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Puppy Love

A Local Couple Channels Their Affection for Dogs Into Creating a Luxury Canine Home-Away-From-Home

Ask Luca Blessent and Georgina Ramirez to name the most important part of their life and they will say two words: Argo and Sameen. About nine years ago, the married couple was looking at their six acres of land in Whitehouse and longing to share that space with dogs in need. 

They contacted a service that rescued dogs from shelters in Alabama—and discovered two mixed-breed puppies that stole their hearts. “Some people thought we were crazy for adopting two young dogs at the same time, but we didn’t want to get a single dog who would feel alone,” Blessent says. “The male, Argo, actually was born in the shelter. They traveled in the cold of February with multiple stops to get here.”

As they grew, Blessent and Ramirez trained the dogs and provided the love and support needed to ease the anxiety that results from surviving traumatic circumstances. 

When they had to be away from home, the couple sought the best accommodations for their pets, which had various needs: Sameen was highly social, but Argo got along best only with Sameen. They found a solution with K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel, a franchise founded in New Jersey in 2005 that offers doggie day care accommodations akin to a five-star hotel, ranging from spacious cage-free suites and private rooms to traditional double or single arrangements, all with comfort mats in a sound-resistant environment. Depending on the dogs’ nature, they could engage in group play or individual play with a specially trained dog-loving staff member. Daily, they dined on premium meals.

The couple loved the concept so much they opened a Hillsborough location late last year. 

“We understand what pet owners want, because we were clients,” Blessent says. “Some people prefer to keep their dogs at home when they travel because they do not want them in an unfamiliar environment, but the trade-off is that they are not supervised all the time and they might be watched by someone who they do not know.” 

K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel has 25 staff members who are professionally trained and certified. “The staff wears a uniform, and we noticed something interesting: The dogs see the uniform and will run up to the person even if they don’t know them,” he says. 

The staff—a mix of men and women—take the time to understand the dog’s personality before introducing it to the group. “We have a complex evaluation checklist that helps us understand the dog’s relationship with other dogs and looks for signs of stress or lack thereof. That helps us know if the dog will do well in a group or if it is best doing private play with a staff member,” he says. 

There are two groups: one for smaller dogs up to 35 pounds and one for larger dogs. Dogs are started in the daycare yard indoor area to get familiar with the new environment and then are introduced one by one to the other dogs to evaluate behavior. 

Dogs can frolic in a large outdoor fenced-in courtyard that uses state-of-the-art turf specifically made for dogs, which has Alphasan anti-microbial chemicals to battle odor and bacteria buildup for hygiene and safety.

Blessent welcomes people who want to tour the facility. “Whether it takes five minutes or over an hour, we are here to explain everything,” he says. “Sometimes, it will take multiple visits for a dog to become familiar with the Hotel. We see it all: Dogs that run from the car to our door to those that are more hesitant and shy.”

The Hotel offers a discount to military personnel and first responders in appreciation for their dedication and service.

When Argo and Sameen are not running in and out of their dog door and chasing each other across acres of lawn, they can be found accompanying Blessent and Ramirez on long hikes, often at Round Valley Reservoir, then sleeping on either side of their bed in comfortable doggie pillows. “Argo and Sameen are our children; they are our family,” he says. “They are the most precious part of our life.”

Learn more about K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel at K9Resorts.com/Hillsborough.

  •  Luca Blessent and Argo
  • Georgina Ramirez with Sameen and Luca Blessent with Argo