Doggie hotel opens — 23 dollars a night, television optional

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2006 (AFP) – Washingtonians can now drop their pooches off at a pet hotel that cares for their friendly canines in a five-star environment — pet-themed television shows optional. In the mahogany paneled lobby of the PetSmart PetHotel, which just opened in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, the pets’ human “parents” line up to plunk down 23 dollars plus tax for each night their pooch stays.

The doggie hotel is nothing like kennels of yore: in this inn there is lactose-free ice cream, indoor recreation, and for 10 more dollars a night, pooch can stay in a roomier “suite” with a television set showing an “animal related movie all day,” said Vince Malanaphy, who manages the Bethesda PetsHotel.

“It helps them to relax and to adjust as they are used to hearing TV at home,” Malanaphy says.

In one “suite” a little white poodle named Bijou is lost in the embrace of Morpheus with “Little Nemo” and his cartoon friends swimming by in an eternal loop on the TV set.

A stay at “Doggie Day Camp” without the overnight goes for 20 dollars the day.

Half of the boarders come every day. “It’s better than leaving them at home alone,” said Cyra, one of the pet “mothers,” as she drop