In some cities, few downtown apartments accept four-legged residents. Happily, the Waltons' canines Mula and Biddy are welcome at the WT Grant Lofts in the Historic Gateway district, where the sibling pugs even have playmates.
"There are other dogs in the building and our landlord has a pug," says Brendan Walton, referring to developer and penthouse dweller Cynthia Chodack, who unveiled the lofts at 222 Euclid Ave. in June 2004. "When the dogs are in the elevator at the same time, it's a bark-fest!"
Before leasing their 960 square-foot, sixth-floor loft two years ago, the Waltons - both native Clevelanders - lived in Little Italy. Now they spend more time together, says Trisha Walton, an R.N. at University Hospitals' ACTU research unit.
"Brendan can walk home for lunch and dinner rather than being at A.J. Rocco's from dawn until midnight, and the dogs and I are over there a lot, sitting outside on the patio," says Trisha, 30. The pair often takes the dogs for a stroll along Mall B - a greenspace in the city's Civic Center district for some exercise. Brendan, 40, says the pups and their downtown digs afford more "street marketing opportunities" for the business he established in 2001 at the Caxton Building.
"When we're out with the dogs, residents and business owners stop to pet them and talk to us, and that turns into new business," he says. A.J. Rocco's Espresso Bar serves up java, tea, light breakfast and lunch, fine wines, liquor and beer, and live music on random nights. Mula and Biddy are currently lobbying for a "Yappy Hour" in collaboration with Cleveland's Animal Protective League.