Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In changing Saudi Arabia, first dog cafe delights pet lovers



In changing Saudi Arabia, first dog cafe delights pet lovers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mask-clad patrons sit with their dogs at the ‘Barking Lot’ cafe in Saudi Arabia’s eastern Gulf city of Khobar. AFP

In changing Saudi Arabia, first dog cafe delights pet lovers

Dog owners in Saudi Arabia can now enjoy a cup of coffee alongside their beloved pets at a new cafe – a first for the ultra-conservative kingdom.

In Islam, dogs are considered unclean animals – unlike cats – and are generally banned from public places in Saudi Arabia.

But The Barking Lot, which opened its doors in June in the coastal city of Khobar, has delighted animal lovers in a country where there are few places to take pets outside the home.

The country’s once-notorious religious police used to ban the walking of pets, saying men were using it as a means to make passes at women.

But the ban was widely flouted and pets are becoming an increasingly common sight.

Animal shelters have sprung up in several cities.

The adoption of strays has become more popular in the rapidly modernising kingdom, which has undergone sweeping changes as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan.

The Barking Lot’s Kuwaiti owner, Dalal Ahmed, said she got the idea during a previous visit to the kingdom.

“I came to Saudi Arabia for a visit with my dog, but wasn’t allowed to walk on the beach with him,” she told AFP.

“I was very sad and decided to help by opening a coffee shop for people who have dogs – and even for those who do not.”

Young men and women gather at the cafe with dogs of all sizes.

Some pets playfully romp around, while others sit on their owners’ laps, or wait patiently at the counter as their guardians order drinks.

In one section, dogs are treated to washes and blow dries as part of the grooming services offered.

“The idea of this cafe is very new,” said Johara, a Saudi citizen. “It’s a distinct place where dogs can come and meet other dogs.”

For Nawaf, also from Saudi Arabia, it was the first time visiting the cafe, which he described as “beautiful”.

“I came here to play with the dogs, which now have a cafe for themselves for the first time in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro