New York — Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan played host this week to the most pampered of all pedigreed pooches as they prepared for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
This hotel in the heart of Midtown is host to many of the poodles, dachshunds, hounds and other breeds that arrive with their owners to compete for top honors.
“It is like the Super Bowl and Miss America with dogs all rolled into one,” said Jerry Grymek, doggie concierge in charge of “pooch relations” at the hotel.
When the furry guests arrive, Grymek is there to greet them in style. He ushers them in with a cookie, and stands ready to cater to their every need.
“We get interesting requests from guests for their dogs,” Grymek said. “This includes a red carpet roll-out for the dogs upon arrival. Last year, we had an opera singer that serenaded a dog here in the lobby. This dog was here sitting, enjoying the music. He had closed his eyes just to listen to the opera singer serenade him.”
One of the most impressive parts about a dog's stay at Hotel Pennsylvania is the doggie spa and gym. Dogs can hop on the treadmill to work on muscle balance, receive a stress-relieving massage and get groomed.
Raleigh competitor Joyce Killinger was there with her 8-year-old Tibetan terrier, Tashi, who worked out on the treadmill. Tashi is a veteran competitor, but this is his first trip to Westminster.
“It takes me a good two hours to groom him from start to finish,” Killinger said.
Tashi – whose full competition name is Grand Champion Moonrize Doubleshot Espresso RN CGC -- has two coats of hair and gets bathed every four days. The bath includes a shampoo, condition, blow dry and a good brushing.
To get a leg up on the competition at Westminster, dogs must look their best. From bouffant poodles to glammed up toy breeds, many of the Westminster cover models make a visit to the hotel’s spa.
“We have a doctor on site to help stretch and distress the dogs because, again the competitive spirit, there can be a little tension in the air,” Grymek said.
Despite all the pampering, Killinger said, Tashi doesn’t let the attention go to his head. Back home in Raleigh, he’s a regular family member.
“He runs in the yard, he chases birds and enjoys being a family dog, part of our family,” she said.