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10 photos: Luxury dog hotel Barkgata in Nesconset celebrates grand opening

Dog owners who gathered over the weekend at Barkgata in Nesconset seemed to agree: they themselves wouldn’t hate to spend a few nights at this brand-new doggie hotel.

More than 50 family members, friends and members of the community — many of whom with furry companions in tow — celebrated the grand opening of Barkgata, a luxury dog hotel, daycare and spa. After enjoying the food and the music outside, guests and their pooches toured the suites.

“It’s just gorgeous in there, it’s ridiculous,” beamed Linda Stone, who brought her 6-month-old mini aussie shepherd Sunshine. “Humans can live in it, it’s so nice.”

Barkgata offers baths and other a la carte grooming services just beyond its lobby. As clients venture down hallways, they discover the various sized suites for daycare and overnight boarding. Behind glass doors, each room boasts beds, bowls, doggie-themed wall art and a flat screen television.

“When I leave, [my dog] gets kind of anxiety and I go ‘Let’s watch birds,’ and I put on something and he gets captivated by it,” Barkgata owner Bianca Caras said. “It gives him that little out without him realizing and crying that I’m leaving. They like it, it seems relaxing to some dogs.”

A lifelong dog lover, Caras said her childhood pit bull, Delilah, was the inspiration for this venture. She said her family struggled to find someone willing to house Delilah, and when they did, the pup seemed distressed.

“She had super anxiety and anywhere I would take her, she would always come back not the same,” Caras said. “I feel like she would want to be in her home. The reason we created this is we want to make it the closet thing to home. It can’t be home with you, sitting on the couch with mom and dad, but we wanted to make it feel as if this is the next best thing.”

Delilah passed, but her legacy remains on display in a mural behind the front desk. Today, Caras and her parents, Peter and Jacqueline, have three dogs: Thor the akita; Xena, a pit bull mix; and a chihuahua named Paco. The entrepreneur and her fiancé also have Julius, a French bulldog.

While Caras envisioned her new venture, her parents are along for the ride. They used the time afforded during the COVID-19 pandemic to regroup and envision their future. Her father, with a background in construction, managed the build out. Her mother made her career in insurance and offers her support.

“I think now, for the first time for any of us, this will probably be the first time that we actually love what we do for a living,” Peter Caras said. In a few months, he will search for the next Barkgata location. He said the family hopes to have three locations established in the next six years.

“This has been a long time in the works, and I would not be able to do this without my mom and dad,” a tearing Bianca Caras said, shortly after cutting the ribbon at her new establishment. “They’ve been my biggest support and my rock, and they’ve got me through everything.”

Julius, Caras’ French bulldog.