Thanks to the Times of India for this fun article.
5-star treatment for dogs
GURGAON: You’ve heard of daycare centres and dog creches. But here’s something more to chew on. A centre equipped with an AC room (currently under renovation) a common kitchen with a cook, a swimming pool exclusively for dogs and two floors of meticulously sanitised 14-15 kennels where each dog is given a private sleeping area.
All this comes at a cost of Rs 200-250 per day. But more and more owners who love their dogs and make no bones about it are opting to book their canine companions into Gurgaon’s Kennel1.
Like any ‘regular’ hotel, Kennel1 comes with a pick-up and drop facility for its clients in Delhi and the NCR region. A chauffeur driven air-conditioned Toyota Innova or a Wagon R are used for the purpose. The charges vary as per the distance. For instance a Noida pickup costs Rs 400 as compared to Rs 300 from Delhi.
Once inside, dogs can expect the very best. The hotel is equipped with 7-8 dog handlers who give 24 hour care and company to their canine guests. During activity time like training, grooming, eating, swimming, agility exercises and general walking: the canines are always accompanied by handlers, who give them individual attention to avoid infighting.
Like any hospitality industry, Kennel1’s business booms during holidays peaking at roughly 50-60 dogs per month. However, on average the hotel has 15-20 occupancy per day. Breeds like Labradors, Spitz, Pomeranians, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, and Golden Retrievers are some of the more common visitors to this high profile hotel.
The hotel has become so popular that some expatriates even leave their dogs at the hotel before heading home abroad. The hotel in turn arranges for all the paperwork and have their pets shipped to their owners.
Such luxury is needed, as the hotel has to deal with some very outlandish guests. One Russian diplomat wanted his racing dog, a Whippet, to be given only Evian water for drinking and bathing for the duration of his stay. To ensure this, he sent his driver every day with 10 litres of Evian bottle for the dog.
A Bengali couple’s canine had a fetish for salads cut in a particular manner. For this, the couple made an elaborate diagram of a salad plate with instructions on how to carve out vegetables at the edges and lay them out on the plate.
“The carrots had to be angular while the cucumber had to have sharp uneven edges. They claimed, ‘Our dog won’t eat otherwise,” says Shailendra Uniyal of Kennel1.
Other interesting demands include “my dog only eats by hand,” or “rotis should have ghee on them,” or “give him a badaam ki barfi every day” or “my dog will only sleep on a proper bed with humans around!”
The hotel however insists it does not indulge such demands. “We don’t specialise in exotic salad cutting. We know what’s right for the pet and provide them with healthy and nutritious food. Beyond this no tantrums are entertained,” says Shyam, one of the handlers.
The result of such a strict code of conduct is that a varied clientele which includes professionals, expatriates and senior citizens have trudged the long route to this hotel. “Generally pets are sent to us for temporary boarding while their owners are out of town.”
“But clients also come for a day to let their pets play and get groomed while they sit and watch,” says Uniyal.
Namrata, a budding film maker, is one of these clients. She has three Labradors which she often leaves at the hotel. “Because I travel a lot, my dogs have at times been here for six months at a stretch. But since the facilities are great I feel relaxed on their count.”