Big Dog Cafe, Bangkok

From time to time, I see accusations like this on the Internet: 

"People nowadays care more for animals than they do for other human beings." 

If preferring the company of cats and dogs to humans is "caring" more for animals, then I guess I'm one of those accused too. Dear people, if you'd let me pay to neuter you, I'd totally "care" for you too, okay? :)

Snarky comments aside, I make no secret of the fact that I prefer to be with furry animals than to be humans in general. Of course, my favourite combination is having good humans and VERY GOOD DOGS together to hang out with.

I got this when I recently went to Bangkok to meet up with M, a university friend. I wanted to go to a dog café in Bangkok, and came across Big Dog Café located in the city.

For the price of 199 baht (RM25), one could have a two hour slot to play with dogs in a separate "outdoor" area to the café area. Naturally, I wanted to go!

I booked the 5PM - 7PM slot at the café on a Friday evening, planning to go to the nearby Rot Fai Night Market Ratchada afterwards. I also made the MISTAKE of attempting to leave the Centralworld mall at 4:15PM to go to Big Dog Café.

Why is this a mistake?

A) It's Friday evening in Bangkok,
B) All Grab drivers were not available or 20-30 minutes away, and
C) It was PRIME TIME to be conned by a tuk tuk driver which passed by.

It was already 4:40PM, and I was desperate to get to the café by 5PM, so I agreed to the exorbitant price set by the tuk tuk driver.

He asked for *drumrolls*... FOUR HUNDRED BAHT.

400!

四百!

よんひゃく!

I WAS CHARGED RM50 TO GO TO A CAFE THAT WAS 4 KILOMETERS AWAY FROM WHERE I WAS, YA'LL. I COULD HAVE GONE BACK TO THE AIRPORT WITH THAT KIND OF MONEY.

I attempted to bargain him down, but he just kept saying traffic, jam, Friday. In the end, both M and I gave up and just got on the tuk tuk for the experience, but we vowed not to take another tuk tuk in Bangkok if we could help it.

But I digress.

We eventually got to Big Dog Café at 5:20PM (on a tuk tuk that weaved furiously between cars, and we still took 40 minutes to get to the café...), and missed some of the dogs that came out first.

:(

In each slot, a small batch of 2 - 3 dogs are released every 15 - 20 minutes. You can buy dog treats to tempt them to you, but after feeling conned by the tuk tuk driver I was just content to watch the dogs do their thing... and of course, take pictures!


The first dog I caught sight of was Chowder the Chow Chow! Look at that faceeeeeeee. My mood was immediately lifted, and my mood just kept getting better as the evening went on.

Thank you, dogs.

Some of the dogs would roam around sniffing at each human for food, while some would just chill on the ground, as above. That was when I'd swoop in, continually pat them, and of course, take pictures of all these adorableness.

I'm pretty sure half of the photos from Bangkok this year on my phone was from the dog café. The other half is of food, basically.

Priorities in life, people. Priorities.


Another one who chills - Burger the Burmese Mountain Dog.

I'm not sure how he resembles a burger, but anyway.

There were also two Timberwolf Shepherds with the names Ricky and Martin.

Most of the dogs bounding around looking for treats ignored me after sniffing me (nope, no food, sorry!), but it was cute to watch them anyway. What was less cute was watching humans tell dogs to "SIT" to get them to "earn" the treats.

"Sit", as in in English.

Sir, madam, I feel I must inform you that... we are in Bangkok. The language is Thai. Maybe ask the café staff what the commands the dogs are used to are?

Khob khun ka.

I went to pat this Russian Wolfhound named Gateaux (gateau is not Russian, but ok...) by squatting down right beside, and...

ALERT

ALERT

DOG HEAD ON LAP ALERT

I AM HONOURED

❤️❤️❤️

I was prepared to squat there for the next hour if that was what it takes, but it only lasted a minute or so.

It was such a happy minute, though!

The Bangkok heat made sweat pour out of every pore, and the dogs made my smile wider and wider as I looked at all these gorgeous dogs.

This, guys, is what true happiness is like. I want to retire and open a dog café.

A CORGI DOG CAFE.

IMAGINE THE HAPPINESS.





Before I came to Big Dog Café, I read a lot of reviews to determine if this was a café where the dogs were just props, or if they were genuinely loved and cared for.

Many people gushed about the dogs, and there were a few comments about how the dogs didn't seem to like the staff and were forced to take pictures etc.

After being there once, I feel it's a mixture of both. Of course, dogs at dogs café can't escape being "props" in pictures, and at this one where the draw was BIG dogs of rare breeds that we would not encounter often, people will definitely want pictures.

What I DID see was that each dog was clean, groomed, and mostly allowed to do their own thing. Yes, they were confined to a pretty small area during each slot, but they were only there for about 15 - 20 minutes. With five slots a day, each dog will probably have to work about two hours maximum a day in the interaction area.

However, I wouldn't say that any of the dogs were FORCED to take pictures, or cowered in fear at any point in time. They were mostly allowed to do their own thing, which was badger humans for treats and the humans will take pictures in the process. My only wish would be for them to add toys, but in such a small space, a bounding big dog chasing after a ball will probably topple a few kids.

The dogs do have a pool, and I hope they get lots of exercise that way.

In reality, I'll have to say that these dogs are already treated MUCH better than most dogs in South-East Asia. I can see that they are loved, and that they listen to their handlers. Not sure if you can get a huge 75kg dog to do that if they didn't like their handlers, but I suppose everyone's perception is different.

Personally, because I only went there expecting clean and groomed dogs without having too much pictures taken of myself WITH them (I just wanted to pat a happy dog!), I had a pretty good time... and it turns out, a lot more pictures than I thought I would have thanks to M and dogs that were willing to just lie or sit on the ground without moving.

Later, a nice human person gave us the dog treats he bought because he was leaving first, and so I got to feed Solo, the Alaskan Malamute, and have him sit still before me as he waited patiently for treats.




Isn't he a beauty?!


The real reason why he's so willing to sit patiently.

"When will you feed me, hooman?"


These two hours were probably the happiest two hours of my August 2018, to be honest.

No need to worry about toxic people, or stressful human-related situations. In discussion with M, we decided that dealing with dog poop is better than dealing with human-related sh!t, always and forever.

It was a good place to lift my spirits, and I honestly wish there were more dog cafes in Kuala Lumpur (with more space). I guess dog cafes will find it hard to be profitable in Malaysia, though...

We both retreated to the café section happily after all the dogs left. Also, because we were late THANKS TO TRAFFIC, we were allowed to attend parts of the other slot after ours... WHICH WAS WHEN THE CORGIS AND POMERANIANS CAME OUT TO PLAY.

Excuse me while I drown in all the fluff.

It was such a good time overall, it was worth falling down in the café while I was trying to chase after an errant Pomeranian who dashed into the café area when I opened the sliding glass door.

Well, almost. I don't want to do the whole falling thing again, the bruises have yet to fade.

It was certainly a happy memory of Bangkok - in fact, it was the HIGHLIGHT of our entire 3 day 2 nights trip.

SUCH IS THE POWER OF DOGS.

Dogs are love, dogs are life.

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