By Karilyn Prisco
“The coolest job ever!” That’s the reaction Joel Bass gets whenever he describes his job. Joel is a local dog walker who founded City Tails NYC in the West Village in 2007. If you live in the West Village, chances are you’ve run into this cute, laid-back Southern Cali guy with a baseball hat, shorts year-round, and playful pups in tow. Originally from San Diego, Joel moved to NYC on a whim, and stumbled upon a dog-walking ad on Craigslist to help pay the bills.
Over the past 13 years, Joel has grown City Tails from a one-man show to a full-scale pet care business offering dog walking, doggy daycare, overnights, puppy training and more. He founded City Tails as a mom-and-pop business and continues to run it like a small family business today. Joel and his staff are a tight-knit crew that offers the most loving dog care imaginable, and works with each client to fully customize their pets’ needs. For example, each client gets their own “cubby” that includes anything from your dog’s favorite treat and leash to storing a raincoat and hairbrush. The letter board the staff updates regularly with different messages is a nice touch and acts as a great photo op for birthdays and ice-cream socials!
In late 2019, City Tails opened its first doggy daycare facility, located at 55 Leroy Street (near 7th Avenue). Although City Tails briefly paused operations due to COVID-19, it is now fully re-opened. I visited the new space this summer and couldn’t believe how clean and open it was. Unlike typical doggy daycare facilities that are often overly commercial, cold, and more prison-like than home-like, Joel stayed true to his roots with the Leroy space. City Tails daycare looks and feels like home—instantly, I fell in love with the living room-like décor, the cage-free mantra and, of course, the gregarious greetings and licks that I received from the pups when I arrived. As a dog owner for over 30 years I could tell these dogs were happy, well-behaved, and liked to have fun. They were all wagging their tails enthusiastically, playing fetch with the City Tails staff, and dancing to the music (the staff takes turns rotating their favorite tunes throughout the day). Even though many dog parents are working from home due to COVID, it is clear that dog socialization is still important. Dogs need to get out and socialize as much as us humans do. At the end of the day, dogs are pack animals and its part of their emotional and physical wellness to play, run, and be around other pups. The City Tails pups play all day, come home happy, and are well-rested.
Joel and his wife Michelle love raising their family in the city, and have called the West Village “home” for the past 13 years. They were actually brought together by dog walking, thanks to Michelle’s American Eskimo puppy, Luka. “We met when I started walking Luka,” recalled Joel. “I had a strict no-client dating policy, so I’d try to set Michelle up with my friends, but quickly realized it was meant to be.” In recent years, the Bass Family has expanded to include three little girls who love dogs just as much as their parents do. Joel enjoys giving an annual dog safety lesson at his kids’ local West Village schools, PS 41 and Village Preschool Center. He also offers free dog health advice and safety lessons to any local families with new dogs. When Joel isn’t dog walking, you can usually find him running on the West Side Highway with a double stroller or grabbing some ice cream with his kids at Bleecker or Horatio Parks. If you haven’t checked out City Tails yet, you’ll find it’s the perfect option for anyone looking for a small-scale, personalized, and exceptionally caring experience for their pup. And don’t be surprised if your dog has so much fun they really don’t want to go home.
Joel has known most of his clients for years, and he and his staff treat each pup as a member of their family. The City Tails crew goes above and beyond to serve their clients, which even includes bringing a client’s pup to their wedding ceremony for a cameo appearance during family photos. Speaking of photos, you can expect to get real-time photos, throughout the day, of your pup playing, napping, and being spoiled with affection. Even if you don’t have a pup of your own but need a doggy fix, I highly recommend following their Instagram @CityTailsNYC. Their account is filled with adorable dog shots and funny captions. After spending a day at doggy daycare and exploring the West Village streets with Joel, I can definitely agree that he and his team do have the coolest job ever.
Get your free quote at citytailsnyc.com. Mention “WESTVIEW” and save 15 percent on your dog’s first week of care.
City Tails NYC
77 Leroy Street NY, NY 10014