As more restaurants and places accept dogs, a Canberra cafe has extended the welcome mat even further by adding canine cuisine to its menu.
Dog lovers and cafe owners Kate and Rhys Schmutter love to see people go out with their pets.
“We thought it was good for the dogs to have something to eat too,” Mr. Schmutter said.
“They are always trying to steal food from people so that they might as well have their own dish.”
While the chicken linguine pasta and dog biscuits on the menu may sound mouth-watering, these are dishes for four-legged diners.
“If we have something free in the kitchen and we have a group of dogs outside, we’re always happy to bring them something too,” Mr. Schmutter said.
“We make a lot of sausages for breakfast, so every now and then a spare sausage might come out.
More dog-friendly cafes
Australia has the third highest level of pet dog ownership in the world and the RSPCA is behind a campaign to get pooches accepted in more public spaces.
Canberra in general appears to be on board, with the annual Floriade Spring Festival now including a dog day and local wineries having ‘bring your dog’ open houses.
“I have noticed a huge increase in the number of cafes in Canberra that are not only welcoming, but have dog bowls and special spaces for dogs,” said Georgia Morris, organizer of Canberra Dog Walks.
“Some people actually encourage you to book in advance so they can make some space for you with your dog.”
While dog-friendly cafes have long been popular in Sydney, the recent trend in the capital seems to coincide with apartment developments in the city center.
“People want to take their dogs out and spend time with them and not have them locked up all the time.”
Owners want to spend more time with the dogs
Catherine and Richard Rowe love to sip coffee in cafes with their puppy Wilbur.
“I don’t want a dog sitting alone in a backyard, I like a dog to have company and we are his pack.”
Ms. Rowe has had companion dogs for most of her life.
“There is a lot more acceptance of dogs now than there was 10 years ago,” she said.
“Not only that, there are more dogs out there, more people are taking them out.”
Dog food and hygiene
Canberra’s dog-friendly cafes have outdoor spaces where four-legged friends can join their owners for coffee.
The Schmutters’ Café is located in the heritage listed Old English Gardens next to the Yarralumla Nursery, offering plenty of outdoor space.
And for those who might be concerned about hygiene at a place serving dog food, Ms Schmutter said that’s not a problem.
“Bowls with legs are really not for humans,” she said.
“It’s a pretty comprehensive process, we sort it out in the kitchen and we have several sinks so we can do it easily.