Cat cafés have been a popular attraction in Japan for several years now, inspiring other enterprising people to open cafés across Asia, Europe and the United States. Although cat cafes are a great way for cat lovers to get their caffeine and cat detox all in one convenient place, where can dog lovers go? Fortunately, for Los Angelenos, there is a solution to the dog and caffeine hurdle: the Dog Café that offers a place for people to enjoy their regular coffee shop brew. And Company of dogs! There’s a lot to love about this idea already, but we think the absolute best part about The Dog Cafe is that all dogs are adoptable, which makes it a great, fresh way for people to find a new furry family member. Founder and owner of The Dog Cafe, Sarah Wolfgang, took a few minutes out of her busy day to tell us what inspired her to open a dog-focused cafe (and why she thinks a cafe environment can help dogs get adopted), one of her favorite adoption stories, and so much more.
We’d love to know the story behind the Dog Café! Who founded it and where did it come from?
The Dog Café was founded by me, Sarah Wolfgang, when I first moved to Los Angeles 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 might a dog cafe have over an ideal animal shelter/rescue?
The Dog Cafe allows people to watch dogs in a less stressful environment where they can spend time with them in their spare time. We also have a smaller group of dogs, which allows each pup to have their own spotlight.
Photo: Wendy Newell, Dogster
How can people visit Dog Cafe? Is it by reservation only?
We encourage people to make reservations to visit the café. We’ll also take a walk if we have the space. We have a $10 entry 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 Dog Café is like.
The coffee part is just a coffee shop. We created the front of the coffee shop to serve as a retail store. Our Café serves a variety of brews, including Lemon, Lavender, and Lemon Ginger, as well as some of our Café’s signature items, like our Carob “Mocha” Sauce (which is more dog-friendly than chocolate!). After customers get their drinks from the coffee shop, they can head to the dog lounge. Our lounge is very open plan, with seating on the walls to allow a central space for the dogs to run and play (when not hanging out with customers in their seats). Our walls are a fun turquoise color and provide a truly happy space with a brighter vibe. You can check out the photos on Instagram @thedogcafe_la.
Where are the dogs from?
They are all rescues and come mainly from South Los Angeles Animal Services and other shelters in the area.
Can people learn more about dogs before visiting them?
They can visit the “Our Dogs” section of our website at TheDogCafeLa.com.
How does someone adopt or foster your dog?
We encourage adopters and encourage them to visit our café first and then if there is a puppy they feel would fit their lifestyle, we have them fill out our online adoption/adoption form and go from there! We have a very thorough adoption process that includes mandatory trial adoption to ensure not only is the puppy a good fit for the person, but that the person is a perfect fit for the puppy.
Are there any success stories you’re building that you want to share with us?
Our first adoption was so beautiful! When we pulled Holly (then Heidi) from the shelter, she had already been there for about two months, constantly being ignored because of her shyness and medical condition. Fortunately, we were able to pull it off and serve it up with the right TLC. It really thrived and proved that pitbulls really are a beautiful, obedient breed, contrary to misconceptions. Her mission in life was simply to be loved, and she’d found the perfect family to do just that! We provided her with the surgery she needed (thanks to a few people who helped out with a donation), and she’s now a healthy member of her family at home. She is very dear and very beloved. It was really nice to see that family come together, simply by adding a four-legged family member.
As you well know, Angelenos can be a bit more selective when it comes to their coffee! Please tell us a little bit about the coffee you serve, Grounds & Hounds.
We serve both Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. and Dogs Love Coffee, two amazing brands that give! We use Grounds & Hounds beans for our regular cup of coffee, and Dogs Love Coffee for espresso and decaf. Both taste A-MAZING!
How can people support the great work you do at Dog Cafe if visiting and/or adopting a dog is not an option for them?
We always appreciate contributions to our program, especially to help fund our dogs’ medical expenses. Since we’re still working on our nonprofit status, we should mention that any contributions are not tax deductible (you can donate to The Dog Cafe here by scrolling down and clicking “Contribute”). If you’re interested in making a tax-deductible donation, we suggest you make one turn to A Resposition Rescue (the rescue that helped pay for one of our canine surgeries and continues to help us with some of our dogs). We’ve already heard from many LA residents that their friends from other states (or even other states) have told them about the place, so always spreading the word is a great way to support us too!
To learn more about The Dog Cafe, check out their website, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.