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If The Secret Life of Pets triggered what-is-my-dog-doing-at-home-while-I’m-gone anxiety in you (raises hand), here’s something to calm you down.
A “boutique pet-care business” will replace a vacant storefront at 2222-2224 18th St. NW that once housed the 100-seat Sawah Diner & Hookah Café in Adams Morgan, according to D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment documents filed this week. The Rockville-based Life of Riley plans to open in March and provide dog day care, grooming, and—for furry overnight guests—”hotel suites,” says co-owner Paul Abbott, who runs the business with his wife Laura. No crate-boarding for Toto, either: Life of Riley’s Maryland suites (from $65 to $90 a night) have “underfloor heating, Italian Carrera marble, tile, and chandeliers.” (Yes, people don’t have it this good. Unless you live in Potomac maybe.)
Add that to an existing “chauffer service” (“two branded and specially customized vans on the road each day”) that the owners expect will expand into the District, and you have an authentic Hotel for Dogs.
“We will be meticulously planning the most efficient design, layout, and materials to use in the Adams Morgan property to best serve the community,” Abbott notes, adding that Life of Riley already has “a list of doggie customers waiting for the doors to open.” (For the record: Housing Complex isn’t one of them.) The store’s hours of operation are anticipated to be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, with grooming available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In case you’re worried about excessive barking or smell, the owners’ BZA application cites “sound-absorbing materials” and an “air-filtration system.”
There certainly seems to be a growing market for pet-care facilities like Life of Riley. From New York to the District, urban apartments are becoming more accommodating of residents who arrive at the doorstep with different-species companions: Dog and cat owners determine their housing and neighborhood situations in large part based on pet amenities, after all. It’s when they leave home that pet-care businesses see an opening for profit.
The new Adams Morgan hotel (this one, not that one) wouldn’t be the only option within the burgeoning local day-care-for-dogs field. South along 18th Street NW, homegrown organization City Dogs purchased the building where it runs a day care and boarding facility for almost $2 million over the summer. It also plans to open a second 3,500-square-foot location on the H Street NE corridor in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, over in Park View, there’s a new dog day care center by local dog-walking business District Dogs at 3210 Georgia Ave. NW, which is opening soon.