JAKARTA, May 28 (Jakarta Post/ANN): Located in the Pluit ward of North Jakarta, the dog-friendly premise aims to be a locus of care, knowledge and joy for all dog lovers in the city.
What is it about fluffy and velvety puppies that tugs at the heartstrings so much that they eventually earned the nickname 'a man's best friend'?
Ervi and Hendra, a Jakarta-based married couple and the founders of a dog-friendly premise called Dogs Ministry offered a firm, yet thoughtful answer.
"There is already [scientific] research about this; out of all animals, the ones that can bond with humans the most closely are dogs," Ervi, on behalf of the couple, explained to The Jakarta Post on May 7.
"They can forge such a covenant [with humans] to the point to which they would [even] be willing to sacrifice themselves for their owners."
Her answer, though, was not at all influenced by sentimentality. At Dogs Ministry, Ervi and Hendra have witnessed how the bond between dogs and their owners could inspire a loving faculty, so much so that it can also provide much-needed joy and salve for both the man and their best friend.
Located in the Pluit ward of North Jakarta, Dogs Ministry has grown to become a popular spot among children, dog lovers and anyone in the city who could use a few hours of fluffy cuddliness.
Humans and hooch
The abstraction of what would eventually be manifested as Dogs Ministry, Ervi divulged, began from a "sense of necessity".
Already a consummate pet person, Ervi, along with her husband, went so far as to establish a private property specifically for the purpose of housing their numerous puppies and other pet animals. The canines, in particular, were a hit among the children in the couple's neighborhood.
"[Neighborhood] kids would knock on our door and ask whether they could play with the dogs," Ervi reminisced. "We observed, then and there, that kids love dogs and dogs love kids as well, because there's this, we would say, an 'exchange of energy'.
"Animals are all about energy, and we see it as something nourishing. That, and also, kids don't stick with their gadgets when they play with the dogs."
The curiosity and enthusiasm for man's best friend were palpable, from which Ervi and Hendra saw a "win-win solution" for both their puppies and their fellow cynophiles.
Long story short, Ervi and Hendra opened a public premise called Dogs Ministry, which welcomed its first patrons and visitors in January 2020.
The name itself bears a certain vision and, perhaps more importantly, a wish from the founders. "There's a double meaning, we find, for the word 'ministry'," Ervi explained.
"A ministry is a place of worship for the Christians or a place to find peacefulness. Thereby, we hope Dogs Ministry can be a place of peacefulness for dogs and their lovers and a scene for [cynophile] community."
Dogs Ministry embraces both humans and dogs alike. Nonetheless, Ervi underscored that, ultimately, at least in this particular scene, dogs' needs and necessities come first and foremost.
All the elements and facilities inside Dogs Ministry were crafted "to the fullest extent" based on the founders' experience as dog owners. "For instance: The ramp that we make available here," she pointed out.
"The ramp is for dogs that are older or having issues with their joints and, therefore, can no longer walk the stairs. Another example would be the [dog] pool. Dogs that are older or having issues with their joints should not be intensely active or exercising. Here, they can go for hydrotherapy in the pool instead."
Care and knowledge
It would be a misconception to label Dogs Ministry simply as a dog-themed cafe only.
As the visitors step further into Dogs Ministry, they would also discover various facilities that specifically cater to all kinds of canines, namely a daycare for dogs, a hotel for dogs, a spa and a pool for dogs, a grooming salon for dogs, a rooftop park at which visitors and their respective pet canines can mingle and have a playdate together and a dog lounge on which visitors with no pet canines can play with and observe the Dogs Ministry's approximately 93 in-house puppies of various breeds.
Hendra explained the requirements that visiting dog owners should meet if they wish for their pets to have a playdate at Dogs Ministry: "Vaccinations are a must.
The [patrons'] dogs must have already received vaccination two or three times; the vaccinations are still, one could say, 'active' and not 'expired' yet. Then, the [patrons'] dogs should definitely have neither lice nor fungus, and they shouldn't be menstruating or in heat during playdates."
Moreover, visiting dog owners and guests should always be courteous and vigilant. Each canine, after all, possesses different characters and temperaments.
"It's just like bringing kids to play in public spaces," Ervi chimed in. "We must always be heedful."
About Dogs Ministry's extensive grooming amenities, Ervi highlighted how dogs, just like humans, should be subjected to conscientious care, inside and out:
"The very first layer is cleanliness. If the [dog's] hygiene is not taken care of, diseases will surely follow. The problem with dogs is, they can't talk [like humans] when they are hurt or uncomfortable or allergic."
Now entering the fourth year of its operation, Dogs Ministry is aiming to be more than just a community scene for the city's cynophiles. The founders expect every patron that has ever visited Dogs Ministry to return to their homes as more informed and knowledgeable champions of animals.
"We envision [Dogs Ministry] to be a locus for education as well. We see how, especially in Indonesia, treatment and protection of animals are still very much overlooked," Ervi remarked.
"It may be difficult to impose laws, but growing an affection [instead] may be easier. We treat better what we love, especially among the younger generation."
Fortunately, the patrons of Dogs Ministry appear to share the founders' spark as well. Not only do they frequent Dogs Ministry for some fluffy playdates, but they would also bond with their fellow cynophiles and trade advice and experience concerning how to properly domesticate and care for their beloved pets.
And we always encourage them to do research," Ervi noted. "Talk-only would not be sufficient." - The Jakarta Post/ANN