Fine Living: Dog Days of Summer

Written by Mindy Wood in the July 2010 Issue

Move over Beverly Hills Chihuahua, there’s a Rodeo Drive for pets in Edmond that rivals any posh pet boutique in California. Edmond dogs are lapping up the good life with daycare centers and spa resorts designed to indulge the most pampered pets.

Max and Elsie’s Pet Resort and Spa Boutique caters to dog owners who enjoy pampering their pet with high-end services. For smaller breeds under 35 pounds, Max and Elsie’s provides the ultimate in grooming, everything from facials to shampoo massages.

Owner, Crystal Yascavage said pets start the day off with spa treatments, like the blueberry facial. “It brightens the white of a dog’s face, removing any stains around the eyes caused by bacteria. It’s also an aromatherapy.” Other dogs enjoy a deep shampoo massage or the “Furminator” treatment, which drastically reduces shedding. Then it’s off to a lively play session, a frozen treat and naptime in one of their themed suites.

“We have a play area that encourages agility with tennis or large balls and other toys. They’re exhausted by naptime and lights out is at 6:30 pm. Classical music really soothes them,” said Yascavage.

As owners become more educated about the science of a dog’s life, many are turning to these luxury facilities to make their dog a better behaved pet. According to local experts, man’s best friend has many of the same needs as humans. Fulfilling their need for socialization, exercise, and a proper diet makes them better pets, while high end treatments like facials and massages endear them to their owners and handlers.

According to Camp Bow Wow owners, Kevin and Lauree Houghlan, pets become like children to the sensitive owner with an empty nest. The most common reason owners bring in their treasured best friend to Camp Bow Wow is that hardworking owners do not want to return home to a hyper, under stimulated dog left home alone.

“A lot of two income families don’t have children and they bring them to us so their dog will be tired at night,” said Houghlan. “They eat better and sleep better, but the main benefit is the way socialization makes them a better dog.”

“Dogs can have a bad day and get cranky, especially when they’re tired,” said Houghlan. “You see a lot of the same tendencies in dogs as in people.”

Both Houghlan and Yascavage agree that dogs are calmer, more social and less likely to be overweight, even for older pets. Their services are in high demand, with both facilities keeping a waiting list up to four weeks, especially during summer when overnight care is frequently needed.

Owners who don’t want to make the trip to a pet care facility opt for in-home services. Pet Talk owner, Jim LePree will feed and play with your dog at home and even collect the newspaper and water the house plants. He visits up to three times a day and said the intimate, familiar setting creates a bond between caretaker and pet while providing a better day for pets than a kennel cage.

“I tell people it’s my job, but it’s really a pleasure because they’re all looking forward to seeing me, wagging their tales and ready to play,” said LePree. “After I meet the animal with the owners and observe their behavior and moods, they usually recognize me by the second visit. Once I break the ice with them and they know I care about them, it turns into something really nice.” Mostly servicing older pets and small dogs, he frequently cares for the famous family-friendly breed, Golden Retrievers.  

Both dog lovers and professional caregivers agree that dogs are smarter than most people realize and their needs are not so different from our own.

“Their society and realm may be different than ours,” said LePree, “but those two worlds come together with the awareness of love and care.” For these dogs and their owners, there is little doubt about how much love and care they deserve.

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