By Anne-Maree George
The weekend affords each of us the opportunity to rest and reconnect after a hectic, action-packed week of obligation and activity. Some of us sleep-in, others tackle the housework, while still others may dust off the joggers and play a little social sport. Whatever our agenda, you can bet that for the great majority of us, a visit to a local café will be a non negotiable inclusion in our weekend’s activities. But such endeavor presents, or at least it did present, a significant issue. What happens to the most faithful member of the family, the one that has selflessly remained at the family home everyday guarding it from all manner of possible intrusion? That very same one that has enjoyed the least attention, having to stick like glue to each member in the little time the family is at home. Once again will they have to remain at home, alone, while the family congregates, on the outside nonetheless, for coffee, cake and some us-time?
Fortunately, it seems those dark days are over with a number of cafes now catering for dog dining outside the venue, as well as a variety of actual dog cafes scattered throughout Brisbane. So eager to include Lentil in our weekly sister get together we decided to terrier-test one such café, Canine Comfort in Gumdale in Brisbane’s east.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by dog pens sitting outside a very well equiped dog shop. We were very concerned and skeptical, quickly realizing we’d come with preconceived ideas that are essentially, against regulations. We thought we’d swan into the shop, Lentil on lead, park ourselves in air-conditioned comfort in the middle of everything and enjoy some morning tea. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, dog café or not, animals are not permitted inside venues where food is being prepared and served. “But what’s with the pens?” we wondered. These were provided so that our dogs could have some freedom and their own, ‘safe’ space. Additionally, they don’t end up winding themselves around the table (which does have an additional lead attachment) and pulling everything over. In this way we could all relax and enjoy our time, carefree.
A well-stocked trolley with little bowls, water and treats is provided with guests of the café encouraged to use for their dogs. Then there’s the menu. Two pages of doggielicious snacks and light meals, along with another several pages of human food–snacks; hot, cold and light meal and all day breakfast- and drinks – hot, cold and a variety of shakes, frappes and smoothies. It was very unexpected and quite overwhelming.
After much deliberation my sister chose the Mutely Muffin for Lentil, a Babbichino for her 13-month, -who was well provided for with a highchair- and a Mango Frappe for herself. Our other sister had a pot of tea and a piece of banana bread, whilst I enjoyed a Berry Frappe and two pieces of Raisin Toast.
To say it was a hit is quite the understatement. The muffin came out in its own bowl and looked amazing. Obviously, Lentil had to toss aside the vegetable bits to get to the meat but surprisingly he did come back to them and eat the whole bang lot. Our food and drinks were equally delicious. The shop side of the café has everything you could ever need for your pooch – collars, leads, toys, coats, treats, bowls, ID tags – the list goes on, all charmingly presented and at a reasonable price.
We visited during the week so it was quiet but on the weekends, when things really come to life, there’s additional seating around the back of the shop, which is also the venue for the shop’s many dog birthday parties. Across from the café is a dog wash; whilst within the larger complex are an IGA and many other shops.
My sisters, niece and I all had a terrific time and Lentil was virtually jumping out of his skin; finally an outing, which not only included, but also celebrated him. My sister plans to bring her husband along one weekend soon for an entire family reconnect over coffee and treats. We are quite confident that Lentil will extend his paw of approval.