Stars, stripes and wagging tails on tap at Onset coffee shop
A new cafe in Onset has gone to the dogs. Specifically, to the military dogs.
Tracy Knowles, the owner of soon to be opened Dog Days Coffee at 2 W Central Ave., is a veteran who wants to shine a light on dogs who have served. As military veterans, Tracy and her husband Troy (the couple owns the Sinners & Saints Tattoo Shop next door) knew they wanted to give back. While planning out the coffee shop, Tracy realized how many charities were available for human veterans - and how few provided for the dogs who served beside them.
That’s why 10 percent of the coffee shop’s proceeds will go to Mission K9 Rescue, a nonprofit based out of Houston, Texas. The charity's motto is to “rescue, reunite, repair, re-home and rehabilitate” retired military dogs. According to Tracy, military and contract dogs are often left in foreign countries when they’re shipped there, and Mission K9 raises funds to help them return and recover into a normal, retired life.
Each coffee blend is named after a canine war veteran. The dark roast is named after Sgt. Stubby, the most decorated war dog in history, who served fearlessly in World War I, alerting soldiers every time a gas canister exploded near American lines. Jafa, the medium roast, is named after a veteran whose handler was the first female dog handler to lose her life in Operation Enduring Freedom. Duke, who gave his name to the rainforest blend, saved his handler and a squadron of American soldiers from a Vietcong ambush.
Military dogs aren't the only focus, either. Tracy will welcome any pup out on a stroll for a visit, provided that he or she is well-behaved and calm.
“Bring your best friend in. Why not stop in for a cup of coffee while you’re out on your morning walk?” she said.
Tracy also plans to have dog adoption days at the coffee shop during the summer, in a collaboration with local shelters.
The shop itself is refinished with almost entirely re-purposed furniture - pallet slats line the walls, and the furniture is reclaimed. The grill of a World War II era Jeep hangs proudly on one wall. The only new object in the room is the metal siding on the counter.
Dog Days Coffee will be staffed by military veterans or military families. It’s something Tracy and her husband are adamant about.
“I have a military veteran friend moving out here from Ohio,” Knowles states. “Family members of local veterans will be staffing the counter, especially in the summer. We mean what we say; it’s a 100 percent veteran-run business.”
Opening day at Dog Days Coffee is April 3. The shop's hours are listed as open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., but Knowles says that the hours may change.
"I want to serve everybody, whether they're leaving work or coming home from work. If that means staying open until 6 p.m., we'll do it."