Now Wagging: America’s First Dog Cafe

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Thinking of adding a furry sibling to your brood or just wanna dole out some snuggles to deserving pups for an afternoon? LA’s new Dog Cafe is the perfect place to take your dog-loving littles. Just opened in April in Silverlake, America’s first dog cafe is totally reinventing the way families connect with sweet rescue pups who are searching for their forever homes. And while your kids play, you can keep your peepers peeled with some pretty great joe and other drinks that the whole non-canine contingent of your family will love.

IMG_2657photo: Jennifer O’Brien

The Dog Cafe Mission
The Dog Cafe offers a comfy and relaxing space for families and precious pups to hang out and get to know each other away from the overcrowded shelter scene which often makes even the most adoptable pooches somewhat fearful and aggressive-acting. Even if you’re not looking to add Fido to your home right now, The Dog Cafe gives kids a unique opportunity to give some much needed love and affection to deserving dogs without the commitment of adoption.

Most dogs at The Dog Cafe are ones who usually don’t show as well at local shelters. They might be older, have behavioral issues or minor medical needs. All pups in the line-up stay at The Dog Cafe until they’re adopted by a loving family. If it takes days, months or even years, the dogs remain at the cafe until they find their forever homes so they never have to return to the shelter system. It should be noted that for the safety of children, as well as the dogs, kiddos must be age 5 and up to visit.

IMG_2634photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Coffee Cups & Rescue Pups
We highly recommend making an advanced reservation online for The Dog Cafe as it’s extremely popular right now. The price of admission is a $10 donation. They do accept walk-in visitors if they’re not fully booked, but we’d hate for you to drive all the way there and be disappointed. When you arrive, check in on the cafe side to sign a safety waiver and place your drink order. Most beverages on the menu are included with the price of admission. And honestly, they have a fab selection, everything from chai tea latte and espresso for big dog lovers to carob milk and lavender lemonade for littles. While you’re waiting for your beverage, take a peek around the shop as it features some super fun pup-themed merchandise: dog socks, bowls, t-shirts and collars. There’s even a selection of delicious gourmet coffees from rescue loving brands like Grounds and Hounds and Dogs Drink Coffee, and a portion of all proceeds goes to animals in need.

IMG_2638photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Ready to Play
After you get your beverage, head next door to the dog lounge and brace yourself for lots of wet kisses and sweet snuggles with adorable pups. There’s ample seating throughout the room, but most guests just grab a spot on the floor and give the pups a chance to come to them when they’re ready. Visitors get about an hour to mix and mingle with their newfound furry friends before the next group of guests is ushered in. Extremely knowledgeable Dog Cafe staff members are on hand at all times to answer any questions you might have about the pups, adoption process or to address any messy issues that arise (be it number one or number two). There are plenty of dog toys to toss, a treat dispenser that will make you the most popular person in the room and even an iPad photo booth where you can snap a pic of yourself with one of the pups and post to social media.

IMG_2668photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Adopt a Pup
If you happen to meet your soul puppy during your visit and would like to file for adoption, you can ask for an adoption application or fill one out online through The Dog Cafe website. Your application will be reviewed and you’ll most likely hear back within seven days to set up a trial adoption which consists of a home visit of up to two weeks (or more if needed). If you and your potential pup are a match made in heaven, you’ll confirm your commitment for adoption, pay the adoption fee (around $300-$500), finish all necessary paperwork and legal ownership is transferred to you within one week.

Anyone looking to adopt must be 100% ready and willing to make the long-term commitment that comes with dog ownership. The last thing The Dog Cafe wants is for a pup to return to shelter life all over again.

Foster a Pup
If you’re not quite ready to go the adoption route, but would still like to help out in a big way, The Dog Cafe is always looking for loving families who would like to foster their dogs. Pooches stay at The Dog Cafe during the day so potential owners can visit with them, then go home with you at night. The only thing it costs you is their food in the evenings and a little less real estate on the ottoman. It’s a swell way to give these pups some love and normalcy of being at home at night.

IMG_2653photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Hours: Tues. – Sun., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

: One hour parking is available in the strip mall garage. The parking attendant runs a tight ship, so just be aware of your time.

The Dog Cafe
240 N. Virgil Ave., Unit 13
Los Angeles

How did you like The Dog Cafe? We’d love to know if you brought home a furry friend!

–Jennifer O’Brien

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