Inspired by our mentors and driven by what that education and inspiration has helped us to accomplish over the past 7 years to better help both people and homeless pets, is the culmination of the two in the Canine Cafe dog adoption program. It is one of 2 new animal shelter models being developed by a group of dedicated animal lovers and changemakers beginning in New Mexico and California. Homeless animals in our communities across America deserve better than the impoundment system most of them have right now. Potential adopters, animal control/services/shelter staff and volunteers and also those people in need in our community who.have companion animals in need deserve a better too. In short, we're working to build the world we want to see voiceless animals live in when they find themselves in need, lost or homeless.
The rewards over the past 7 years have by far been greater than the challenges. Learning from the most progressive and innovative No Kill leaders and medical and behavior experts in the country alongside those challenges has been a gift. Without both the positives and the negatives we would not have been able to pinpoint where we could truly make the largest impact for both people and pets.
February 2017 saw the opening of the 1st Canine Cafe in Albuquerque, NM. It made animal welfare history in New Mexico being the 1st cage free and kennel free dog adoption space in the state for puppies and Level 1/neutral dogs. It has been a joy to see both kids and adults have fun rolling around on the ground with puppies and dogs. It seemed almost cathartic for some adults - some of them laughed uncontrollably - some cried and had no idea why they were crying and then they started laughing! Every day brought new surprises and potential we had not envisioned.
We knew the program would increase adoption rates of puppies and Level 1/Neutral dogs but we did not expect the following to take place during the 1st year of the Canine Cafe program:
- Mental Health Assistance/"Puppy Therapy" - weekly visits by those who sought and got approval from their mental health professionals to subsitute one or more of their appts each week or month with a visit to the Canine Cafe for 1 hour.
- Puppy Socialization - it goes without saying that the Canine Cafe provided some of the most well-adjusted, social and confident puppies for adoption due to the nature of the environment and the specific program we are able to run thanks to the canine behavior knowledge we have had the good fortune to gain over the years thanks to some of the best experts in the country.
- Blossoming of shy dogs not exhibiting fear-based agression - they went from wallflowers hugging the wall to being adopted because they were safely flooded with positive people and dog experiences each time they were at the Canine Cafe. They didn't have a crate or other room to retreat to and they had to watch and share space with dozens of people of all ages, sizes and races (male and female) come and go and have fun with super social dogs. The shy dogs saw that no one was getting hurt and the social dogs were happy and having fun. Even dogs in foster homes will not get that level of positive, diverse and supervised exposure even in the most active households. Over many years we struggled with how long it took some shy dogs to come around. We learned that this unique environment provided unique benefits that help to speed up their ability to blossom and gain comfort and confidence.
- Corporate Team Building - a few companies had mini-sessions of team building at the Canine Cafe although we think we saw more relaxation and smiling and laughing but Hey! it seemed to be good for everyone so we hope to see more of it.
- The eldery were ALL SMILES! On many occasions adults would bring their elderly relatives in to spend some time with the pups and dogs. We saw smiles, laughing and tears. IT ROCKED-WE LOVED IT!! A pup's love is unconditional and boy did the pups lay it on for our visitors.
- We turned the Canine Cafe into a "Holiday Snuggle Zone Pop-Up" for the month of December at a local mall and we judged it a success in terms of both adoptions and also in terms of the floor. When we removed the temporary floor we had installed at the end of the 30 days, the pathway and floors just outside where our temp flooring was placed was so worn and discolored it looked liked we had had a year's worth of foot traffic in 30 days.
Each Canine Cafe location program is dependent upon available human and financial resources and the size of space in which it ends up operating out of. The more of all 3, the higher the positive impact for the community in which it is located. Some locations will have job and entreprenuership training programs, public dogs playgroups and other socialization and whole dog care/behavior programs, internships, animal welfare professional development opptys and some will not. Each location needs volunteers, fosters and support of various types. We hope you will join us in whatever way you chose in helping us to build the next generation of animal sheltering to benefit both people and companion animals in America! We did mention the Canine Cafe was 1 of 2 new shelter models. The 2nd one helps the kitties too - stay tuned!
The managing organization responsible for each Canine Cafe project depends on what city/state it is located in. No matter the location, the Canine Cafe has a common core of protocols in its operations. If you come across a project or location using the words 'Canine Cafe' but you do not see them on our website here under the 'Locations' tab, they are not in the process of establishing the program we endorse. We are happy to assist any community in establishing a Canine Cafe program. It does require alot of work and commitment from the local community. Feel free to send us an email for more information.