Dog cafe offers canine cupcakes and snuggly bathrobes to Hampstead’s pampered pooches

Cookie and Buddy at the Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3

Cookie and Buddy at the Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3 - Credit: Archant

Heath Street’s new Dandie Dog Cafe has thought of everything for NW3’s pets, from a home cooked menu, to a doggy wash, birthday parties and dog yoga sessions

Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3 in full swing

Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3 in full swing - Credit: Archant

Picture a cafe where the coffee and cakes are delicious but the customers might moult on the furniture or wee on the floor.

Welcome to Heath Street’s Dandie Dog Cafe, where owners can tuck into vegan and veggie fare while their pooch enjoys a shepherd’s pie cupcake, dog yoga, or even a birthday party with bubbles.

Sopping wet after a romp on the Heath? There’s a snuggly bathrobe and downstairs washroom before you flop onto a comfy cushion - and that’s just the pets.

Owner Cookie Sami explains: “I wanted to open a cafe for dog lovers that catered equally well for both species. We have a human and dog menu all cooked in house.

Cookie and Buddy at the Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3

Cookie and Buddy at the Dandie Dog Cafe Heath St NW3 - Credit: Archant

The vegan french toast is getting rave reviews from humans, and the dogs devour everything but love the shepherd’s pie cupcakes. Some customers have ordered off the dog menu but I wouldn’t advise it, it’s not very well seasoned.”

Cookie admits that since opening four weeks ago, the cleaning regime hoovering up customer’s hair is a herculean task. And alongside doggie portraits, dog toys and dog beds, she’s installed a chalk board with etiquette to avoid a cacophony of barking.

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“Even in Hampstead places say you are welcome, but you have to sit outside with your dog. If I go to a pub I am self-conscious that mine has to be under the table out of the way. But here people are welcome no matter what. A puppy did an accident the other day. The owner was so apologetic but we are equipped for every scenario and got busy with the rubber gloves.”

Not only are tables called after famous breeds, but the cafe itself is named for the “friendly but fierce” Dandie Dinmont Terrier.

Cookie’s dog Buddy, a Portuguese Water Dog, comes to work with her.

“He really inspired the cafe,” says the former homeless charity worker. “When I got him it was love at first sight. I live in King’s Cross and got to know a sociable group of dog walkers who meet most nights. I thought it would be good to go somewhere warm and bright in the evenings.

“The stigma surrounding a dog cafe is it’s dirty and dingy, but this is airy and spacious. We’ve tried to think of everything from hooks for leads, to a snug for dogs with a gate if they are anxious.

“It sounds simple, but it’s things like being able to take your dog to the bathroom so it doesn’t cry while you are gone, or a chew to keep them calm while you order, or a short term dog sitting service so owners can nip to the shop for a pint of milk.

“And if the dog rolls in something he shouldn’t, there’s a dog toilet downstairs for a wash.”

The birthday parties are “a hilarious bit of fun with dog friendly bubbles and music,” and future plans include talks by vets, groomers and trainers, and dog and owner film nights. Feedback so far has been “wonderful”.

“We try to be local and sustainable, and the businesses around us have been incredibly supportive. I wasn’t expecting to be embraced with such open arms. The local community and especially the dog owners have been blown away. I was terrified about opening a business in the middle of a pandemic, but if it won’t work in Hampstead, it won’t work anywhere.”

Dandie Dog Cafe 104 Heath Street NW3.