The most common type of animal cafes are the cat cafes. The very first one ever opened Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998, calling itself "Cat Flower Garden." After becoming a popular tourist destination, the trend caught on, and really blossomed in Japan, and Tokyo clocks in at around 39 cat cafes.
Dog Cafes are also popular in Asia, and the animal cafes began there because people who live in cities generally live in spaces too small for, and which do not allow pets.
Since being able to own pets is more common in North America the animal cafes here tend to not have permanent animal residents (as most do in Asia), but rather focus on showcasing rescued animals who are up for adoption. This is an amazing system that can save animals who would otherwise be put down, gives people a chance to really socialize with an animal before adopting it, and as a bonus means you can visit the cafe many times and have new furry faces to see each time you go.
Lucky for those who live there, the trend has finally spread to North America! It began with cat cafes, but finally America has its first ever dog cafe!
Appropriately named The Dog Cafe, it it officially launched April 7th in Los Angeles, and we were there opening day to get exclusive photos, videos, and the inside scoop on the cute dogs they have up for adoption.
The Dog Cafe is located in a somewhat unassuming little strip mall wedged between Silver Lake and Korea Town. There's free hourly parking in the street lot and more underground.
Though it's best to book before you go (at the moment The Dog Cafe is booked 10 days in advance as of this article) you are still able to show up early and wait to see if someone misses their booking. Entry is $10 an hour and includes one of their drinks. There's coffee, various teas and tea lattes, and flavored lemonade (the lavender and rose are both very popular).
All drinks are put into to go cups with lids (so you don't get any puppy hair in them!), and on the hour you can go in and pet all the pups! While you're waiting you can check out everything in the cafe itself.
Cute dog stuff is bountiful in the cafe, and they're all for sale! Various dog socks (I went for a pair of pugs), dog shark bed, books, purses, and their catchy "Coffee Cups and Rescue Pups" slogan T-shirts, all make a great souvenir to take home.
Once inside the dog portion of The Dog Cafe (the area where they prepare drinks and sell merchandise in a separate space next door), you can play and pet to your heart's content for an hour. There are a few toys, and a treat dispenser where you can buy kibble to feed to the pups. The space is bright and cheerily painted, and there is ample seating for both people and pups.
All of the dogs at The Dog Cafe are rescues who are up for adoption. Kate, who works with the dogs at the cafe, told World of Angus, "We work with shelters all over LA, and try to save dogs slated to be put down at some of LAs biggest kill shelters. We know people who work at those shelters, who will call us to say 'we have a dog you absolutely need to save!' and even though we try to limit the number of dogs in the Cafe, we really can't say no. We usually have a one in, one out policy, but we already had two dogs get adopted during our soft-opening, and we took three new dogs in, in their place."
"Our adoption policy is very thorough," she added, when asked what the protocol for taking one of their pups home is. "We have a really rigorous screening process for adoptions because we want to make sure that our dogs, who have already had hard lives, go to a really stable and loving home that will definitely be their forever home."
When your time is up there's a table with lint rollers to de-hair your pants, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc. If you've fallen particularly in love with one of their dogs and you'd like to apply for ownership you can find the online application on their website here.
At the moment you cannot bring your own dog to the cafe, but in the future the owners hope to be able to have that be a part of the experience as well. Of course if you'd like to adopt from them, and you already have a dog, you can arrange for the two of them to meet for a playdate as part of the adoption process.
So the next time you're in the LA area make sure you stop by The Dog Cafe. You'll leave with a smile on your face, a good drink in your belly, fur on your pants, maybe some cute merchandise, and if you're really lucky you could leave with your new best friend.