A resource guide for all of Manayunk’s newest four-legged friends.
By Megan Douress
Photos by Alexa Nahas Photography (alexanahas.com)
Ask any Manayunk resident and they’ll tell you how much this community loves its dogs. From the outdoor dining scene and pet-friendly shopping to the many walking trails, our four-legged friends have it made when they spend time in this neighborhood.
People seeking some comfort and company flooded local animal shelters and rescues when the city shut down due to the coronavirus this past spring. Luckily, Manayunk has many resources for new pet owners and fun activities for their canine companions.
City of Paws Pet Care
4235 Main Street
There’s no better place to get all of your pet’s needs than City of Paws Pet Care. What started specifically as a dog walking and pet sitting business has expanded into a pet essentials storefront located at 4235 Main Street.
Although City of Paws Pet Care has always carried the basics, such as leashes, collars, bowls, treats, and more, the recent surge of new furry friends to the neighborhood led owner, Danny Offenbacher, to put together new dog/puppy packages for quarantine pets.
“We offer several baskets with all sorts of essentials,” Danny explained. “The basket chosen depends on what the pet owner is looking for. We have a grooming basket, as well as puppy and treat baskets. We can put a basket together or we can help someone pick out all of the essentials at our store based on their pet’s specific needs.”
And for those who recently adopted a “mystery mutt,” you might find it challenging to find the right size harness or crate for your growing pup. Luckily, Danny implemented a rental program for both products so new pet owners don’t waste their time and money on things they won’t need in a matter of months.
“It’s a great option because for a lot of people, when they’re shopping for things they need, they don’t know how big their dog will grow so the purpose of this program is that they’ll pre-purchase their final harness and crate and then they can come in any time they need to size up and it’s only a few dollars,” Danny explained. “Then they keep the final product once their pet is fully grown!”
Due to the growing need for pet essentials on Main Street, City of Paws Pet Care recently started carrying pet food based on all of their customers’ needs, including puppy and senior food, grain and grain free, wet and dry, and all kinds of protein bases. They’ll even deliver it to your home.
“We order from our vendors weekly, so we’re able to custom order food if someone needs a specific brand or if they want a larger sized bag than what we carry in the store,” Danny said.
Whether you’re still working from home or are heading back into the office, Danny and his team are ready to offer the essential activity of an afternoon walk for those who can’t step away from their desk most days. The walkers are taking every safety precaution, from using their own leashes to sanitizing anything they may touch in your home.
“We will take dogs on neighborhood walks, park adventures, and hikes to provide enrichment even while folks are home or have sporadic work schedules,” Danny explained. “If anyone needs our help over the holidays with pet sitting, get in touch with us with as much notice as possible – we’ll be booking up quickly.”
Other essential businesses:
Manayunk Pooch Scoochers
Walk This Way LLC (walkthiswayllc.com)
Premier Pet Services
4325 Main Street
We’re thrilled Premier Pet Services is the newest pet business to open their doors this year! Premier Pet Services is a wellness center for dogs, with services ranging from grooming to exercise, but her most popular tool — the water treadmill — is making waves and putting the new business on the map.
“One minute in the water treadmill is three minutes on land,” explained Kelley Wade, owner of Premier Pet Services. “Thirty minutes in the treadmill is an hour and a half walk on land, so it’s especially beneficial for overweight dogs and senior dogs.”
Sure, getting your dog some water time any time of year is fun, but Kelley’s clients use the water treadmill for all kinds of health benefits, one being relief from arthritis. The water assists in relieving weight from their joints. Cold-weather dogs with double coats (i.e. huskies) and brachycephalic dogs, or dogs with short noses (i.e. bulldogs), also benefit from the water treadmill when the weather warms up, which might be a challenge come walk time due to restricted airways. Finally, dogs who are in agility training can also be challenged with the addition of water resistance.
“For dogs that need something extra, we have jets, there’s an incline — I can really pump it for really athletic dogs as well,” Kelley said.
While the water treadmill might be the most popular service clients come in for, Premier Pet Services also specializes in grooming in a low stimulus environment — a service that is extremely beneficial for dogs who are typically nervous or scared in new situations.
“It’s called ‘desensitizing’ or ‘decompression,’” Kelley explained of the process her groomer uses. “Dogs who are reactive have a threshold and there are multiple thresholds to reactivity. A dog will let you know what stage it’s at where it’s kind of agitated — kind of questioning the situation — and we’ll let them take a step back and decompress. Or they can be in full-out, ‘I’m going to bite your face’ mode and then we’ll take them off the table, let them calm down and get back to that decompressed state, and slowly get them back on the table when they realize it’s not so bad. We take that extra time with the dogs here.”
Whether you have a new puppy or just adopted an adult dog, Kelley recommends bringing them to her business as soon as possible to ensure your dog feels safe with each visit. And if you’re the owner of a bully breed, Kelley and her team are more than happy to serve them as well.
“We don’t discriminate here,” Kelley said. “If you have a breed that is simply misunderstood, we’re willing to work with you here.”
For now, Premier Pet Services isn’t allowing any humans to accompany their dogs during appointments. Kelley asks that clients drop their dogs off and she will notify clients 30 minutes before they need to be picked up. With that said, Kelley does plan on bringing more retail into the store in the near future — focusing mostly on healthy items for dogs such supplements or treat alternatives. Customers will be allowed to shop at a maximum of two people in the store at a time, which Kelley, who also owns a dog-walking business, is very much looking forward to.
“I love all of the new dog friends I’ve made and their owners,” Kelley said. “Since I couldn’t expand my dog walking business — I’ve been booked out for about two years — it’s been a great way to help dogs without dog walking. It’s a whole new venue.”
Other wellness businesses:
The Animedic Veterinary Hospital
Canine Clippers (215-482-9091)
Scallywags Dog Daycare
4367 Cresson Street
You may have welcomed a new dog into your home to keep you company during the pandemic, but what you may not realize is that giving them enough play time with friends of their own will play a key role in their overall health and happiness. Luckily, Scallywags Dog Daycare reopened their doors this summer to help ensure both needs are met.
“We get that question a lot. ‘Why do they need us when they’re working from home?’” said Jessica Rabenstine, who co-owns Scallywags Dog Daycare with Lauren Bockmeyer. “Socialization as early as possible is really important for them. They’ll get along better with other dogs. When they come here, our clients have a tired, happy pup at the end of the day. I think most of our clients are still working from home and they bring them here almost just as much because their dog’s happiness isn’t any less important now that they’re working from home.”
For new dog owners, getting set up at the daycare is an easy, yet careful process to ensure everyone’s safety. Before your dog’s first day, new clients can register through the daycare’s website and will be prompted to answer a questionnaire, which asks about their dog’s vaccination records and most importantly, their behavior trends. Then, Lauren and Jessica will set your pup up with a trial day to see how they get along with the regular “pack.” Your dog will be invited to the daycare first thing in the morning so they can get acclimated.
“We have some dogs that are pretty timid, especially now because they have been in quarantine so long and they’re not used to being around other dogs,” Jessica explained. “It usually takes them a session or two and then they’re OK.”
“We try to guide them and let the other dogs guide them with social cues,” Lauren added. “Sometimes, they’ll get a little too rough or they’ll get too excited and we need them to cool off for a second — just learning some of the social cues from their friends here and us giving them verbal commands to calm down. That’s what we like to see — we don’t have too many issues.”
Once your dog is approved to be a part of the pack, you can expect lots of playtime — and frequent updates about said playtime on Instagram.
“It’s an absolutely cage-free environment so they’re free to be themselves and have a good time,” said Lauren. “That’s what they’re here to do, play with their besties and come hang out. They’re always so excited to come here and play.”
Because they always have numerous dogs in and out of their doors on a daily basis, they’ve always kept the daycare clean and tidy. But handling so many dogs in the time of a pandemic has created challenges all of their own, which lead them to implement contactless drop off and pickup.
“We ask people to wait outside at the bottom of the steps, and then they’ll hand us the leash and that’s it. It’s the same thing when they pick up,” Lauren said. “It’s very seamless and convenient. A lot of our clients like it because it takes two seconds.”
Although this time has been challenging for Lauren and Jessica, they love and appreciate all of the new friends they’ve made in the process.
“We’ve definitely had an influx,” Lauren said. “We did, unfortunately, have some clients who didn’t come back so it is nice that all of these new dogs joined. They’re the new gang!
“And it’s a lot of puppies, which is fun. The group is a lot younger than pre-COVID!” Jessica laughed.
Pet Friendly Dog Bakery
4324 Main Street
It’s an all too familiar scene for Manayunk dog owners. It’s a Saturday afternoon and you’re taking your dog for a stroll down Main Street when suddenly, your dog starts pulling you towards 4324 Main Street. It’s understandable why they would act that way, too. The Pet Friendly Dog Bakery has truly been a treat for dogs since they opened their doors in 2018. The fun-filled boutique offers locally made dog cookies, apparel and accessories, and plenty of room for playtime with space both indoors and outdoors. Manager, Stephanie Johnson, is thrilled with the recent “puppy boom,” which has led to many new furry faces at the store.
“I’m ecstatic!” Stephanie laughed.
Stephanie has a special bond with her customers as she handpicks all of the products carried in the store. She even coordinates with a local baker to decorate cookies and create treat flavors depending on the season and upcoming holidays. Her go-to recommendation for new dog owners still getting the hang of training are the jerky treats, which can easily be broken into pieces for small rewards.
“It’s all natural and even if a dog doesn’t necessarily like sweet things, they always love jerky,” she said.
Regular customers may have noticed a few new cookies to the case this fall when they added dog-safe versions of some of our favorite sweet treats, including granola donuts and peanut butter cannolis.
And while that’s all good and tasty, Stephanie’s personal favorite new product line is also food related — but we don’t recommend you let your dog eat these!
“We have a new toy line that we started carrying right as the pandemic hit called P.L.A.Y.,” Stephanie said. “They have such cute toys — all different food items. We have a chicken and waffle rope toy, some French fries that squeak and come apart, and we also have the ‘Buddy Mary,’ which looks like a Bloody Mary but has all of these fun pieces that crinkle and make noise.”
While the interactive toys and treats are great for temporarily keeping your new pup busy, Stephanie and her team have also been keeping plenty of chews on the shelves, which are super helpful for all of those virtual meetings and work calls from home.
When you’re able to get away from your desk for some playtime, the Pet Friendly Dog Bakery has a safe option for both indoor and outdoor sessions. For the time being, you can reserve a spot for your furry friend at www.calendly.com/pfdb. There, you’ll find all available time slots and upcoming “parties” for your dog to engage in.
“The reason we did the Calendly is because we want to be really careful,” Stephanie explained. “We don’t want people going down to play and then someone not bringing their mask or not social distancing — we don’t want anyone to get sick so we’re being almost overly cautious.”
This holiday season, look out for some seasonally-appropriate “parties” and stocking stuffers at the Pet Friendly Dog Bakery.