Apparently everyone in the retail real estate food chain — from customers to landlords — is a sucker for four legs and a wagging tail. New York City pet stores are surviving the financial downturn thanks to pet owners unwilling to scrimp when it comes to their pooches, and landlords who are more amenable to negotiations with canine-catering tenants, the New York Times reported. In fact, many pet stores are even expanding operations, despite the overall dismal environs for the retail real estate market. One Tribeca pet shop, Spot, which just signed a 10-year lease for 5,000 square feet at 145 West 20th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, said that it plans to open an Upper West Side outpost. The pet-related business is so vivacious that some brokers, including Victor Menkin, founder and president of Menkin Realty Services, report a noticeable uptick in demand for space from pet shop owners. “The fact that this niche is continuing to show strength in times of strife is a real statement about the importance of pets to people,” Menkin said.