A dog's day in Gangnam
A fun, guilt-free alternative to ditching your dog for a vacation is catching on.
A Gangnam dog café has several options to suit any dog owner’s needs. Caffe Pawz offers a very large and clean café with a full espresso bar and organic and homemade dog treats. There is also a groom shop, hotel, spa and an obedience school. The friendly English-speaking staff is available to help out with everything from giving your pup a bath to simply giving you advice on how to handle difficult behavioral issues.
Thomas Moxham, from Australia, has been bringing his two Jack Russell Terriers, Nibbles and Lolly to Caffe Pawz since it opened in August 2010. They make frequent visits to the café and Nibbles and Lolly stay at the hotel while Moxham is away. “Our dogs love the café,” says Moxham. “In fact, all we have to say to them is ‘Do you want to go to the puppy café?’ and they start going crazy with excitement.”
The owner of Caffe Pawz, Choi Gang-hyuk, better known as Alex to his expat customers, is very friendly and understanding. He is often seen playing with his dog Gong-ju and chatting with customers about a new kind of dog food or training techniques.
“Next year I would like to open another café and obedience school in Itaewon,” Choi said. “Until then, I hope to get to know the expat community more and learn about the needs of foreigners who own dogs in Seoul.
Choi laments that there aren’t enough pet-friendly parks in Seoul. “In the city there is really no place for people to bring their dogs. It’s almost as if Korean dogs have no fun, and I’d like to change that.”
Choi’s brother is the owner of the well-known, expat-friendly Dr. Pet animal hospital in Gangnam. The Choi brothers have always had a love for dogs. They understand the obstacles dog owners in Seoul are often faced with, particularly those in the expat community, and would like to offer a convenient and fun solution to owning a dog in Korea.
“I hope that foreigners can feel comfortable and safe here,” said Choi.
For some people, leaving their dog in the hands of strangers often results in a feeling of anxiety. For some, this can be so overwhelming that they have trouble enjoying their vacations. Kristen Otero, a university instructor from the United States, would attest to having experienced opposing feelings of insecurity and excitement. Otero is the owner of a 7-year-old Miniature Pinscher mix, named Lucy.
“I love to travel, but I always feel guilty leaving my dog,” she said. “It’s a difficult decision to make, but after several visits to Pawz, Lucy began to really settle in and trust her environment. It was great to watch her be able to run free and interact with other dogs; both of which she is unable to do on a regular basis.” Otero explained that while she was on her last vacation, she received a surprise e-mail attached with photos and videos of Lucy.
“It was wonderful to see her doing well and having fun playing with her friends,” she says. “It made me feel reassured that she was being well taken care of; it was a great relief.”
Those who own dogs that bark incessantly or dart at fearful passersby might understand the difficulties that arise in dog parenting and how crucial it is to have a well-behaved dog. Caffe Pawz’s obedience school is fun for dogs and convenient for customers. The school offers a morning pick-up and evening drop-off service for nearby residents.
Lye Ko, a freelance photographer from Seoul, has a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, Luven. Luven has been attending Pawz’s obedience school for about one year. “Before bringing Luven to obedience school, he was very troublesome,” said Ko. “He would bark at other dogs and annoy people by over-welcoming them, but school has made a big difference in his behavior. Now, he is able to walk off of a leash with no problem.”
Ko highly recommends the café and obedience school. “Here, you can meet people who welcome you and your dog. This place will change your life in Korea.”
Where: Gangnam-gu, Yeoksam-dong
Phone: (02) 564-0927
Hours of operation: 7 days a week/11a.m. – 11 p.m. (Hotel, 24 hours)
From Gangnam station, head south toward the Seoul Arts Center, take a left at the first major intersection. After passing Java City, go through one intersection and Caffe Pawz is on the right.
Hotel: 20,000 won/night
Grooming: 30-60,000 won
Obedience school: 400,000 won/month (Monday-Friday)
This story was published on April 22, 2012 on Groove Korea.