We Love Kids n Dogs. The bikes are designed to be shorter with lower seats, making it easier for kids to get on and off, and helping them learn how to balance on a bike without training wheels. Inside the store, a building station called the Mini Maker Workshop is set up to encourage kids who come into the store to experiment with some of the different kits that are available in the store. We Love Kids n Dogs also hosts Take it Apart Tuesdays, a special workshop that allows kids to take things like phones or computers apart to find out what’s inside. This is to help them learn how they work in a controlled and safe environment. Mini Maker Workshop is such a popular feature of the store that Allen has decided to move her store to a larger space inside the Meridian Mall. “We had parents asking if they could hold their child’s birthday party here, but we didn’t have the space. So we are moving to a much bigger space to give more kids the chance to build,” said Allen. The store sells kits for kids as well that stimulates creativity and teaches them about different things. They have the GoldieBlox set that is aimed at little girls, with a blonde haired little girl inventing things like a tiny zip-line or a ‘movie machine’ which is really one of those old school rotating pictures. There’s also some building kits centered on robotics. Teaching kids how to step by step build a simple robot, like a robotic hand or tin can robot. There are also different themes for these kits like insects and dinosaurs. We Love Kids n Dogs also has a 3D printer that they use to help children. Kids can come in and build plastic prosthetic hands for children that may not have a hand. They send the prosthetic hand to the child in need with a picture of the maker. They also sell special bikes specially designed for younger children called strider bikes. They are shorter bikes with lower seats than other bikes, making it easier for kids to get on or off. The bikes are designed for younger kids to teach them how to stay on a bike better than if they had training wheels. As the name states, We Love Kids n Dogs also sells treats and toys for furry family members. A wide variety of safe and fun toys for dogs are available in the store. Toys range from treat-dispensing balls to rubbery toys for big and small dogs along with a dog safe rubber disc. Melissa designed and sells her Poochie Bowls that have an anti-tip design, a lip on the top to prevent spills, a wide base and it floats in case it’s ever dropped in water. It’s perfect for dogs and can be used for either water or food. “We were actually traveling around to different places, selling The Poochie Bowl, when I thought that there should be a place that sells this kind of stuff that you can’t get at other stores,” says Allen. “And that’s when we started We Love Kids n Dogs.” We Love Kids n Dogs also sells special dog shampoos to keep your pooch nice and clean. All of the products sold in the store are natural and organic. Scented shampoos, conditioners and bite and itch relief creams are all available. There are even shampoos just for puppies. Other products sold include custom cutters for large, medium or small dog treats that you can make yourself. Allen hopes that the move into a bigger space will help her store to become the biggest dog treat bar in Michigan. Be sure to look for We Love Kids n Dogs in the Meridian Mall, visit welovekidsndogs.com or follow them on Facebook.
Kyle Dowling is an employee of M3 Group and is pursuing a writing degree at LCC. He enjoys fiction writing, video games and movies.