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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New Gainesville resort to pamper pets

Imagine lounging across a plush bed in a private, climate-controlled room, lazily watching a favorite movie on a flat-screen TV and waiting for a fresh supply of doggie ice cream.

Yes, doggie ice cream. It comes in either peanut butter or berry flavor, and it's a favorite at luxury pet resorts like the one opening in Gainesville next month.

Pet Paradise Resort, a company that operates top-of-the-line boarding facilities for cats and dogs, will open for business at 19518 W. Newberry Road in mid-August, said company public relations representative Kate Perkins.

The resort is just one of the company's eight facilities in Florida, and Perkins said it's part of a larger, seemingly recession-resistant market.

"People are still spending any amount of money on their pets," she said. "They don't want to skimp on their babies, even in this economy."

According to data from the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association, U.S. consumers spent $41.2 billion on pets in 2007. That number is estimated to increase by about $2 billion this year.

Gainesville's new pet resort, which took about six months to build, will feature 124 dog "suites" and 20 cat "condos," Perkins said.

Local pet owners can choose to board their cat or dog at the facility if they leave town or use the resort's day care services while at work.

Martin Coolican, director of marketing and public relations at Pet Paradise, said suites for dogs staying overnight have an indoor and outdoor section.

The rooms, regularly priced at $30, are equipped with refilling water bowls to ensure no guests ever go thirsty, Coolican said.

Accommodations for cats are cheaper at $22 a night.

Soothing music plays through the six-level, private cat condos to simulate a spa-like atmosphere.

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Pet owners can also book one of 15 special suites overlooked by webcams so they can peek in on their animals at any time.

"This is not just a kennel," Coolican said. "We are offering luxury."

One optional luxury is the resort's $65-per-night presidential suite, which is furnished with a flat-screen TV for canine viewing pleasure. Owners at other resorts often provide their dog's favorite movie, Coolican said.

Popular films include "Homeward Bound" and "Lassie," he said. Otherwise, the TV is set to Animal Planet.

The resort also offers a bone-shaped swimming pool, prime grooming and veterinary services.

Coolican said Gainesville residents are already reserving spots for their pets at the facility.

He declined to reveal how much it cost to build the facility.

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