Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Canine Hotel May Sound Luxe, But There's No Place Like Home

Room Z5 is empty except for a faux-suede floor pillow, a 14-inch flatscreen TV, an IP network camera, and a 9-pound miniature pinscher sitting motionless by the steel door. After a few minutes, the pooch gets up, walks across the room, and settles on the pillow, almost covering the white letters that spell out w-a-g. Kitschy dance music wafts in from the hallway. A dog yelps in the background.

Wag is a new pet hotel in San Francisco that promises the ultimate in canine luxury. It has an atmospheric-filtration system that recycles the facility's air 10 times per hour. Temperature-controlled rooms remain at a comfortable 69 degrees Fahrenheit. The suites ($85 a night) even have "Wag Cams," accessible from an Internet browser, so that curious or concerned owners can check on their furry companions.

Tonight I've booked my dog, Ruby, into Wag. I scheduled her for an in-room belly massage ($12), a moonlit walk on the antibacterial Astroturf rooftop ($15), and room service (one pig's ear and a bowl of water). This should be a great night — I'll have the evening off from my dog-parenting duties, and Ruby will make new friends and be pampered by Wag's experienced staff.

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