Bay Ridge goes to the dogs as Brooklyn Canine Club cuts ribbon on new digs

March 7, 2018 Meaghan McGoldrick
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It’s more than just doggie-daycare – it’s a family, and a feeling.

That’s the motto at Brooklyn Canine Club – a full service daycare dedicated to the continued health and well-being of your pup – which cut the ribbon on its new Bay Ridge digs on Friday, February 23.

The club is run by animal lover and self-proclaimed “pack-leader” Jose Candia with the help of partner Salvatore Pernice, a licensed vet who works for the club’s next-door neighbor, Brooklyn Veterinary Group. The new club functions as an in-place sitter for pooches and offers up to 12 hours of play on weekdays and up to seven on Saturdays – all at a price that will make humans as happy as their furry loved ones.

“It’s all about positive reinforcement and love,” said Candia, who gave this paper a personal tour of the facility at its grand opening, adding, “I just felt this need to open up something like this in the neighborhood. There are so many dogs but really, nothing like this anywhere around.”

Candia, who moved to the states with his family in 1996, is a “tried and true dog-lover” and is certified in Animal Care and Handling by the City of New York. Almost as passionate about gardening and good juju as he is about his pups, Candia pushed to have the walls of the center’s play area lined with live plants – the walls of most of the interior of the club taken directly (and noticeably untouched) from the foundation of an old upstate New York barn.

“I wanted to keep it the way it was to really create the feeling of outdoors inside,” he said, adding also that every aspect of the club – from its rubber flooring to its cleaning products – is made especially for canines.

As for its services, a full day (or six or more hours) at Brooklyn Canine Club costs just $40 per pup (with walks and baths available at an additional cost) and a half-day (3.5 hours of play) is just $25. Other than that, pups can enjoy playtime by the hour at just $10 each. Sibling pricing is also available for humans with more than one doggie for Candia to love.

Complimentary for every pup, Candia said, is access to the facility’s impressive 150-square-foot backyard (which Brooklyn Canine Club and Brooklyn Veterinary Group share), which comes complete with “doggie-friendly” turf that’s both practical and playful.

To encourage socialization (and avoid overwhelming its canine clients), the club does not take in more than 20 dogs at a time. They must first pass a temperament test in which Candia introduces them to his five-year-old pit bull mix, Lilly – who helped give Candia and Pernice the idea.

“It felt a lot like fate,” he told this paper, stressing that, once he and Pernice got the ball rolling, things just started lining up. “I told [Pernice] my idea and he said, ‘There’s a place next door’ and we met the landlord literally hours later.”

From there, it was a total makeover for the site, which once housed a nail salon. Today, a single pathway connects the club’s front room with its bountiful outdoor space, with a massive play area for the pooches to the left and just three other rooms – an office, a bathroom and a grooming station — making the club easy to navigate for both people and their pups.

Most important to Candia, he said, is the sense of love the club inspires – both for him and his family (his wife Doreen assists with day-to-day operations) and his canine clients (Candia’s love for whom shines through in his stories).

“Take Gemma for instance,” he said of an easily excited, loveable eight-month-old Dogo Argentino who is already a frequent flier of the Canine Club’s. “Her first day here, she fell asleep in the corner and I noticed she was whimpering – she must not like to sleep alone – so I went over and laid down with her. That’s the whole point here. I don’t treat them like just a member, I treat them like one of mine.”

On hand for the opening ceremonies were Councilmember Justin Brannan and representatives for Congressmember Dan Donovan and Public Advocate Letitia James.

Brooklyn Canine Club is located at 8209 Fifth Avenue.

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