During my visit to Seoul, South Korea we have visited two different dogcafes. One in Gangnam and one in Hongdae. Dogcafes in Seoul work pretty much the same as the now famous cat cafes, the admission is free you just need to buy a drink , then you can stay as long as you wish. The difference is that they also act as doggy day care where you can leave your dog in good hands; you can also bring your own dog over when you just want to have a drink and let your puppy play with their kin. The one in Gangnam, though very dog friendly and a great day care has not been an amazing experience as a visitor. It was empty, with only one dog which belonged to the cafe so I decided not to write in detail about it. Overall I wouldn’t recommend going there, especially not in the early hours after opening, if you want to spend a quality time with some pets in a cozy environment.
Now the second dogcafe we visited, Bauhaus in Hongdae, I’d highly recommend. The cafe is very popular with both dog owners and admirers, so it fills up right after opening. The overall atmosphere was cozy and happy. At last, how can you not be happy around dogs? 🙂 I had such a good time in this dog cafe it made me wish we had one like this here in The Netherlands. We spent a total of almost four hours sipping on tea and playing with pooches. There are two separate rooms one for small to medium dogs and one for larger breeds. You can also buy dog accessories, food and snacks for your dog. Although you cannot feed the small to medium dogs you can buy snacks and feed the larger ones. There are several of these cafes/day care centers in Seoul – this one seems to be the coziest one though. The staff is friendly and makes sure the place stays clean and safe for both dogs and human visitors. I highly recommend visiting, with or without, your own pet companion.
I must say, although silly, I’m very proud of myself. Growing up I was totally a cat person. I collected cat memorabilia and figurines; I had cat paintings on the walls of my bedroom – I wanted “cat-themed” everything. Cats were always in my life. I understood them as far as a human can understand a fellow animal. And I loved them more then any other creatures on this planet. With dogs it was a different story, although every birthday until around eight years old while blowing out candles, I wished for a puppy; I did not actually have a lot of very good experiences with dogs. One day after a dog badly bit me I became afraid of them. Growing up in Eastern Europe where dogs are often untrained and ,especially in villages, frequently kept as guard dogs; it can be easy to become wary of these animals. To me after the accident, I saw dogs as quite unpredictable and aggressive.
Luckily, moving to the Netherlands helped me overcome my little “trauma.” Dogs here are very well behaved. I stopped being terrified whenever one just walked in my direction. Then after volunteering at a local animal shelter and doggysitting a friend’s pug I became absolutely obsessed with these animals. I finally understood why people adore them so much and why they are called a “human’s best friend.” Dogs have the ability to cheer me up with their presence. Their enthusiasm is contagiousness. For someone who struggles with depression and anxiety being around dogs really seems to be able to calm me down and lift me up more than anything else in this world. Going from being so wary and afraid of dogs to loving and adoring them, being able to sit in a place filled up with pooches relaxed and happy, is a huge transformation. And I’m so happy I’ve learned to overcome one of my most irrational fears. I can now proudly say that I’m both: a dog and a cat person.