A couple weeks ago, I posted about a wonderful kitty café that I happened upon in Gyeongju, South Korea, where you can enjoy the fuzzy affections of a bevy of feline gigolos with your coffee. I have found a few more since then; they are apparently very popular with city dwellers who can’t have pets in their homes. There are even cat café chains, with locations all over. But, not everyone loves the kittenzes as much as I do. What about them? Well, fear not, there are puppy cafés, too.
I found one in the Jangsan neighborhood of Haeundae Beach, in Busan. I want to call it a Puppy Pub, or a Dawg Dive, but the establishment–on the second floor, over a pet store–only served foo-foo coffees and teas. I don’t know why, but it seems to me that a venue catering to dog people should have a liquor license. Beer and wine, at least. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, no booze at this Canine Café.
Right off the bat, I noticed a fundamental difference between this outfit and the cat cafés: the dogs are in a pen, separate from the café area. It’s right next to it, but it’s divided by a low, transparent wall so the hounds can’t get to the people at the tables. The front foyer gate opens into the puppy playpen, and that is where the coffee counter is, but the seating area is behind glass. I didn’t like that. I wanted to drink my coffee while I played with the pups. But, then I learned why. They pee. They pee often. They pee a lot. Oh, so much pee….
There was an attendant who ran around behind them and cleaned it up as close to immediately as one could expect, so it didn’t really smell in there, but still, not appropriate for a food service area. Cats prefer to retire to the privacy of a litter box to tinkle, so the cat café people can just put a little cat flap in the door to the litter box room, and trust the pusses to honor the system. Dogs, not so much. Not a bashful bladder in the group. So, okay, I get it. They have to separate the room.
The eight or nine pooches in the play area were all immaculately groomed, healthy-looking, and pretty well-behaved, but for the recidivist peeing (which, I guess, we can’t really blame on them. It’s not like there was a dog door to a back yard where they could go outside). But, there was something odd about them. It took me a while to figure it out. Then, it hit me. They were ignoring me.
Basically, except for one little cocoa-colored poodle who managed to feign interest in me for the minute or so it took to ascertain whether I had any food to give him, none of these dogs paid any attention to me at all.
They pretty much sat with their backs to me, or stood at the gate, waiting for someone better to come along (translation: someone with food). I know what you’re thinking: just give them some treats, and they’re yours. Well, I thought of that, but the place specifically forbids feeding the dogs. I can see why they wouldn’t allow people to bring their own food to give them; they couldn’t control the safety of what the dogs eat that way. But, if they’re going to have such stuck up pups, they really should make some kind of treats/bribes available for purchase. Baby carrots, or something healthy, so they don’t founder. I dunno. Something.
It was the darndest thing. I can’t remember the last time I was around a dog that didn’t make a total nuisance of itself, jumping on me, licking my hands, staring intently at me while I’m reading or watching tv, or trying to stick its snout in my crotch. They normally exhibit an extravagant enthusiasm level at my arrival that one just can’t expect from a cat. I was at a total loss. (Maybe they heard what I said about them being the easy girls of the animal high school….Which one of you blabbed?)
I sat there, trying in vain to entice a gorgeous, snow white Akita to come to me, my lame tongue clicking noises impotent against her indifference. I recalled the cat café, and how surprised I had been at how attentive and affectionate all the kitties were with me at first glance. Obsequious, almost. Where the heck had I landed that cats are the attention-seeking trollops, and dogs are haughty and aloof? I have really fallen down the rabbit hole! Ooh…rabbits. Now, there’s a great idea for a café! A bunny bar! Who’s in?