Year of the Dog: inside one of Seoul's infamous animal cafes

I celebrated Lunar New Year in Seoul, South Korea. For those of you who may not know, I'm a total sucker for all of it. I can tell you what it means to be born in the year of the Horse like I've rehearsed it. Ever since my three major cosmic readings {shoutout to a Thai monk, a shaman, and a Sedona psychic}, I've tried really hard to keep my mind fully open to those things which I cannot understand-- including astrology and Chinese zodiac meanings.

How fitting is it that on my first night back in Seoul, which was the first day of the new Lunar year, Kirst and I went to a dog cafe in Hongdae?! 

Answer: very fitting. Especially since this year is the year of the dog. The Earth dog, to be more specific. 


In terms of the Chinese zodiac, Earth dogs are depicted as stubborn animals who never give. Earth dog years are seen as years of hard work and determination to reach major goals. Above all else, however, they are years when the loyalty of friends and family are shown in the truest of colours...

...years when quality people stick, and fair-weather companions are ousted. 

It's predicted that the best months in terms of relationships are the lunar months of March (April 16-May 14), September (Oct 9-Nov 7) and December (Jan 6-Feb 4, 2019). Heads up: the worst months for shady people being shady are lunar February (March 17-April 15), June (July 13-August 10), July (August 11-Sept 9) and August (Sept 30-Oct 8).

Hot tip from the locals: wear red underwear to ward off bad luck! Will personally be investing in all the red undergarments, thank you...



Now, I know what you're all thinking. How ethical are dog cafes? Particularly in a time when any animal attraction is under scrutiny. Honestly, I'm not fully certain. Bauhouse claims to cater to pup lovers in two ways. 1) Those patrons who have dogs can bring them to the cafe and enjoy beverages while socializing their pet, meaning Fido isn't an animal who was bred specifically with a themed cafe in mind. This helps fill the cafe with happy pups in a healthy way. 2) Bauhouse claims to take dogs in from overrun shelters, providing them with clean homes {albeit kennels, I'm assuming} and regular health screenings. Bauhouse also works as a place to kennel your dog while you're away on holiday. 

Basically...I'm not sure about the ethical practice of other dog cafes, but I didn't feel too terrible being a customer of Bauhouse. All the dogs seemed taken care of, most were the pets of other cafe-goers, and the staff gave clear instructions about how to interact with the dogs {meaning they knew their shit}. Usually, I do harder research or vet a place out if animals are involved...but I had just pushed the panic button in Todd's bathroom, setting off an apartment-wide alarm that qued up one very confused security guard, so going out in Hongdae to a place where I'd be surrounded by four-legged friends made for a very happy and relaxed Tara. 



A bag of dog treats costs 5,000 won {roughly USD $5} and admission is about 8,000 won {roughly USD $8} per person, which gets you a free refrigerated beverage {we opted for Lemon Schweppes}. 



The harsh truth is you smell dogs as soon as you open the doors, so it's not exactly an environment conducive to "cafe-ing", but rather "cuddling." To go with the smell is the hair issue. I wore signature Tara all-black look and regretted it instantly after realizing that black shows every dog hair. If I had a do-over, I'd wear clothes I didn't mind getting covered in hair. 



Bauhouse has two sections, one for big dogs and the other for small {think tinyyyyyy} pups. Kirstie and I are go big or go home kinda gals, so we spent our time with the mammoths. Funnily enough, the big dog side also included some King Charles pooches and Corgis. 

You can find Bauhouse in Hongdae at the address below:

English: 394-44 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. (Je-il Building, rear entrance, 1st floor)
Korean: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 394-44 제일빌딩 후면 1층

Be sure to check out clips from our trip to Bauhouse Dog Cafe in my South Korea video here! 


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