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Credit: Krysten Massa

As dozens of families headed out of town to warmer destinations for spring break, their four-legged friends were left in good hands.

We’re talking, of course, about the more than 50 dogs and five cats who checked into the Hydrant Hotel in Riverhead this past week.

The Raynor Avenue facility, which opened 18 months ago, aims to make leaving your pet for vacation a stress-free experience.

“The idea behind the Hydrant Hotel was to offer an all-inclusive type resort for people’s pets,” manager and head trainer Vinny Buscemi said. “So while you’re away on vacation, your dog can be here taking part in all that we have to offer.”

The facility offers day care, boarding, grooming and training seven days a week. Buscemi said the busiest time is during the holidays or breaks from school. This past week the facility welcomed over 50 dogs, as well as about five cats.

Dogs who board at the Hydrant Hotel do not stay in kennels, but get their own suites, equipped with a bed and a small TV that plays continuous videos of dogs. Cats get their own vertical “condos” and a whole room they can roam around in that also has an caged outside area. While cats and dogs are the most common customers, the Hydrant Hotel can also accommodate birds, hamsters and guinea pigs.

Credit: Krysten Massa
Credit: Krysten Massa

Boarding dogs are able to participate in the day care program, where they can run around and play in both indoor and outdoor areas.

Buscemi said he is used to seeing repeat customers who have continued to bring their pets back throughout the 18 months the facility has been open — whether it’s every time they go away on vacation or coming in a few times a week specifically for the day care service.

“You start to feel like a little family,” he said. “The business itself and the people who come in and visit us whose dogs stay with us, it’s just an awesome place to work.”

Hydrant Hotel is owned by Anthony Pollina, who also owns Dog Town in Southold.

The lobby of the Riverhead building has a comfortable sitting area and complimentary coffee from Aldo’s for guests. The lobby also doubles as a retail store where customers can pick up all-natural food for their pets, as well as toys and accessories.

Buscemi, who has a background in rescuing and rehabilitating dogs, said the facility does not discriminate against any breed of dog. They also take in dogs that are deaf, blind or have diabetes or other chronic illnesses.

Credit: Krysten Massa
Credit: Krysten Massa

For these cases, he said, they are constantly in contact with the owners to keep them updated. 

“The model that we set up is to deliver as much care, love and affection to all of our guests,” Buscemi said.

Pollina said “that’s the really beautiful thing about our business,” which he said has grown in less than two years to match the success of Dog Town.

He added that group training classes will soon be introduced at the Riverhead facility. These classes will use the hotel’s large outdoor dog nature park space. Pollina also said he soon hopes to implement a play on “happy hour” on Saturday evenings, where pet owners can come and mingle and eat and drink together.

“We’re really happy,” he said of the progress since opening. “This doesn’t happen by us having a beautiful building. This happens by our employees dumping their hearts into this place and just giving these dogs what they need.”

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