SENECA FALLS — All that’s missing are lounging guests sipping exotic drinks with little umbrellas stuck on top.
That’s because the “guests” at Phoebe’s K-9 Resort are dogs — hence, the requirement that all comers must have up-to-date vaccinations, and be flea- and tick-free.
Owner Jamie Hughes, a Seneca Falls native, designed the facility herself. The lifelong animal lover volunteered at the Beverly Animal Shelter in Waterloo, then worked at the Second Chance Dog Rescue on Route 318 in Tyre from 2014 until it was forced to close when the owner leased the building to the town of Tyre for municipal offices.
“I bought 28 acres of land here from Earl Martin and built the resort from scratch,” Hughes said. “It’s the only one between Rochester and Syracuse. It was all in my head, and I just put it on paper and showed it to my dad.”
Kelsey Construction of Seneca Falls was hired to build the “resort.” It features state-of-the-art security cameras, heating and cooling systems, heated floors, and artificial turf in outside play areas.
“Artificial turf is more sanitary than grass,’’ Hughes explained.
The resort has comfortable sleeping and napping beds. Special doggie treats are readily available, as are numerous toys, slides and other equipment, including small swimming pools to cool Fido off.
Dog owners can bring their canines to Phoebe’s — the business is named after Hughes’ 6-year-old pet Chihuahua — to be boarded on a per-day basis, or request day care only. An independent dog groomer rents space. Dogs can be signed up for training classes, agility drills and obedience work.
Big dogs are housed separately from small dogs.
“Many people bring their dogs here while they go on vacation,” Hughes said, noting that some dogs stay for up to a month. “We like to think it’s a vacation for the dogs to be here. We even have birthday parties, complete with hats and treats.”
Customers come from all over Central New York, Hughes said. There are 28 boarding suites available. Two days ago there were 15 dogs in day care and 20 dogs being boarded.
Although admittedly partial to dogs, Hughes also offers a modern cat boarding room, complete with full spectrum lighting; private, multi-level condos; and an air-conditioning system providing fresh air returns for odor, sanitary and climate control.
“Our prices are all-inclusive. There are no extra charges,” she said. “We give the animals a lot of personal attention. I’ve heard of places that charge $10 for five-minute petting sessions. We give lots of free belly rubs.”
One customer has brought her dog, Chevy, from her home in Stanley every workday for three years. That customer works in Geneva, Hughes said.
All breeds of dogs are welcome, and the resort uses a Seneca Falls veterinarian, Dr. Carl Darby, to deal with any medical issues that may arise with animals staying at the resort. Pet owners bring their own food and Phoebe’s staff will prepare it.
Dog daycare fees are $10 for a half-day and $15 for a full day. Dog boarding fees per night are $30 for one dog, $42 for two, $48 for three and $54 for four — in a shared condo. If multiple family dogs are housed in separate suites, the cost is $25 per night, per dog.
Cat boarding is $15 per night for one cat and $22 per night for two cats.
Hughes said when she first proposed Phoebe’s to town officials, there were some objections from neighbors about possible noise and odors. Hughes said she deliberately located the building at the end of a long driveway off Garden Street.
Many early critics have apologized for their objections, she noted.
Hughes said she’s invested about $250,000 in establishing Phoebe’s. She has no regrets, and said business is brisk.
“My advice is to book early,” she said.