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Hotel for Dogs

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM
  • 11 Replies

 It was a cute movie, wasn't it? But it was a MOVIE, not real life right?

 

 

Think again

    

Opulent digs arise in Hub strictly for the 4-legged set

 
 By Beth Teitell Globe Staff / April 13, 2011
The air kisses were flying, the Italian sparkling wine was flowing, and white hyacinths perfumed the air. Marilyn Riseman, society doyenne, was in attendance, and by 7 p.m. the South End's beautiful people were packed so thick it was hard to reach the cheese-and-olive platters.

   What else would you expect at the grand opening of a boutique hotel and day-care center for dogs?  

 "Hello, Elvis, my man,'' Nick Miller, the training manager at the Urban Hound, said, greeting a 7-year-old golden retriever who would be spending a week in a $65-per-night suite while his owners vacationed in the Virgin Islands.

  

"We would never leave him in a kennel,'' said Deena Bolen of Beacon Hill, as Elvis wagged away.

 

 

 

Boston may or may not have achieved its dream of being a world class city for humans, but from a canine perspective we have arrived.

 

 The Urban Hound is but one of three new luxury pet hotels, complete with spa services and flat-screen televisions usually tuned to Animal Planet, that have opened in the past few months. Boston Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa, on Southampton Street near the Southeast Expressway, charges as much as $85 a night for a room, and at Fenway Bark in South Boston, the room rates go up to $150. Pricey? Perhaps, but because it is considered a service, at least there is no room tax.

 

 

 

Trade spending figures are hard to come by, but Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, said these businesses represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the $48 billion pet industry. He credits baby boomers for much of the increasing humanization of pets and everything that has followed: designer leashes, five-figure doghouses, dogs staying in human hotels, and pet hotels that serve Starbucks (to the pets' owners).

 

 "Their children are growing up and moving out,'' Vetere said, "and as helicopter parents, they need to find something else to hover over.''

 

 Enter Rover, with suitcase.

With 91 percent of owners calling their pet a member of the family and with the economic downturn easing, there is increasing demand for luxury pet lodging, according to a report by Packaged Facts, a Maryland research firm. Many facilities have added upscale amenities, such as customized suites with individualized decor or advanced air purification systems, according to the company's most recent report.

 

 Unlike the kennels of the past, with their chain-link fences and concrete floors, luxury pet hotels offer more than just flat-screen televisions. There are webcams, spas, airy rooms, and, increasingly, cage-free sleeping arrangements that allow pets to sleep on a bed with a hotel employee or engage in slumber parties with other (well behaved) animals.

 

 The word kennel developed so many negative associations and did not reflect the high-end services offered by boarding facilities that the American Boarding Kennel Association changed its name several years ago to the Pet Care Services Association, said Susan Briggs, a past president. (That group recently disbanded, she said, but industry leaders are looking to start a new association.)  

Luxury accommodations can cost twice as much as or even more than a traditional kennel, Briggs said. A night in a standard kennel is about $20 to $25, she said. At resorts, dogs stay in presidential suites or owner's boxes. Reiki therapists are on call, and owners can spring for add-ons such as private walks, one-on-one playtime, or a bedtime cuddle.

 

At Fenway Bark, the best room in the house, the 72-square-foot Owner's Box, costs $150 per night. True, that's almost as much as the $155 average daily rate for human hotels in the Greater Boston area, according to the Massachusetts Lodging Association, but it does come with unlimited dog-owner Skype sessions, bottled water upon request, and custom-made beds with 6-inch orthopedic foam.

  

 

The Skype was a perk that Tara Philbin of South Boston could not resist. Before heading off to her bachelorette party in New Orleans Saturday, Philbin downloaded the Skype app so she could chat with her boxers Declan and Kiera.

 

At Boston Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa, the presidential suite costs $85 per night and comes with a view of downtown. Extras may include a $5 canine "Yappy Hour'' (an extra treat a day), or a swim in the heated pool that costs $25 for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

How did we as a society reach the point where pet hotels have concierge desks?

 

 

 

"The world has changed around us,'' said Raymond Schneider, owner of Red Dog. "Twenty to 25 years ago, the dog was in the garage. Fifteen years back, they started being invited in the house. Now they sleep with you.''

 

 

 

The luxury pet industry has come so far, in fact, that it has spawned a secondary industry: consultants. From her perch in Madison, Wis., where she runs the Ruffin' It Resort and works as a consultant, Renee Brantner Shanesy helps clients choose themes. The Asian contemporary look, with sleek lines and Asian-inspired art, is popular, she said, as are the country look, with picket fences and verandas, and mountain-lodge rustic chic.

 

 

 

Many clients, she added, are people who burned out from corporate life. The pet hotel is the new version of the bed-and-breakfast fantasy.

 

 

 

"They say, ‘I want to follow my passion.' But you are dealing with not only the four-legged guests but the parents,'' she said. "It's often a big wake-up call. You think I'm going to be playing with dogs all day, but you are dealing with people who have very high expectations, and they are paying for those to be fulfilled.''

 

 

 

Paying through the snout, that is. Luxury accommodations can cost twice as much as a kennel, according to Briggs of the Pet Care Services Association.

 

 

 

At the D Pet Hotels in Hollywood, where a dog can sleep on a queen-sized bed or work out on a doggie treadmill, the best room in the house costs $110. At Paradise 4 Paws in Chicago, the Presidential Suite, complete with private patio and a pool view, costs $80. Wag Hotels in San Francisco charges $85 per night for a large deluxe suite and makes money on the minibar: A doggie bag of peanut butter treats costs an extra $8.

 

 

 

In Greater Boston, in addition to the three new hotels right in the heart of the city, there are the Common Dog in Everett, where the presidential suite goes for $68 per night, and The Continental Shoppe in West Roxbury, where the top overnight rate is $45. For those who do not want their dogs staying in a facility, no matter how nice, the staff at some doggie day-care centers take guests home.

 

 

 

But as some owners happily check their pets into fancy hotels with ever more amenities, some observers question the morality of spending that much on an animal. But are they right to?

 

 

 

"People should be allowed to spend their money how they like,'' Colin Allen, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Indiana University's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, wrote in an e-mail, "but they should not expect to have this right without also being prepared to consider critical ethical analysis of what they do.''

 

 

 

He also raised a more practical issue.

 

 

 

"One further question I have is whether there's any benefit that the dog gets from the additional luxury or the Skype sessions,'' Allen wrote. "Do dogs who stay in luxury kennels live longer, happier lives than dogs who go to ordinary kennels, or do dogs whose owners don't have the kind of lifestyle that even requires them to be placed in kennels at all?''

 

 

 

Bryan Sergeant, an account executive with Creative Office Pavilion, says he wants only the best for Bear, his 7-pound Yorkshire terrier. Sergeant, who lives in South Boston, is getting married on the Cape this fall, and plans to send Bear to Fenway Bark while he honeymoons.

 

 

 

"It's borderline ridiculous,'' he said, "but in the best possible way.''

 

 

 

Beth Teitell can be reached at bteitell@globe.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
hholllyy426
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM

 lol. I guess if you can afford it why not, my dog would love it, sadly don't have the money for it

Jess1231
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM
Why didn't I think of that?!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
asdenyesmom
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM
Ikr! Lol


Quoting Jess1231:

Why didn't I think of that?!

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Barabell
by Barbara on Apr. 13, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I don't think kennels cost $20-25 a night in our area. When I had to board my cat, it was over $60 a night. I would have much rather had her in a hotel setting as opposed to a kennel for that minor cost difference.

steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Apr. 13, 2011 at 5:28 PM

 Where do I sign Willie Parker up?

Yes, I am the owner of a spoiled pooch.  He has never been in a kennel and I can't imagine him surviving it.  Luckily around here we have a very good pet sitting service that I absolutely love.  He goes to his sitters house, sleeps in her bed, lays on the couch and watches tv with her, goes to the store with her.  She keeps his life as close to his life at home as possible.  I even call him daily to check in and talk to him on the phone.  Seems silly, but for a pet who isn't accustomed to being confined to a cage it is quite the necessity.

Barabell
by Barbara on Apr. 13, 2011 at 5:44 PM


Quoting steelcrazy:

 Where do I sign Willie Parker up?

Yes, I am the owner of a spoiled pooch.  He has never been in a kennel and I can't imagine him surviving it.  Luckily around here we have a very good pet sitting service that I absolutely love.  He goes to his sitters house, sleeps in her bed, lays on the couch and watches tv with her, goes to the store with her.  She keeps his life as close to his life at home as possible.  I even call him daily to check in and talk to him on the phone.  Seems silly, but for a pet who isn't accustomed to being confined to a cage it is quite the necessity.

I HATED having my cat in a kennel, but she needed meds twice a day and I couldn't afford an at-home sitter. Given the situation and her personality, it was the best I could do.


natesmom1228
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

My vet will board animals for $12.00 per day. I almost did it when we went camping last year, but my neighbors came over and feed, watered, and loved Dolly.

bupkie
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Really?  People are spending all that money on pets..... when there are children in this country going to bed hungry every night?   Families that can't even make ends meet because our economy is so bad?   Schools are losing teachers, etc... We are losing needed medical aid... etc....    Yet ... as long as their pets are living excessively pampered lives... They can sleep well on vacation?    There are animals put down because their owners can't afford their medical care.... 

Good grief.  I'm sorry.  I'm gonna poop on this party.  I can't even laugh at this.   Hotels for dogs... Those dogs are treated better than many children in this country.     I'm all for the fair treatment of animals... But not to an excess over children....  

wakymom
by Ruby Member on Apr. 13, 2011 at 8:42 PM

@@

(I am obviously not, nor have I ever been, a pet owner)

 

 

 

 

 


 

bleumonster
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 11:41 PM

All I can say is O.M.G.!

Kim  

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