From Korea to LA; America's first dog cafe

Petunia the Pug, greets Supervisor, Kennedy Williams with dog kisses. (Photo credit: Lauren Valencia)

Petunia the Pug, greets Supervisor, Kennedy Williams with dog kisses. (Photo credit: Lauren Valencia)

BY JOANNA BAUTISTA

Inside a crowded plaza at the corner of a bustling intersection sits a business that is the first of its kind in America.  The Dog Cafe opened in April 2016 and is home to a variety of dogs from both south and central Los Angeles.  Although the location is small, the dogs bring this business to life with their bright energy and lively barks.

An entrance fee of $15 provides customers 55 minutes with the dogs and a drink of their choice. A separate area from where the dogs play allows people to order a beverage from the café which offers lemonade, teas and coffee.

Apart from the opportunity to play with dogs, people are able to adopt or foster the dogs from the café.

According to Kennedy William, the supervisor at The Dog Cafe, it primarily takes in dogs that have a harder time being adopted from other shelters from old and young, to dogs with disabilities and dogs found on the streets.

How it started

The owner Sarah Wolfgang, who is originally from Korea, decided to open a dog café in America after seeing the success of many others in Korea. However, unlike the one located in Los Angeles, the dog cafés in Korea do not offer people the option to adopt the dogs, according to Williams.     

As the supervisor, Williams makes sure everything is going well.

Since its doors opened, about 40 dogs have been adopted. During the holidays, Williams said the cafe sees an increase of adoptions. Come weekends, it usually maxes out visitors.

Williams comforts many of the dogs that are not yet comfortable in front of large crowds. (Photo credit: Lauren Valencia)

Williams comforts many of the dogs that are not yet comfortable in front of large crowds. (Photo credit: Lauren Valencia)

Adopting and fostering 

To adopt a dog, people must fill out a four to five page application that asks lifestyle questions to see if the dogs are compatible with certain types of homes. Each dog comes with different fees depending on the circumstances, and the café keeps in contact with the adopters to ensure the dog is doing well at their new home.

Unlike shelters, the dogs at this café will remain until they are adopted or foster homes are found for the ones that do not do well at the location.

The maximum amount of dogs that can be held is 15. As the dogs are being adopted out, they pull a couple more dogs in to stay at a steady 15. The café wants to relocate to a space with an outdoor area so the dogs can roam freely, Williams said.