Cat cafes have been a popular attraction in Japan for several years, inspiring other enterprising people to open up cat cafes all around Asia, Europe, and the United States. Though cat cafes are a great way for cat lovers to get their caffeine and cat-fix all in one convenient spot, where are dog lovers to go? Fortunately, for Los Angelenos, there is a solution to the canine-caffeine conundrum: a Dog Cafe which offers a place for people to enjoy their typical cafe beverages and the company of dogs! There's a whole lot to love about this idea already, but we think that the absolute best part about The Dog Cafe is that all their dogs are adoptable, making it a great and novel way for people to find a new furry family member. The founder and owner of The Dog Cafe, Sarah Wolfgang, took a few moments out of her busy day to tell us what inspired her to open a canine-centered cafe (and why she believes a coffee house environment can help dogs get adopted), one of her favorite adoption stories, and much more.
We'd love to know the story behind the Dog Cafe! Who founded it and where did the idea come from?
The Dog Cafe was founded by me, Sarah Wolfgang, when I first moved to L.A. two and a half years ago. I felt there was a need to allow people to see shelter dogs in their true light.
What advantages may the Dog Cafe have over the typical animal shelter/rescue?
The Dog Cafe allows people to see the dogs in a less stressful environment, where they can spend time with them at their leisure. We also have a much smaller selection of dogs, which allows each pup to have their own spotlight.
Image: Wendy Newell, Dogster
How can people visit the Dog Cafe? Is it by reservation only?
We encourage people to make reservations to visit our cafe. We will also take walk-ins if we have the space. We have a $10 entrance fee that includes a drink.
For those who haven't been there yet or who don't live in the area, please paint a picture of what a visit to the Dog Cafe is like.
The cafe portion is a take-out only coffee shop. We've set up the front of the cafe to serve as a retail shop. Our coffee shop offers a variety of beverages, including lavender, rose, and ginger lemonades, as well as a few items distinct to our cafe, such as our carob "mocha" latte (much dog-friendlier than chocolate!). After customers get their drinks from our cafe, they can head over to the dog lounge. Our lounge is very open, with seating running against the walls to allow a central space for the dogs to run around and play (when they're not hanging with customers at their seats). Our walls are a fun turquoise color and provide our already happy space with an even brighter vibe. You can check out pictures on our Instagram @thedogcafe_la.
Where are the dogs from?
They're all rescues, and mainly come from South LA Animal Services and other shelters in the area.
Can people learn more about the dogs before they visit?
They can visit the "Our Dogs" section of our website at TheDogCafeLa.com.
How does someone adopt or foster one of your dogs?
We encourage adopters and fosters to visit our cafe first and then if there is a pup they feel would best suit their lifestyle, we ask that they then fill out the adoption/foster application online and we go on from there! We have a very thorough adoption process that includes a mandatory trial adoption to ensure not only that the pup is right for the person, but that the person is right for the pup.
Are there any adoption success stories you'd like to share with us?
Our very first adoption was extremely beautiful! When we pulled Holly (then Heidi) out of the shelter, she had already been there almost 2 months, constantly being overlooked due to her shyness and medical condition. Fortunately, we were able to pull her out and provide her with the proper TLC. She truly blossomed and proved that pitbulls are truly a beautiful, docile breed, contrary to the misconceptions. Her whole mission in life was to simply be loved, and she found the perfect family to do that! We provided her with a surgery she needed (thanks to a few special people who helped by donating), and she is now a very healthy member of her family at home. She is so cherished and so deeply loved. It was truly beautiful to see that family come together, by simply adding a four-legged family member.
As you probably well know, Angelenos can be a more than a bit choosy when it comes to their coffee! Please tell us a bit about the particular coffee you serve, Grounds & Hounds.
We serve both Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co.and Dogs Love Coffee, two amazing brands that give back! We use Grounds & Hounds beans for our regular pour-over coffee, and Dogs Love Coffee for our espresso and decaf. Both taste A-MAZING!
How can people support the awesome work you do at the Dog Cafe if visiting and/or adopting a pooch isn't an option for them?
We always appreciate contributions to our program, especially to help fund our dogs' medical expenses. Because we are still working on our non profit status, we must mention that any contributions are not tax deductible (you can donate to The Dog Cafe here by scrolling down and clicking on 'contribute'). If interested in making a tax-deductible donation, we suggest that you make one to A Purposeful Rescue (the rescue that helped pay for one of our dogs' surgeries and continues to help us with some of our dogs). We've actually also heard from many L.A. residents that their friends from other states (or even other countries) told them about the place, so spreading the word is always a great way to support us, too!