Friday, September 14, 2007

Man’s best friend gets royal treatment

As I recently discovered in my quest for the perfect kennel, the time of cold, concrete dog runs and warden-style kennel owners has … well … gone to the dogs. Where once you would simply drag Fluffy to a prison-style cell while you vacationed on the beach, now dog owners — with the inclination and the budget — can find such amenities as puppy massage, hydro-sessions and even “pawdicures” in many kennels.

Of course, you pay for what you get — and this kind of care does not come cheap. But for peace of mind and ease of guilt, more and more “parents” are checking their “children” in for a week of fun and frolic.

The trend of pampering our pets has grown precipitously over the past few years. According to Newsweek:

As the demographics of America have changed, so too has the nature of pet ownership. It used to be that most pets were bought by families. Now, the majority of pet owners, 61 percent, are childless — singles, unmarried couples waiting to have kids, gay couples, empty-nesters.

Invariably, these owners tend to treat their pets like surrogate babies, and they spoil them accordingly.

Naturally, this has captured the attention of the expanding pet supply industry — ready to reap the benefits with organic dog food, salon-quality shampoo and diamond-studded collars.

Now dog kennels are following suit, with acres of indoor and outdoor play, “cageless” boarding, climate-controlled suites and even classical music during naptime. Many also offer Webcams, so you can always check in on your favorite furry friend.

Your dog has a request: Please go on vacation.

Who has a story or a comment to share about pet spas?

- EMILY ARNOLD, Special Publications Editor

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