A Dog Cafe…something a little different?
A few weeks ago, a picture of a cappuccino decorated with a cute chocolate dog logo dropped into my inbox, followed by a picture of a very cute little pooch wrapped in a blanket snuggled on my eldest daughters lap. She’d made a visit to the UK’s only permanent dog cafe, The Dog & Scone, located in my hometown of Newcastle. I was utterly charmed, and with a visit to Newcastle already on the cards,I made a booking for a family visit.
Hold on…a cafe you need to make a reservation for?
Yep, you need to book a slot online and pay a small deposit. This is for the benefit of both the dogs and the customers. The dogs don’t get overwhelmed by too busy an environment and limiting the number of customers means each visitor really gets the most out of the experience. And maximum snuggling opportunities.
A family reservation…so children are welcome?
Yes, as long as they are over 120cm in height and accompanied by an adult. The Dog & Scone is a really welcoming and family friendly place, but some restrictions need to be in place for the well-being of both residents and visitors.
Dogs in a cafe though, isn’t there a hygiene issue?
Ok, I have to admit that this thought did cross my mind. But the cafe area and kitchen has been carefully zoned so that staff working in the cafe area don’t enter the kitchen and kitchen staff don’t enter the cafe. There is no risk of cross contamination or dogs getting into the kitchen. In that sense, the dog cafe is probably more hygienic than the average home with a couple of dogs who have free reign and can wander into the kitchen!
What about the dogs, do they enjoy what they do?
They do, and it shows. All of the dogs belong to the cafe owner and go home each night with them.The cafe has grown around the dogs rather than the dogs being acquired to fill the cafe. Watching the dogs together, they interact like a little canine family. You’ll even spot some ‘family’ pictures up on the wall.
The Dog & Scone has a very relaxed garden themed environment complete with a doggy restroom and ventilation system for the four paws, and plenty of space and the usual facilities for the humans. There is also a set of House Rules to be followed to make sure that the dogs enjoy their day and are safe and comfortable…just as we as visitors would expect to be.
But it’s not all about the dogs, what about the people behind the D & S experience?
Well, let’s be honest, the dogs are the stars of the show! But there is, of course, a two-legged team that make the Dog & Scone experience happen. Cafe owner Sean Shi is also the owner of all the dogs. He nurtured a dream of opening a Dog Cafe after visiting one overseas, and after much planning and hard work, the Dog & Scone was born.And if the cafe owners are proud parents, the staff are like doting Aunties. The two waitresses on duty during our visit clearly knew each dog as individuals and were very good at matching the dogs to the customers and answering any questions we had. It’s clearly a team effort with the well-being of the star residents at the heart of all they do.
Things to ‘Know Before You Go’…
You’ll need to book a slot in advance and pay a small deposit, which is taken off the bill at the end of your experience. Upon arrival you’ll need to wait until staff welcome you in but there is a small waiting area if you’d prefer to wait inside. Outdoor shoes need to be removed so in the interest of hygiene and comfort, you might want to take along some socks. Although, FYI- they do sell some really cute ones.
You can’t take your own dogs nor should you take your own treats to feed the dogs. It’s a good idea to read the House Rules before you go and to maybe go over them with younger children so they know what to expect and get the most out of the experience.
The Dog and Scone is something different, bringing a very unique and special experience to Newcastle. Each of the dogs has its own character and it’s such a lovely experience to be able to spend time with them. Also being a family of mixed ages and interests, it was a great bonding experience… we might all like different things, but we all loved the dog cafe. And, we might disagree on many things, but one thing we did all agree on is that we can’t wait to make a return visit.
And if you think you’d like to make a visit, find full details, location and online booking at www.dogandscone.com