`The Barking Lot’:  Dogs live heroes life in Saudi Arabia, thanks to specialized café

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ALKHOBAR: For a change, domesticating dogs is not a taboo anymore in Saudi Arabia.

Arab News reported that for the first time, a café dedicated to canines has been set up in the kingdom.

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Set up by Blal Antika,  `The Barking Lot’ has 14 in-house dogs while others visit regularly.

The cafe also has a grooming station where dogs can get their nails clipped and showered.

In Saudi Arabia, dogs have traditionally been excluded from living in homes. They were kept on farms or used for security purposes. But over the last decade, there has been a shift in the culture.

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“Growing up in Jeddah, I never thought I’d be surrounded by dogs. I’ve always had a sense of adventure so when I got an offer to work at the dog cafe in Alkhobar, I was curious. Even though I always had a fear of dogs, I thought to try it anyway. Now, I miss them whenever I am not around them,” Antika told Arab News.

The Alkhobar branch has been in operation for over two years. With plenty of snacks for both humans and dogs, the cafe caters to those who want their animals to play in a safe and controlled environment or chat with other people, exchange tips and show off their furry friends’ new tricks.

The cafe also helps both of them beat the sweltering Saudi heat.

“The weather, of course, is a shock for me and her and when I came to the cafe, you know, everything is enclosed. It has AC so I’d rather bring her here than take her to play in the park. We’re either at home or the cafe,” she said.

The Barking Lot was launched in Kuwait by Dalal Al-Sharhan with the Alkhobar branch opening in 2020 as the first canine-friendly cafe in the Kingdom followed by its second branch in 2021 in Riyadh.

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