SCOTT SIMON, Host:
As Tamara Keith of member station KQED reports, the pet lodging industry is going upscale.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOGS BARKING)
TAMARA KEITH: At the Wag Hotel in West Sacramento, pets are guests, cages are suites, and the spa is open all day; just don't call it a kennel. Wag president Joel Leineke says they've tried to remove the whole K-word from their vocabulary. The deluxe suites have all the amenities a person - a dog - could want.
JOEL LEINEKE: They come with a sofa, and they have flat screen TVs and a wagcam so our clients can check on their babies while they're on vacation. They can get on the Internet and look in at a cafÃÂ© or whatever. We play a variety of different videos here, mostly like Disney videos, cartoons, things like that.
KEITH: Today's selection is "Lady and the Tramp." Leineke admits the dogs may not have much interest in the plasma screen TVs or the dog-themed art on the walls, but he says only half of the amenities are for the pets. The rest is for their owners.
LEINEKE: What we like to say is whatever degree of guilt you have for your dog, we have a program where we can accommodate you.
KEITH: Jim Krack is executive director of ABKA, the trade association for pet care professionals. He equates the changes in the kennel industry to changes in the motel business.
JIM KRACK: The motel industry for many years was just a little cabin surrounded by other little cabins. You know, a neon light out in front says vacancy. And then Holiday Inn comes along and all of the sudden the whole ballgame changes. That's essentially what's happening within the pet care industry.
TINA PACKLABAR: Chihuahua mix...
KEITH: Back at the Wag Hotel, Tina Packlabar is reserving a luxury suite for her three dogs. She says money isn't a question when it comes to her pets' happiness.
PACKLABAR: It's just like a hotel, but for dogs, so I think that's - you know, we're hip, we're new, we want to try something different.
KEITH: For NPR News, I'm Tamara Keith.
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