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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Pampered pooches love Bark City

April 13. 2018 10:44PM
Dogs roam free in the indoor play area at Bark City, the new doggy daycare business on Hanover Street in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

I am pretty sure Bark City — Downtown Manchester’s first doggy daycare — is what proponents of a real Manchester dog park picture in their dreams: bright green grass, a kiddie pool filled with tennis balls, agility equipment and even a doggy treehouse.

“The idea was to bring the city park vibe to life,” said Stephanie McLaughlin with Savoir Faire Marketing & Communications. Her team helped Bark City owner John Phaneuf launch his “cage-free” dog park vision last month.

The need for a downtown doggy daycare was obvious to Phaneuf when he realized all the closest offerings are on the outskirts of town or in Hooksett. Bark City — open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — is perfect for both people who live here or are commuting into Manchester.

“It’s very convenient. The location’s great,” said client Steve DiPerro, of Hooksett. His wife works on Elm Street, which makes it easy to pick up and drop off Leo, their Maltese poodle mix.

Leo was greeted Thursday afternoon by Phaneuf and his beloved French bulldog, Daphne, Bark City’s inspiration and “resident diva” who lounges in a doggie bed right next to the front counter. Leo was then escorted to the 2,000-square-foot indoor playroom, filled with natural light, to run around with a couple enormous Great Danes, a boxer, poodle, Maltese and pitbull mix.

Phaneuf said all breeds, no matter their size or reputation, are welcome at Bark City. “Each dog is different. It’s more about the owner than the breed.”

But each dog must also go through an “Initial Temperament Consultation” to make sure they are a good fit. They’ll ace the interview “as long as they’re being friendly with everyone here, and as long as they’re not trying to escape or cause problems.” After the first visit, clients can book appointments online.

Pooch parents each receive a daily report card that describes how their dog’s day went, who they played with, and a photo of their adventures.

Bark City also has a grooming facility — with a tiled shower nicer than I’ve seen in most homes — and a “Barkery” offering baked doggie treats that look good enough for humans to eat.

Bark City is located at 259 Hanover St., adjacent to Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium. Phaneuf, 24, said his father, Arthur O. “Buddy” Phaneuf, bought the building to get more parking for the funeral business, and when they saw the building’s open interior, once home to Jazzercise and other fitness classes, he knew it was a good fit.

As a “cage-free” facility, Bark City lets the dogs roam free, moving from inside to outside whenever they like through a doggie door.

Watching the dogs play through the glass window will put a smile on anyone’s face. You can also watch them from home on three live webcam feeds at

Bagels & biscuits

It’s the fifth anniversary for everyone’s favorite dog-friendly 5K hosted by Temple Adath Yeshuran.

The Bagels & Biscuits 5K run/walk will be held tomorrow, April 15, at Derryfield Park. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m.

Registration is $30 for adults and $25 for ages 11 to 19. Kids under 11 participate for free. Proceeds go to Temple Adath Yeshuran and the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire.

Learn more at

Schmooze & booze

Not to be outdone on the temple fundraiser circuit, Temple Israel is bringing America’s Got Talent’s Laser Robots USA to the Manchester Country Club for its first ever Schmooze & Booze event on Thursday, April 19.

In addition to the performance, the event will feature dinner, drinks, dancing, a photo booth, and gourmet ice cream sandwich truck. Very limited tickets are available for $60 each, and can be purchased at

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