There are few things I love more than hearing about someone’s new venture. What adds a cherry on top of this treat, is finding out that at the heart of this pursuit is the desire to help animals. So you shouldn’t be surprised that when I heard that fellow Orlandoans are trying to raise money to fund a Dog Cafe (Orlando’s first!), I wanted to know more.
By now, most of us have heard of cat cafes. Maybe you’ve even been to one? Before these became popular, and before Orlando had its own cat cafe, Fran and Adam Chong happened upon one on a trip to Montreal. They immediately wondered why this concept didn’t exist for dogs. We’ve all had ideas like this, right? The why doesn’t this exist type ideas. Most of us have them, some might even do a little research, and even fewer will actually do something with it. Fran and Adam fit in the latter category. After 8 years as a teacher, Fran was ready for a change. She always knew she wanted to do something with animals, but never knew the avenue to take. Armed with Adam’s background in business, Fran’s passion, and their shared love of dogs, they committed to diving in to pursue the dream of opening Sam and George Coffee Co.
How does a dog cafe work?
The idea behind this dog cafe is to give dogs who are up for adoption the opportunity to interact with potential adopters (and dog lovers) outside of a shelter setting. Shelters, no matter how well-run, can be very stressful settings for some dogs, and make it difficult for adopters to see the true personalities of the dogs. By giving these pups the ability to connect with people in a calm setting, the chance of adoption is more likely.
Where will the dogs come from?
Fran & Adam will be working with The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to help find homes for some of their adoptable dogs. Following the success of the Dog in Residence Foster program at the Aloft Hotel in downtown Orlando, partnering with the Pet Alliance was a no-brainer.
Where will the dogs live?
I was really curious about this part, and delighted to learn that Fran & Adam will be fostering all of the dogs who spend time at the cafe. This means they will live at home with the couple (and their 2 dogs, more on them in a sec!), and will hang at the cafe during the day. Fran told me that their goal is to foster 3 to 4 dogs at a time, of varying breeds and sizes. They’re really hoping to be able to foster puppies as well.
But wait, who are Sam and George?
Sam and George are former shelter pups who were lucky to have found a loving home with Fran and Adam. Fran notes in the welcome video on their website that she almost overlooked Sam at the shelter because she was so timid, but then after being at home with her for a few days, she completely blossomed. The experience of adopting both pups would later fuel the fire for starting this venture. What better way to honor their pups than to name the cafe after them, and help more pups just like them find their forever homes.
Tell us more about the cafe!
They’d love to open the cafe in either the Conway or SODO areas, having grown up in these areas and having witnessed the growth in these neighborhoods. As of right now though, the cafe location is dependent on fundraising. The couple is looking to raise 100k by the end of 2020 in order to secure a lease. They’re just getting started and could really use your help! Check out their fundraising page to help make this idea a reality.
As far as the layout of the cafe, the idea is to have a completely separate area where the dogs hang out, and to design that space to mimic a living room, to help dogs feel at ease. Fran & Adam have partnered with Axum Coffee, who will provide the cafe’s brew.
In the meantime, Sam & George Coffee Co. will kickoff as a coffee cart, aiming to raise funds and awareness for their business & mission. Check them out at their debut event, Paws in the Park, on February 8th at Lake Eola.
How can we help?
- Follow Sam and George Coffee Co. on social media (Instagram | Facebook)
- Visit them at their pop-ups, starting with Paws in the Park!
- Donate! They’ll need our help in order to raise the funds to open the cafe.