Selling much more than poo bags and pet food, this enterprising dog shop, dog hub and dog deli serves the most pampered of pups.
Think of the one thing you are most passionate about in the whole world. Now think if this could somehow be turned into your day job, and imagine how you would feel walking to work each morning.
Are you there yet? If you can conjure up this distant dream then you are probably feeling something like how Boroka Villanyi, the owner of Dogbliss, feels on a daily basis.
Dogbliss, Bow’s new dog shop, officially opened at the beginning of March. Located just beyond Zealand Road as you approach Mile End Park, you might have seen four-legged friends flocking to its store.
Word about this new canine community hub has spread quickly. ‘It’s so nice because people are coming in and sharing the news with their groups and dog walking friends so word spreads quickly in the dog community by word of mouth,’ says Villanyi.
‘To be honest, I am a dog nerd,’ Villanyi laughs. And she is not afraid to share it. ‘I think about 95% of what I do in my life is about dogs, and the rest is just breathing and eating,’ she says.
Consequently, Villanyi knows just about all there is to know about the best dog training, toys, chews and treats, and she is determined to share this with every dog owner on the Roman.
Much more than your run-of-the-mill pet shop, Dogbliss is at once a dog shop, dog hub, and dog deli, with plans to incorporate a puppy creche and dog equipment rental service in the future. In short, the shop’s name is no exaggeration. Villanyi’s vision is to bring dog bliss to Bow.
With over 30 years experience working with dogs, and having run a doggy daycare service from her home on Palmers Road for seven years, Villanyi says she decided to open the shop in order to share her knowledge with pet owners in the neighbourhood.
‘I can give personalised advice on everything I sell, and I would like to help dog owners enrich their dogs’ lives,’ says Villanyi. ‘City dogs need more stress release than dogs that live in the countryside, and they can get this through games, training and toys,’ she explains.
‘I would say I’ve tried and tested 80 to 90%of everything I stock,’ Villanyi says. Or, if she hasn’t tried it personally, then Boy, her one-and-a-half-year-old border collie has.
A devoted companion, Boy spends most of his time greeting customers in the shop or training with Villanyi who is on her way to becoming a registered dog trainer.
Showing off her extensive display of dog treats from wild boar pâté to ostrich and seabass sticks, Villanyi exudes something of a puppy’s infectious energy herself. Her passion for her job is undeniable.
‘I’m obsessed with all things dog. Whenever I go into a dog shop I feel all wired up,’ Villanyi blushes. And it seems her customers feel the same way. The constant stream of puppies pawing through her doors can hardly calm their wagging tales at the many smells and temptations stacked upon the shelves.
Ever since Hounds of Bow closed two years ago the area’s dachshunds, dalmatians and dobermans have been starved of this excitement.
‘I loved hounds of Bow,’ Villanyi recalls, ‘and since it closed I really felt that a dog shop was missing in the area. Customers have been coming in telling me the exact same thing,’ she says.
Villanyi’s long term vision for Dogbliss is to create a hub where dogs and owners can come to socialise and try out different toys before purchasing them. ‘There will be bean bag chairs, tea and coffee, and a fridge where owners can grab a puzzle toy for their dog and take it outside to try it out,’ explains Villanyi.
‘I want it to be a special treat for owners as well as their dogs,’ she beams.
The hub will also include a puppy socialisation programme with professional supervision. ‘The eventual plan is to introduce pups to all aspects of city life, so not just basic socialising but tasks like nail clipping, ear cleaning, bathing and hairbrushing that owners can find challenging,’ Vilanyi explains.
The dog hub will also be a place for pet-lovers to meet and share stories of their disorderly dogs (who won’t be so unruly after Villanyi is finished with them).
They will even be able to rent puppy gear from coats and medical cones, to doggy backpacks and life vests for the more adventurous mongrels. So instead of this equipment going to waste, owners can return it to the shop and pass it onto a younger pup – circular fashion for the canine community.
Dogbliss will have to stock a range of sizes though, from whippets to dachshunds, our neighbourhood dogs come in all different shapes and sizes. According to Villanyi, ‘the most popular breeds in the area are poodle mixes, mainly cavapoos and cockapoos. You see quite a lot of sausage dogs around here as well,’ she says.
But whatever your mutt, they’ll receive a warm welcome at Dogbliss. Luring in dogs with her tasty treats, Villanyi hopes to establish a wider dog community catering to our pets’ every need.
‘I love creating projects and it is my dream to create a really solid dog community in Bow. So this is my first step towards that,’ she smiles.
If you enjoyed this article, read our piece about Casper The Coborn pub cat.
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