Washingtonians can now drop their pooches off at a pet hotel that cares
for their friendly canines in a five-star environment.
In the lobby of the PetSmart PetHotel, which just opened in the
Washington suburb of Bethesda, the pets' human "parents" line up to
plunk down 23 dollars plus tax
for each night their pooch stays.
The doggie hotel is nothing like kennels of yore: in this inn there is lactose-free ice
cream, indoor recreation, and for 10 more dollars a night, pooch can stay
in a "suite" with a television set showing an "animal related movie all
day," said Vince Malanaphy, who manages the PetsHotel.
"It helps them to relax and to adjust as they are used to hearing TV at
home," Malanaphy says.
In one "suite" a little white poodle named Bijou is lost in the embrace
of Morpheus with "Little Nemo" and his cartoon friends swimming by in an
eternal loop on the TV set.
A stay at "Doggie Day Camp" without the overnight goes for 20 dollars
Half of the boarders come every day. "It's better than leaving them at
home alone," said Cyra, one of the pet "mothers," as she drops off her
Labrador and her poodle for Day Camp before running off to the office.
Here "they can socialize," she said.
Meredith, in charge of animal recreation, says that if dogs "are
aggressive or play too rough, we give them a time out in a cage" for 15
minutes. "After twice, they get the message," she says.
The Bethesda site has room for 180 dogs and 26 cats. Cats stay in
plexiglass cages known as
"kitty cottages" for a mere 14 dollars plus tax a night, which includes 15
minutes of TLC -- Tender Loving Care.
The Phoenix, Arizona-based PetSmart Inc. launched the pet hotel concept
three years ago and it is "the fastest growing sector" of the pet
business, said spokesman Bruce Richardson. "Now we have 32 hotels; we
anticipate 240 by 2010," he said.