Apologies for the light blogging - all I can say after spending a week and a half with a new puppy in the house is, "How do people manage to have children?" It's amazing how a little creature who can't relieve himself without help and needs supervision can eat up your spare time.
With that in mind a follow up on my Furry Money post. I mentioned how many pet expenditures are really to please to owner, not the animal. It's obvious when you look at the pet outfits, bandanas, etc. in the pet aisle; it's even more true if you look at kennels. (I'm big on advance preparation; I don't want to be caught having to jump on a plane and having no plan for what to do with the little guy. So I've been looking.)
What a kennel needs to be: clean, well supervised, with qualified staff and access to a vet. Ideally with enough activities to keep the dogs busy and thus happy. And they need to rigorously check vaccinations and vet records for their charges, so that your dog doesn't come home sick.
The rest is gravy, but there is gravy in great quantity available. Consider Rover Oaks here in Houston (a play on River Oaks, the city's posh neighborhood where people with names like Bush live). Now, I'm not knocking them. I'm sure it's a very good place to leave your dog; who knows, I might wind up taking Teddy the crazy pup there someday.
But does any dog really care if he's got a luxury suite?
For discriminating pets who prefer a special “at home” environment, Rover Oaks Estates offers 26 Luxury Suites at our Houston location and 28 at our Katy location. The suites are private, air-conditioned rooms with sofa, color television and special themes and décor.
It is a drag when your dog hates the drapes. But it's more of a drag if he tries to eat them. This one is definitely to make the owner feel good.
Here's one service I used to think was to please owners, but I've reconsidered: doggie day care (or, as it's sometimes called, day camp). Watch a dog all day and you realize that leaving him home alone is not a good thing. Especially during the puppy months, when he's learning how to relate to the world, and you'd have to leave him in his crate because he can't have run of the house without someone keeping an eye on things. So sending him somewhere where he gets to play, interact with other dogs, and tire himself out is a different thing.
More importantly, as I look at the wreckage of my desk, I realize that there is another benefit for the owner: a day to yourself. A month ago I would have heard that and thought, "What? Isn't the dog a joy to have?" Yes, he is. But Teddy's first day at camp is next Tuesday and it'll be a weekly thing, because this owner is happy to pay for a day to himself (and a better-socialized dog who's had a great day of romping around).