Rob Mayer with "Reese" who need a home.

Alls everyone talks about these days in Greenpoint (aside from the $10 lattes) are the rent hikes that leave residents and businesses with no other option than to move out or close-up shop.

“It’s everybody’s story,” Rob Maher of Unleash said after making the decision to close his Franklin St boarding and daycare facility after serving the community for 5 years. When his lease option came up for renewal, the new price his landlord offered was “not an option to renew,” he said.

Now he must find homes for 6 rescue dogs.

"Foster's" overbite is adorable. This dogs needs a home.

Rob will transform his business model into a walking / pet-sitting service. Brooklyn Waggers will operate out of District Dog (142 Driggs Ave) – the pet store he continues to operate with his family in #OSOM (other side of McGuinness).

It isn’t his business he is worried about, though.


“My biggest concern are the rescues,” Rob said. It’s the remaining unadopted pooches that he must place in foster or forever homes (or pay to board) by the end of March. He asked Greenpointers to “step up” and give these remaining pups a chance at a better life.

Dog Habitat Rescue Benefit this Thursday!

If you can’t foster or adopt – make a donation to Dog Habitat or come to a fundraiser tomorrow evening at Rosamund Sausage Grill where you can drink Ace Cider, eat sausages and enter a silent auction.

Don't you want to wake up to "Suki's" big smile everyday?

The beauty of Dog Habitat, the animal rescue arm of his operation, is that in combination with the boarding facility it allowed Rob and his team to socialize pups who may have been victims of neglect or abuse. He will continue to operate the dog rescue with the help of fosters homes.

Not all can be fully rehabilitated. Take for instance Reese (pictured above with Rob) – who was found tied up across the street from Unleash.

Unleash Manager Meg with "Brando," who needs a furever home.

“He would have died if we hadn’t taken him,” Unleash manager Meg said.

Reese had open wounds resulting from an attack or dog fight. Reese was rehabilitated and adopted and was doing great for over a year in his new home until his owner bought a new pup. The two didn’t get along and Reese was returned to Dog Habitat. He has come a long way, but can’t live in a multi-pet home.

“He’s too much dog,” Rob said, who won’t “haphazardly” give Reese to just anyone. This goes for the other special needs rescues. Maybe you are special enough to give one a chance?

"George" bows like a good puppy!

Meg, who Rob said, “runs this place,” said she wouldn’t have managed the boarding facility for over 3 1/2 years if not for the rescue division. She said it’s going to be “weird” to not work on Franklin St but the “hardest part” will be not having the rescue pups to cuddle with on a daily basis. Meg started working at Unleash the day she moved to NY and will continue to manage Brooklyn Waggers and Dog Habitat.

What will replace Unleash? It’s tough to say but Rob believes that the rent hikes are in anticipation of the new towers coming to the waterfront and that we will see many more businesses closing as the towers are built and leases come up for renewal.

"Peaches" has her accessories down an is ready for a walk up Franklin St.

It isn’t bad for all businesses, though. “Certain businesses can sustain,” Rob said, “like bars and coffee shops.” He continued that, “it’s good for the community in certain ways. It will open up the waterfront. From a population perspective, it’s not great. It will be bad for commuters with 10,000 new residents using the G train.”

Meg, whose sister was priced out of the neighborhood, added that she doesn’t think the new towers coming are a good thing for Greenpoint.

"Diamond" just wants to make you a happy person!

“It’s the same story all over NYC. It brings in a lot of money, but it’s not helping the neighborhood. I can’t afford most of the restaurants in Greenpoint. I don’t go to Alameda or Anella. I do go to Habitat, which is ‘afforadablish,’ and pay $8 for a beer because I love the neighborhood and the locals,” she said, but more often she hangs out in Bushwick or Bed-Stuy.

And even though Rob said he will “miss this place,” he admits that he “saw it coming” and that he is “personally relieved to be on other side of McGuinness Blvd when the towers do come.”

Please consider adopting, fostering or making a donation to Dog Habitat – because dogs can’t pay their own rent.

Join the Conversation


  1. Related question, especially as building starts up on all the empty lots… are there any free services in the neighborhood that will trap/spay/neuter stray cats?

  2. This may sound naive, but is there any point in reaching out collectively as a community to this landlord who is shuttering a good local business to make more money?

  3. I HATE this! They were such a great organization. How many more bars and over priced clothing shops that I never see anyone in do we need?

  4. My wife and I who live right around the corner from Unleash Brooklyn and use their facilities totally sympathize, but don’t drag Anella into the gentry bashing. Delicious, 16-dollar entrees that are actually filling is a good deal ANYWHERE. Also a number of their beers are $4. It’s the fancy shmancy microbrews on draft that cost more.

  5. “# Osom” ??

    God damn you ignorant hipsters. damn you all.

    Mad that “towers” are going to be built… Not mad that you are paying $2800 for a studio with a shared bathroom. This mans business has been washed away because building owners realize that hipsters will pay any redic amount of money to be on the artificial scene.

    You want to help? Stop feeding the greedy.

  6. you must be kidding yourself. 90% of the problem is people like you who have moved into my neighborhood. Now youarelooking for help from the community that you helped ruin. This wasnt the best neighborhood but it was our hood. Yuppies move in for a few years move out cause its to expensive. Take your coffee shops, record stores, and most of the stores you have opened up and shove them up your ass. People like you have driven out or local mom and pop shops so you can sip coffee and surf the net. Take your bicycles, and out of date cars, and leave. Go back home. I cant stand reading shit like this when it is people like you who helped ruin this place.
    I’ ve lived herefor 33yrs and I promise I wouldnt help you with one cent if you need it.

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