What if dogs could talk? Well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they had a lot on their minds to discuss with their fellow doggie buddies. But where would they be able to do that? Why, at TherPup – A Dog Café of course! Yes, you heard that right – a café exclusively for hot coffees and even hotter canine conversations for hungry hounds, playful pooches and mischievous mutts – and people too!
TherPup (short for “Therapy Puppies”) is a café dedicated to dog lovers everywhere who may not own a dog of their own but love spending some quality time with them nonetheless. Foodies – dog or human, can enjoy their favorite eats from their well-stocked menu too. Located in Whitefield, Bangalore, TherPup is the perfect place to ease your stress and enjoy some great food and company with man’s best friend. From pretentious poodles, beefy bulldogs and lovable labs, all are welcome to join in on the fun and frolic!
The Dog Lover Behind This Adorable Flea Bag Fraternity
Ankur Jain – born dog-lover – spent his entire life around dogs. Raising three dogs of his own before moving to Bangalore on work, he terribly missed having a pet dog around. Considering that he would be out of the house for 10-12 hours without any help, he dropped the idea of having a pet pooch of his own. Looking for a place where he could just spend some quality time with his furry friends, Ankur came across only a few far off and poorly maintained animal shelters that didn’t emit very pleasing vibes. That’s when he decided to open up a place of his own with well-trained dogs for true dog lovers who were unable to adopt one of their own – just like Ankur.
After doing some research, he realized that there were very few pet-friendly places in the city. And then dawned on him the idea of TherPup – an in-house dog café for dog parents and just plain dog lovers to enjoy some good food and companionship. Kind of like the infamous ‘coffee house’ in the hit TV series ‘Friends’ – but with dogs too!
Opening a pet-friendly café with 7 in-house, well-trained dogs wasn’t a ‘walk in the park’ for Ankur. Firstly, it wasn’t easy training the in-house dogs to keep their paws off the “human” food on the tables. Secondly, reminding the human customers that they needed to follow the rules too! And thirdly – and definitely the most challenging of all – cleaning up the place after all the messy, mutty mayhem! But Ankur was “dogged” on making it happen! Apart from facing a few cranky customers, there was nothing that was going to stand in the way of Ankur’s doggie dreams.
Nothing has got our moral down. We always stand tall on our decisions.”
From a Doggoned Lifestyle to Dealing with The Canine Competition…
Of course, Ankur had to invest his 4-years’ worth of savings, slogging it out in IT companies, into his pet project, move from a two-bedroom pad into a single-room apartment and say no to weekends of partying with friends to get to where he is now, but it was all worth it for this persistent and proud pooch-lover.
Then there was facing stiff international competition from other dog cafes where the entry fees and billing amounts were minimal due to high maintenance fees – the same problem faced by Ankur. But what sets his café apart from the rest is the nil entry charge and minimal billing. After all, its survival of the fittest in this dog-eat-dog world. Even though he still faces a few customers who just visit to play with the pooches and leave without ordering anything, Ankur doesn’t force an entry or cover fee on anyone as his main aim is to educate people about dogs – something which is highly lacking in India, and help them overcome their irrational fear of these friendly, tame and gentle tail-waggers.
I think solving a common/basic problem with your ideas and execution to make a better world is entrepreneurship.”
Marketing his company on social media channels, frequent uploads of pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram and holding monthly events help keep customers engaged and business booming. And for a little offline marketing…dogs giving out flyers to people who come to pet them. Now, who can say no to that?
Dogs are my biggest inspiration. Being happy with very little and always there to comfort you in your hard times. All my ideas are because of these lovely creatures.”
Spoken like a true dog lover. Ankur would also notice how people who had had a rough day drop by the cafe and within a few minutes be in a better mood thanks to the dogs. This gave him the idea of ‘TherPUP Supercharge’ – some much-needed dog therapy wherein his dogs are taken to visit places like offices, schools, and orphanages to relieve stress and uplift spirits. And of course, the inquiries just came flooding in. They also conduct dog rescue operations and have their reliable canines on call for emergency requirements like blood donations. And if you want to leave your pet dog in a safe haven while you’re out holidaying then TherPUP offers boarding services too.
The Road Ahead for This Canine Coddler
Within just a year, Ankur’s puppy project has won the hearts of people everywhere, raking in over 15,000 followers on social media, with his ‘TherPUP Supercharge’ program geared to be the next big thing. Ankur also hopes to branch out into different cities and fulfill his mission on changing the way people look at pet animals in India and educating them about the importance of having a pet. Ankur also aims to match the ratio of the human-dog population of India with that of the United States and break all ‘dog’-matic frontiers.
His Bark Is Worse Than His Bite
Ankur explains the reasons behind dogs chasing cars, motorcycles or any fast-moving
object. It’s called the ‘Prey Drive’ instinct wherein dogs equate these moving objects to a ball, squirrel or anything else similar to what it would normally chase after for fun. So instead of people getting scared, frantically rolling up their car windows and speeding away for dear life, Ankur suggests slowing down or stopping to give him time to back off. He even playfully suggests inviting him in to join the ride! But of course, you’d have to be ‘barking’ mad to do that!
Advice to other Aspiring Animal-Lovers
You should believe in your idea, don’t try to convince the world.”
Ankur advises researching thoroughly on something before delving into it to help lower the risk of failing. Ankur invested a solid 8 months into research and learning before launching TherPUP.
To those who plan on bringing a pet into their families, Ankur strongly recommends learning about the breed and their common behaviors first. Don’t just pick up a puppy because you’ve fallen for its wide-eyed, irresistible cuteness or invest in a fancy breed because of its high pedigree. Make sure to take out enough time for your pet dog without over coddling him – Remember, he’s a part of your family too.
Lastly, Ankur hopes that all of us can show a little more love and compassion to our street dogs too and treat them with the same kindness that we treat our home dogs with. After all, there’s a reason why they’re called ‘man’s best friend’ – a truth that this bold, yet benevolent entrepreneur, with truly a heart of gold, has certainly opened our eyes to.