Dog Décor

07 May 2024

Furnishings dedicated to your furry friends


By E.C.Waldron

Photo by Joanna Madden

When a dog drinks out of an ornate engraved bowl or climbs into a raised embossed bed to sleep, do they realize they are special to their humans?

“You bet they do—at least mine does,” said Karen Patrohay, talking about her family’s Shi-Poo, Sunshine.

Patrohay is the owner of Michael’s Barkery on Daniel Island. The pet specialty business has been booming for years, but Patrohay said the isolation of Covid made fur babies even more important to everyone.

Her family’s store opened right before the pandemic and went from dog food pickup at the curb to a full bakery operation, grooming services and pet clothing, like tie-dyed t-shirts and tutus.

Family Integration

Son Michael was the inspiration for the baked goods. He made baking dog treats his senior business project in high school. He was also the inspiration for the mission of the Barkery: Michael has an intellectual disability, and so do several of the store’s employees. The Barkery is a place that provides opportunities for adults with cognitive disabilities.

And this store provides the high-end pet home products with a neighborhood feel. One of the essential design elements are stylish “toy boxes” where all the furry, squeaky things can be stashed when company comes—unless it’s a doggie play date, of course.

There are also dog planters, and photo frames with your breed’s name, all ready for their close-up.

“We have matching ceramic bowls and that match the treat canisters and even have matching place mats,” said Patrohay.

Reason Behind the Designs

Some of the feeding options are based on research and benefit the health of a canine. Food bowls come in many heights because it has been found taller dogs digest food better when they are not straining down to get at their meal.

“For Great Danes we have a nice big one with tall legs,” said Patrohay, “and many come in all kinds of colors. Some are robin egg blue  and some are hand rubbed for a whitewashed look.”

Every small business owner must be wise about what they order from suppliers with the eye for a decent profit. Patrohay said she had to think twice before ordering a dog love seat which would retail for around $600. It was as big as a small couch.

“It took up a lot of space in our store, but everybody absolutely loved it and they loved putting their dogs on it and taking their pictures and sure enough, it sold.”

For those who want to celebrate or commemorate a particular beloved canine, there are a lot of options. Michael’s Barkery doesn’t stock many statues, but you can go online and buy one on Etsy for instance.

Never Forget Them

There are statues of ceramic, bronze, wood and even clay. Some are to size, and for outside the home: such as a life size Doberman to stand guard. A wooden girl and her dog in an embrace for a daughter’s bookshelf.  A statue of a beloved poodle to pay homage after the pet’s death. Options range from a cake topper of your favorite pet for $11, to a life-size bronze Rottweiler for $1,200.

You can send a photo of your pup to a particular business on Etsy, and they can paint or sculpt your best friend perfectly.

Shopping online does give you more options in certain ways—but at the Barkery on Daniel Island, you get to show off your pride and joy in person or on your phone.

And for the pup, there’s one word for visiting Michael’s Barkery on a doggie shopping trip: Woof! Especially when your special Fido gets a delicious piece of hand-baked dog cake!

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