Luxury Pet Hotels? Some People Spoil Their Dogs Too Much

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

Having just returned to work from a vacation that saw me changing the television remote for my dog, Pugsley, while being his comfy pillow, I fervently hope that next year my vacation will actually go to the dogs.

Or with those dogs vacationing in the $4.4 million hotel that just opened for pets in Fort Worth, Texas.

This palace for pooches and felines has suites, custom upholstered beds, chenille and satin blankets, and flat-screen TVs, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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All for the animals.

No, this is not your father's kennel.

These cats and dogs can get facials, wear crystal collars and they can work off the excellent cooking by exercising in the 20,000-square foot hotel's wellness center.

There's even a photograph in the WSJ of a doggy bone-shaped pool.

And who doesn't have $200 a night to spend on their dog or cat? A couple of hundred bucks per day so our four-legged friends can enjoy the lap of luxury?

Me and you, of course, don't have that sort of money and if I go to that hotel next year it will have to be on a federal stimulus grant award.

Bow, and if I may be so bold to add, wow.

But there are apparently enough rich folks out there so that what the Wall Street Journal calls the luxury-pet-services industry is booming across the country, doubling in size in less than 10 years to the point that it generates $4.4 billion annually.

I discussed this with my own dog, Pugsley, as he and my wife hiked along a mountain trail-I carried him up the difficult bits-on our own rustic few days off, and he seems to agree that, silly as it seems, he should experience Shangri-la himself to make certain.

“I would hate to jump to a conclusion, so perhaps you should arrange accommodations for me there next year,” Pugsley said later, as I sat hand-feeding him home-made popcorn salted to his specifications.

I don't want to spoil the dog but perhaps I can arrange to send him there as a journalist's assistant on a fact-finding mission.

“That would be a sound investment in factual reporting,” Pugsley replied, sending me back into the kitchen to warm his braised chicken breast in the microwave for 22 seconds.

“Not 21 seconds,” Pugsley noted. “You know that burns the roof of my mouth and then I miss the subtleties of that 1967 van Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon.

It's really not much of an expensive wine. I don't want to spoil the dog.

“I don't want to spoil you, Pugsley,” I told him, switching him from chicken breast to deli-sliced ham before making sure the volume of the television wasn't too loud for him.

“I'm more in a sub-titles mood tonight,” Pugsley advised.” Spanish or French. You pick.”

I don't want to spoil the dog and cannot understand how anyone could justify spending $200 a night for a pet hotel, but I do believe those foreign language lessons were good for Pugsley. They broadened his outlook. He never would have understood the meaning of a 1967 Cabernet before, contented merely with Perrier Water served at precisely 59 degrees in the summer and 64 degrees in the winter.

And it was cheaper than actually sending him to Paris and Madrid, which I did consider-he seemed to have his heart set on the trip. But no airline would allow him to fly first class and I was not going to make Pugsley put up with coach class and three-wide seat accommodations. He could have found himself sitting next to just anyone.

The thing I objected to initially was paying a private French and, subsequently, Spanish tutor but Pugsley explained that he really didn't want to audit a high school or college class because those schedules would interrupt his napping.

So, yes, some pet owners have no perspective. Their animals are spoiled rotten.

Aren't we glad ours are not.