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But two Christchurch dog-lovers, Jack Penniket and Ally Mullord, believe it will help raise awareness about New Zealand’s low dog adoption figures, which sit at about 12 per cent.
They are set to open The Barkery in Christchurch next year, which will be New Zealand’s first cafe space in which customers can spend time with rescue dogs that are available for adoption.
A bring-your-own-dog service will also be on offer for pet owners.
Coupled with two rescue organisations, Dogwatch Sanctuary and Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue, The Barkery aims to create a space away from adoption shelters, which can often have “doggy-jail connotations,” Mr Penniket said.
“Visiting a shelter can be intimidating, it does have this doggy jail connotation. That is a barrier for people because they feel guilty and feel like they have to leave with all the dogs.”
A location for the cafe is yet to be decided, Mr Penniket said, as they work through “complex territory” to get the project under way.
“Design and user experience is a massive body of work, also with building resource consents. We are on the lookout (for a location) but are not going to rush into anything,” he said.
A strict vetting process will be undertaken by the rescue organisations to ensure the dogs are suitable to be in the environment.
“The nature of rescue dogs and dogs that struggle to get adopted is that they are a little bit socially uneasy,” Mr Penniket said
The dogs will require a good social attitude and temperament, as well as experience socialising with humans.
A similar cafe exists on Colombo St. The Catnap Cafe revolves around adopting cats.
“It was incredible talking to them about their learnings and journey, they have done a lot we are able to model on,” Mr Penniket said.
“They mentioned that one in three customers will ask when the dog version is going to be available. When we approached them they said: ‘Yes, finally someone is doing it’.”
The Barkery aims to open midway through next year and will be launching a PledgeMe campaign at the start of the year.
In the meantime, a series of pop-up events will aim to provide a taste of what The Barkery’s user experience will be like.Rescue dogs will be available to pat and pet owners are encouraged to bring their leashed dogs to the dog-friendlySundog Diner on Papanui Rd on Saturday and the Two Thumb Brewing Co in the central city on November 10.