A plastic box of doggie treats hangs by the sign outside Sweet Pea's Pet Boutique. Worthington-area dogs have already sniffed it out, it seems.

A plastic box of doggie treats hangs by the sign outside Sweet Pea's Pet Boutique. Worthington-area dogs have already sniffed it out, it seems.

"We always leave the box out there for all the people that are walking around at 5 in the morning," said Ralph Brannon, who owns the pet boutique with Laurie Wilson. "We have trained the dogs to know where the treats are."

Sweet Pea's opened in the lower-level retail space behind Wren House in Worthington in November. It closed for a while during some building construction and re-opened in earnest recently.

Wilson and Brannon also run Sweet Laurie's Old Tyme Photo next door, and the pair has big plans for the adjoining patio - like possible "yappy hours" and, of course, pet photography opportunities.

The store's selection ranges from rough-and-tumble, indestructible toys to cutesy outfits and doggie nail polish. Plus, Sweet Pea's offers basics like collars, bowls and grooming supplies in addition to a selection of bagged kibble.

Doggie puzzles from Nina Ottosson have been a surprisingly big seller, Brannon said. Sweet Pea's offers these engaging toys, which challenge a dog to slide or remove parts to reveal treats, in a range of skill levels.

The store's customizable clothing has been another hit. In a sewing room off to one side of the shop, Wilson can embroider just about anything on the back of a doggie (or kitty) shirt or hoodie, available in a range of sizes and solid colors.

Other specialties include collars and clothing with Buckeyes and Cavs themes, and super-soft blankets and beds, including one shaped like an oversized chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.

Kitties aren't overlooked here, either. Although Brannon admits there aren't as many accessories available to bring in, Sweet Pea's carries all the catnip and wand/string/feather toys you could need, plus a line of locally made scratching posts called Freaky Fish.

And what they don't have in stock, Brannon and Wilson will work to get. Quite a bit of the current merchandise - like the Nina Ottosson puzzles and some popular elk antler chews - joined the regular selection because of customer requests.

For more store news and daily sale updates, click to the Window Shopping blog