WITH a glittering chandelier and plush leather sofas, you might be forgiven for thinking the spacious room you had stepped into was a suite in a five-star hotel.
However, on closer inspection, the silver bowls on the floor and doggie-themed pictures on the wall are clues to what the room is actually for.
Welcome to Scotland’s most luxurious dog hotel – a “retreat” where owners pay £200 a week to check in their canines.
Rooms are kitted out with super soft beds, heated flooring, shower facilities and even a digital radio tuned into a pooch’s favourite station. The four-legged guests go walkies four times a day and owners can link up to a webcam for live feeds 24/7.
Owners are also sent regular photographs and e-mailed video clips of their pets frolicking in the fields. And meals are prepared to owners’ wishes, with some doggie guests requiring plates of pasta, hot-dogs or even cheeseburgers.
The pets are also given a full wash and shampoo and the proprietors of the Clyde Valley Pet Retreat – which opened in Kirkfieldbank, Lanarkshire three years ago – Angela and Jim McCreadie, will even read them a bedtime story.
Given that the UK pet industry is now worth £2.7 billion a year, it is little surprise so many owners are prepared to pay the £30 a day to make sure their hounds are happy.
The luxury kennels are the brain-child of landlady Angela, who started to research the business after a bad experience leaving her dog in kennels.
“When we went to collect him he was stinking and had lost about half a stone – he was in a terrible mess,” she said.
After that what started as a pipe dream became a reality, as her family moved to a cottage in the Clyde Valley, and converted a stable into “luxury suites”. After lots of research, the dog hotel was born.
She said: “The windows are double-glazed, and rooms are 11-metres square, with the same space outside through a dog flap. And we always make sure we know likes and dislikes so we can ensure it’s the same in their room.”
Landlord Jim said clients came from across the UK. He added: “We thought it would only be people with a bit extra who would use it. But we quickly learnt people from all backgrounds come to us. It seems having peace of mind when leaving their pets is more important than costs.”
Pippa Hutchison, an animal behaviourist, said sticking to a dog’s routine in kennels was vital. She said: “When checking your dog in make sure the people running the kennel listen to what your dog’s routine is and try to follow it.” Consumer expert Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, said the pet industry was booming. “It’s worth billions. Owners are prepared to pay a lot to make their pets happy.”