Just over the bridge from the Rumson-Fair Haven area, K-9 Resorts Daycare & Luxury Hotel is opening a new 5,300-square-foot luxury hotel for dogs in Middletown, at Route 35 at Tindall Road, where the Centrex Gym used to be.
A construction crew is in the vacant site this week, framing out the trendy facility. K-9 Resorts plans to offer overnight accommodations for up to 160 dogs, and two doggie daycare areas for up to 80 dogs. A 3,000-square-foot fenced-in dog park in the back, with different areas for small and large dogs, is also in the plan.
"There is not even any comparison around to what we're going to be able to offer," said franchise owner Dan Cody, who will run the business with his wife Lisa. "Kennels are usually cages. Our luxury suites are going to have beds, TV sets playing Animal Planet, or the Yankees, whatever dogs want to watch. They are going to have all the comforts of a high-end hotel," said Cody.
Like the first K-9 Resorts at 43 South Avenue in Fanwood, caring staff members will tend to dogs lounging on Kuranda luxury dog bedding or in designer suites. They will play with them during exercise sessions, encourage midday naps, and keep a sensitive eye out for guests with separation anxiety or boredom issues.
The price of an sleepover depends on the level of luxury and the number of exercise sessions. The recommended "all inclusive" package in Fanwood is $73 a night, with a 50% discount if boarding with a second dog. Mandatory baths for dogs staying longer than two days is $29. As for doggie daycare, that costs $32 a day, with a mandatory $32 evaluation.
Dan and Lisa Cody are dedicated to the animal rescue movement, and spend lots of volunteer time at the Bergen County Animal Shelter caring for the canines. Dan Cody said they are excited to hire 8 people and one manager, and hope to open on May 1, pending a sign off from the township Health Dept. and the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
Theirs is one of five new K-9 franchises opening in 2013 in New Jersey. Others will be in Marlboro, Fairfield, Chatham, and Basking Ridge.
K-9 Resorts will be one of a handful of dog boarding services in Middletown. Across the highway on Magnolia Lane, Bow-Wow Bed and Bath for the past 17 years. Dogs On The Farm & Cats Too runs a resort on a Chapel Hill horse farm.
Their next door neighbors said they were amused by the concept, and are hopeful that K-9 Resorts will draw traffic back into the vast parking lot.
STS Tire and Auto Centers, which opened a few months ago when the company bought Strauss Auto in bankruptcy, is on the other side of the future resort. "I don't have a problem with it," said manager Guy DiMauro, the proud owner of a black Labrador. "But I'm a little concerned with the noise level." The sunny, STS waiting room, perfumed by the distinctive odor of new tires, is quieter than a library.
Over at the 7-Eleven, manager John Gad admitted "I'm actually a cat person" but offered he was definitely enthused about the dog resort. "Anything that will bring life to the shopping center," he said.
Although township Health Department regulations prohibit non-service dogs from coming inside the food store, the 7-Eleven manager is already dreaming of a whole new customer base. "We have a small section for pet food and pet needs," he said. "I think we'll expand on that."