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Coffee Goes to the Dogs

Kohana Cold Brew

When we count all the many ways that coffee and the people who provide it make our world a happier place, we usually get a human score. A roaster paying more to impoverished growers. A café employing ex-cons. A coffee maker making good on its promise to help kids with disabilities.

But the good that pours from our collective cup doesn’t always end up percolating down to people. Lately, our canine friends have been getting a boost from the coffee community, and that’s a great thing, too. As Albert Schweitzer said, “Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.” Agreed, and that’s why it’s so very good to see dogs finally getting more than a couple of legs up thanks to the kindness of coffee people

The Hott Spott café in Mitilíni on the Greek island of Lesbos, for example, has begun letting homeless dogs spend the night inside. Each evening when the shop closes its doors to humans, it opens them to local strays, who are invited in to sleep safely (and warmly!) on its empty couches and chairs. The café, whose philosophy reflects the Greek cultural ethos that calls on all people to care for homeless animals, is part of the solution to the country’s problem of one million dogs that have no place to call home.

At Los Angeles’ Dog Café, the spin is a little different. Order a latte or an espresso, and take it into the dog lounge to enjoy in the company of shelter rescue dogs looking for forever homes. Every one is spayed or neutered and current on vaccinations. All they need is a place to call their own and a family to match. Like speed-dating for canine companions, the no-kill café fosters these relationships by giving would-be owners and their prospective pets a place to get acquainted and some coffee to do it with. They’ll even help with the paperwork.

Grounds and Hounds, a Nashville, Tennessee-based mail-order and wholesale roaster offers such fair-trade, custom-blended coffees as Sit & Stay and Morning Walk. Every time a bag is sold, the company donates 20% of the proceeds to a no-kill rescue shelter in the buyer’s region of the country. Grounds and Hounds works with some 30 partner rescue organizations, and has helped save thousands of dogs. Every 30 bags of coffee sold results in one forever-home placement, and just 15 bags will feed a dog for a month while he or she waits for someone to give them a home.

Endeavors like these are helping spread coffee’s good karma beyond the anthropological world and into the animal realm. After all, who says coffee need only be kind to people? Humanity’s intelligent and loving canine sidekicks deserve a boost, too. Thanks to the efforts of heroic coffee lovers, the most desperate among them are finally finding the hope that comes when they get it and leaving the dog’s life behind.

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