It’s a dog’s life. Once it meant a miserably unhappy existence. Now, in oh-so-many instances, it means the opposite. When I thumb through the trendiest (dog) magazines or watch the most outrageous (dog) reality shows, I find myself suffering from a severe case of dog envy.
As your average dog owner, I feel that I, like Dorothy, have entered a new kind of Oz. One where price has no place and where people and pets are pampered in equal measure. No boarding kennels for their doggy darlings while they Biarritz in style. Oh no. Consider, if you will — without drooling — the burgeoning world of dog hotels, resorts and spas.
Decadent Dogs at Luxurious Spas
One of my “favorite” hotels features “executive suites” with non-slip, sparkly floors, ticking clocks and pictures on the walls. Large windows and a glass door give each petted pooch a view of and access to his own little garden. Soft, relaxing background music plays during the day, while soft, reassuring lights switch on at night.
But it’s not all view and no play for these dogs. They have a daily routine to follow, much like boot camp without the boot. Up from their sofas (yes, sofas), they spring at 6:30 a.m. for a morning walk, followed in turn, by breakfast, grooming and playtime, noon walk, rest with chews and toys, various activities, afternoon walk, main meal, evening stroll (yes, stroll), bedtime biscuits and goodnight kiss at 9 p.m. Phew! I’m beat. Must be all that fresh air.
Should they happen to get bored, they’re thoughtfully supplied with “boredom busters” (I kid you not) in the form of machines that either spurt out bacon-flavored bubbles for them to chase or noisy balls for them to play with. And as an added, homey touch, cookie jars filled with treats line the windowsills.
If there’s a downside (which we secretly hoped for) to so many sofas, strolls and snacks, it’s unsightly pooch poundage. The solution, of course: a dog resort and spa. My “favorite.” The one offering, not only a water fitness program, but several “pet packages.”
With the Vacation package, they spend their days playing outside and their nights relaxing inside to the strains of classical music. For dogs that don’t play well with others, there’s the Private Retreat package, where they play instead with a staff member in a separate yard. The most inclusive are the Vacation and Training packages. With the Full Obedience package, trainers do what their owners – oops – didn’t do – train them. And in only 4 weeks! Choose the Basic Obedience package and the indulged, but ignored dog will learn sit, down, stay and heel.
And it doesn’t end there. The vacationed pet parents are provided with a DVD of everything their pet has learned.
What’s that? Too busy to call for your dear, deprived dog? No worries. The spa offers door-to-door Chauffeur Service – for an added fee, of course.
Sigh … drool …
If this is a dog’s life, I want it!