When the Manhattan Sideways team entered Mia’s Bathhouse during the summer of 2017, we were greeted by the enthusiastic barking of Bella, the five-month-old German Shepherd mix who was watching over the shop alongside her owner, Melody, the manager of Mia’s. She very kindly offered to chat with us about the business while Bella acted as a model for our photographer. LaChena, who also owns the adjacent laundromat, Sudsy Water, opened Mia’s Bathhouse in November 2014. Not only does Mia's offer full service grooming, but also the unique service of self-washing. In fact, Melody told us that they are the only groomers in Harlem with self-serve dog washing available. This has made Mia's a popular option in the neighborhood, since, as Melody pointed out, “It beats doing it in a bathtub at home. ” For those who prefer to leave the pampering to the attendants, the store also has chairs available so “our pet parents can sit and watch their baby get groomed. ”Mia’s also does its best to give back to their community. “We love rescues here, ” Melody exclaimed, adding that there is a ten percent discount on services and merchandise for all rescue dogs. There are also “breed months, ” where certain dogs are selected each month to receive discounted services.
When I first walked into Doggie Dearest, I had no idea that it was one of the oldest businesses on 5th Street. The reception area was decorated with leafy green plants and painted a cheerful shade of “dog’s ear pink, ” and the owner, Evelyn, took a break from grooming to share her story. Now a fixture on 5th, Doggie Dearest started out as a hobby. “I was bartending and working as a personal assistant, ” Evelyn said, “and I decided to take a grooming class. ” She discovered that she had a talent for the work and in 1993, Doggie Dearest was born. Though the business has grown over the years, Evelyn has not hired a large staff. She and her assistant do all of the grooming work, and she prides herself on the individualized care she gives to each pet. While other groomers often keep cats and dogs waiting for hours, Doggie Dearest is structured like a human hair salon, so that each animal gets a personal appointment. Evelyn also describes herself as the “first line of defense” against diseases: she has often alerted pet owners to symptoms they would never have noticed themselves. Between rising rents and her own battle with cancer, it has been difficult for Evelyn to keep the business afloat, but she keeps going, because she loves the work. “I even love the crazy dog people, ” she added, laughing.
New York Dog Spa and Hotel offers boarding, daycare, grooming and training services for dogs. While focused on pets, this business also offers the Red Carpet Party package - for $700, they will provide a two hour party for twenty people and their pets, champagne included. Welcome to New York!
We have become used to stumbling upon culinary institutes, universities, and elementary schools, but never have we stumbled upon a pet-grooming academy. In 2002, American Academy of Pet Grooming was founded, landing on 25th street. The institution offers a 150+ hour curriculum that teaches aspiring groomers how to cut, style, and treat a furry customer.