D.L. STEWART: Posh places for pampered pooches

When we had our Yorkie I always felt a bit self-conscious – OK, silly – about how we pampered him. Leaving the television tuned to Animal Planet when we went out for the evening. Cutting his food into little pieces. Letting him sleep in our bed, even though I never understood how an eight-pound dog could take up two-thirds of a king-size mattress.

Apparently my wife and I were just one step above Cruella de Vil and Michael Vick, though. Because when we went out of town we treated him like, well, a dog.

But according to a story in The New York Times last week, people who really love their dogs would never think of sticking them in a kennel or leaving them in the care of a friend, the way we did. They book them in $200-a-night rooms at “dog resorts.”

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There are cheaper places, of course. At a doggy spa in Virginia, eight days in a private suite costs just $1,000. And that includes three walks a day, plus 20 minutes of “cuddle time.” Be warned that the mud bath, “pawicure” and blueberry facial all are extra.

In Pompano Beach, Fla., the Royal Tea Suite at the Chateau Poochie, has a chandelier and “calming” blue walls for $199 a night. That includes a 6:30 wakeup call, playtime in the “social lounge” before lunch, followed by a two-hour nap and a workout in the fitness center. If those activities aren’t enough to wear them out and they can’t nod off at night, a staff member will sleep next to them for an additional $200. I’ve never known a dog that had trouble going to sleep, but maybe wealthy dogs have a lot on their minds, such as worrying about their hedge funds.

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In Fort Worth, the Paw Spas Hotel apparently is the dog resort equivalent of Motel 6, with rooms for as little as $70. But at least there’s the $205 Texas King Suite equipped with a webcam and cable television.

For those who can’t bear the thought of consigning their dog to spas, there’s an alternative: take it with you. But only after adequate preparation. Let’s say, for instance, you’re planning a trip to California on your private jet. Spas in Manhattan and the Hamptons offer pre-flight packages that include “a whole day of beauty,” including massage, teeth-brushing and lavender bath for $1,500. As the spas owner, points out, “If you’re going to fly to California and you’re taking a private jet out, you want your dog to be relaxed.”

How you feel about stuff like that probably depends on whether you gag on names like Chateau Poochie.

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