Meal Ticket: Pupp, Clanbrassil St, Dublin - great for pooches and humans to chill

My owner took me to this dog-friendly cafe. It has scones and pastries and sandwiches for two-legged creatures - I preferred the dog treats. Woof!

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DaffodilYou know, sometimes being a dog ain’t easy. It’s a challenge to be laid-back about the lack of free will I have. When my humans, Aoife and Niall, put on their coat and grab my lead, I literally have no idea where I’m going. we often end up in the local park where I get to run around with my pals and try to figure out exactly where I am in the pack hierarchy.

In general, I’m a pretty happy dog. What does make me anxious is if I’m in an enclosed space on my lead with other dogs around. I overhear Aoife and Niall talking about Pupp, a new café in our neighbourhood. “I don’t know if Daffo will like it there,” they say, and I’m like, GUYS, I’M RIGHT HERE. They always talk about me like I don’t even understand what they’re saying.

On a recent morning, Aoife put on her coat and got my lead. Where would we end up today? We turn a corner near Clanbrassil St and I start to get the sinking feeling that we’re going to Mutt Ugly. I have a love/hate relationship with Mutt Ugly. I love the staff (they are so nice and give me loads of treats) but I hate getting my hair cut. Thankfully, on this day, we continue past Mutt Ugly and into Pupp, a new café for dog lovers.

Good sniff
I really like how the owner of the café, Ella Wallis, says hello to me. She gets down on her knees to my level and lets me have a good sniff of her hand before she even tries to give me a rub. You wouldn’t believe how many people try to immediately pat me on the head. It’s like, HELLO, we just met and you want to get all up in my face?

There are only two other dogs in the café, and after a bit of a sniff, I decide that neither is a threat, so there’s no need for me to lose my cool. I can smell nice treats, of both the human and the dog kind. I try to sniff my way into the kitchen area but I don’t get anywhere near it. The waitress politely tells Aoife that the area is strictly out of bounds for doggies.

Even us dogs were a bit confused by the recent lack of clarity on the legislation around us not being allowed into cafés. I listen in while Wallis explains it to Aoife.

“We don’t have any kind of special dispensation here at Pupp,” she says. “We invited the HSE in from the start and have had nothing but help from them.” The two pieces of legislation that Wallis has to abide is an Irish hygiene act from the 1950s which states that all dogs must be kept on leads and must not live on the premises, and the 2004 EU regulation which says dogs can’t be near where food is handled and stored. Wallis is ticking these boxes with Pupp since she opened in late February.

From the doggy menu, Aoife orders a Doggy Tea for me, a fresh breath herbal tea made from dill, lemongrass, ginger, fenugreek and sage (€2.50), supplied to Pupp by the Cheeky Dog Bakery. It’s served in a large dog bowl, which I sniff for a while before I decide that I am not into it. Aoife gets it to go in a takeaway cup and I’m happier drinking it when I get home. I also get treated to a bag of Dog Treat Pick and Mix (€3.50), also supplied by the Cheeky Dog Bakery. This Sandymount-based dog bakery makes their treats from scratch and by hand. If I had thumbs, I would have them raised firmly in the upwards direction.

Good noises
Aoife is making good noises about the food menu, which includes Feta Eggs (€7) and freshly made falafel burgers (€9.50). The coffee is from Nick’s Coffee in Ranelagh, and the scones are made by Wallis and her team. Aoife gets a delicious looking strawberry custard Danish, supplied by a French baker at Project 12.

Wallis obviously understands dogs. She’s created a calm environment for pooches and their humans to chill out. “We appeal to conscientious owners,” says Wallis, and that rings true. Not every dog is into being in a café on their lead, and hopefully owners know their dogs well enough to know what is right for them. I enjoyed my first visit and I’ll be back for more of those Cheeky Dog treats.

-  By Daffodil McElwain-Byrne