I’d like to say I never met a dog I didn’t like. But, actually, there was one bully dog down the block where I grew up who absolutely terrorized all the other dogs on the block. Terrorized me, too.... And my mother.
So I never had a dog. Until college. When I had a wonderful mixed breed named Keesha. Then I moved back to the Upper West Side, where I got the first of three Havanese. Spent hour after hour at the great, social playground that is the dog run in Riverside Park. Until...I got a job. Started a career. Prospered. Had a boy, Sammy, who loves dogs as much as I do.
And felt guilty every morning hearing Trudy and Otis (the current Havanese) wimpering in disappointment when Sammy and I left for school and work and came back in the early evening. (To the sounds of yips of joy behind the door.)
I tried a couple of daycare doggie centers and wasn’t happy with the way Trudy and Otis looked when I dropped them off in the morning. Or when I picked them up in the evening. I switched to a dog walker a couple of times a day. Good guy. But he was having the fun with the dogs, not me. And all the while, I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could spend more time with Trudy and Otis. Great for Trudy and Otis. Great for me.
I studied the dog day care market, met with the great Riverside Park Dog Run devotees. Quit my job. Decided to run my own doggie day care center. It has taken a year to find the people who love dogs as much as I do to staff the place. To find a spacious and comfortable enough place on the bristling Upper West Side. And to research the best possible equipment, materials and goodies.
There’s Linda the head dog handler and trainer. Linda is a certified trainer who works with and trains all sizes and breeds using positive reinforcement, using praise and treats as her primary method of training. Her remarkable skills coupled with her passion for dogs makes the playground a safe, happy environment for our four legged clientele.
And there's my team of highly experienced groomers. Not only are they experts at the grooming standards for all breeds, they are experienced dog handlers, who know how to make your dog comfortable and relaxed during what can be a stressful experience for some dogs. Our groomers like to make all their clients happy - canine and human.
And me, Gail, I'm pretty much there all the time. Just ask my regulars! We stock only the healthiest, tastiest treats, safe toys and dog clothes that are both adorable and functional for New York's cold winters.
My daycare and boarding staff are all experienced dog handlers, who are required to have worked in a daycare, kennel or veterinarian before they can be hired. They all love dogs as much as I do. And by the way, they can all spot a bully a mile away, which is as close as one’ll ever get to Playground Pups.
Basically, what we do when we’re not training, bathing, grooming, cleaning and playing fetch is...hanging out with the pups all day. Nice work if you can get it.
I’ve got it. ______________________________________________________________________________________