(Warning: animal puns ahead.)
Hotel Pennsylvania turned into something of a HairBnB this week as the midtown spot hosts/hosted nearly 500 dogs competing in the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show across the street at Madison Square Garden.
The hotel is pet-friendly throughout the year, but seriously pups their game every February for the annual event. Jerry Grymek, top dog of Pooch Relations (PR) and Barketing, has spearheaded the effort for two-plus dog years.
“I started doing PR for the hotel about the same time we began seeing growth in pet requests during Westminster and decided to expand services for the VIPs — Very Important Pooches,” says Grymek.
The Room to Groom S’paw equipped with bathing tubs, grooming tables, fitness equipment, and a relieving area is among the added amenities available to guests during the Dog Show.
A heightened sense of the lengths to which people go for these competitors is also on display. Grymek has happily granted many unusual wishes over the years, such as rolling out a red carpet for a dog’s arrival, sending cots to pet parents so their dogs can have their beds, and ordering in special comfort food.
“I’ve assisted with getting them seven cheeseburgers — hold the onions — and spinach pizza,” says the doggie concierge.
But his favorite inquiry was for Ecco D’Oro, a rare breed Spinone Italiano, who loved opera. As a pre-Show ritual, Grymek worked his magic to secure a New York City opera singer to serenade the furry participant.
“The dog was dressed up in a tuxedo for the performance and we sectioned off an area so people could listen and watch,” says Grymek. “Ecco was so relaxed during the performance, and even howled for an encore!”
Over the years, the hotel has hosted Best in Show winners, including Uno and Rufus — the first-ever beagle and bull terrier — to take top honors at Westminster.
“We like to think the hotel gives our guests some good luck for the show,” says Grymek. “And as a special thanks, we comp the entire stay for those Best in Show winners.”
What’s more, the Hotel Pennsylvania’s year-round animal policy is on a very long leash. There are no restrictions on the size or the kinds of pets allowed — near-300-lb. St. Bernards, cats, lizards, snakes, bats, and the like are all welcome with open paws, says Grymek.
“The key is letting the front desk know. This way housekeeping doesn’t get scared.”
NOTE: the show ends Tuesday night, when the dogs compete for Best in Show honors. Streamed online: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/live-stream/