Poochie Place

Editor's Pick | 
Rating: 5

(5 out of 5)

336 East 5th Street, New York, NY 10003

1367 miles away
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Editor's Review

The Poochie Place offers unique products along with full-service salon options.

June 29, 2010 12:42 pm | By Zootoo Editor Emily S.

Tucked away on a quiet block of New York City’s East Village, The Poochie Place – a full-service grooming salon and boutique – looks, at first glance, like many of the other hip emporia that dot this trendy downtown neighborhood. But don’t come looking for feathered earrings, skinny jeans, or an asymmetrical haircut (at least not for yourself). The Poochie Place caters to quadrupeds only.

Before my cat’s recent spa day, I consulted by phone with June, one of the owners of The Poochie Place, on their grooming services and policies. June explained to me that the cost of grooming depends on the kind of animal (cat or dog), breed, size, condition of the pet, and the haircut requested. The salon offers two different grooming packages – a “bath and brush” (which includes nail-clipping, ear-cleaning, pad trimming, an oatmeal bath and a blow-dry, plus a “sanitary and rear-end shave”), and a “full groom”, which includes all of the above, plus a haircut. The spa also offers the above services a la carte, along with tooth-brushing, flea-and-tick treatment, and nail polishing.

Francie and I began our visit with a conversation with Maggie, the groomer. Before Maggie begins working on a new client, she likes to get a little insight from the pet’s owner. What was Francie’s temperament like?, she asked. (Is “insane” a temperament?) Had she ever been groomed before? (No.) Had her nails been clipped? (Inexpertly, by me, and then only until I had to give up to tend to my lacerations.) How did Francie feel about being handled? (Not a fan.)

Maggie absorbed this discouraging information as Francie huddled morosely in her carrier, clearly skeptical at the prospect of a makeover. Given the nature of the pet, Maggie explained, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to complete a full groom, but would, she assured me, do as much as she could, beginning with an ear-cleaning and a nail-clipping.

“If things go well, expect her to be here for about 3 hours”, she said. “We’ll call you when she’s ready to be picked up.” Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. It was Maggie. “We’re done,” she said.

As we feared, Francie had proved to be a recalcitrant customer. Things had started off fine, Maggie told me, with an ear-cleaning followed by a more-or-less uneventful nail-clipping. When she’d attempted to bathe the cat, though, the situation quickly deteriorated. “She completely freaked out when she felt the water,” she told me, “and escaped from the sink. She’s hiding under the table.”

I felt terrible for having put both Maggie and Francie through the ordeal, but Maggie, who has witnessed the whole spectrum of pet behavior in her years as a groomer, seemed unperturbed. “Not all pets can tolerate grooming,” she explained. “Especially certain cats. But we did the best we could.”

Maggie charged me only for the ear-clean and nail-clipping – a lovely and much-appreciated gesture – and while I know that I won’t be bringing Francie back any time soon, I plan to return myself to pick up some treats from their beautiful selection. The store sells a variety of gourmet biscuits and cookies, all kinds of toys, plus beds, bowls, carriers, collars, and enough tiny apparel to make you wish you had four legs.

Pros: Helpful, patient staff members put new customers — and their pets — at ease. The facility’s beautiful selection of products complements the professional grooming services.

Cons: Feline anxiety won out over the groomer in the end, but this cat was a tough customer.

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