By Sherry Mazzocchi
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –It goes without saying that New Yorkers love their dogs.
It’s not surprising, then, to find that many dog owners are looking to treat their pooches like royalty. They can do just that at Spot, the luxury doggie daycare center on the Upper West Side.
The posh pup spot, located in the heart of Manhattan’s canine-loving culture, offers blueberry facials, color tinting, and dye jobs for dogs.
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Celebrity and a-list folks like Mariah Carey are clients. Their pups receive individual attention by trained dog handlers, walks in Central Park and playtime in an exclusive two-tiered backyard.
But owner Mitch Marrow – a former NFL player – said he’s most proud of Spot’s new relationship with Bideawee, New York’s oldest no-kill animal shelter. Spot sponsors Bideawee adoption events and offers discounted services to owners who adopt dogs.
“It’s an amazing partnership. We’re able to give back and help dogs that are less fortunate,” he said.
Nancy Taylor, Bideawee’s executive director, said it was Marrow who approached the 108-year-old animal rescue organization. After some discussion, Bideawee and Spot shook hands.
“Bideawee is always looking to partner with organizations that are best in breed, if you’ll pardon the pun,” Taylor said.
Marrow became a hedge fund manager after his NFL career, but turned to the doggie daycare business because he couldn’t find the kind of services he wanted for his own dogs.
He worked 14-hour days. His dogs, Reggie and Hank–a St. Bernard and a Bullmastiff–needed special attention. Marrow searched for a place he could leave his dogs all day. But he didn’t like what he saw.
Centers were staffed with untrained employees. Dog owners told him their pets came home tired. They thought their dogs were worn out from having fun all day.
But Marrow knew it meant the dogs were stressed.
He trained his financial analysis acumen on the pet care industry. After realizing there are 25,000 registered dogs between 68th St and 86th St. from Central Park West to Amsterdam, he opened a full service luxury spa for dogs on 72nd and Columbus.
“We’re right smack in the mecca of one of the areas that has the most dogs per capita,” he said.
Spot’s clientele includes the likes of James Gandolfini, Glenn Close, Bernadette Peters and Donna Karan. They also have locations in Chelsea and Tribeca, along with a 13-acre estate in Putnam County for people who want their dogs to have a country experience.
Clients receive concierge-level services. Dogs are picked up at home and dropped off when owners return. They’re walked in Central Park and play in Spot’s two-tiered backyard. Services also include training, grooming and even teeth cleaning.
Spot only hires people with a veterinary technician or animal behavior background. New employees also undergo a 50-hour program with trainer Kris Seiter.
“Seiter’s the only person in this field that trains people to take on the role of the alpha in a room with dogs,” Marrow said.