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Doggy day cares thrive in pet-obsessed Seattle

Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

SEATTLE -- Little cots, cubbies with names, family photos on the walls and even blueberry-infused facials.

The popularity of doggy day cares in Seattle is on the rise. And some of the perks are so nice for our furry friends that one woman on a recent tour of day care CityDog! Club began to weep.

"She said the doggy day care was nicer than her kid's day care. She said, 'I wish my kid's day care was this nice,'" said Phillip Kasdorf, a co-founder of the luxury pet-sitting center.

People like her are among those who are turning a fairly new type of business into one of hound-hooked Seattle's most successful enterprises.

The number of business licenses issued by the city to "non-veterinary pet services" -- which include doggy day cares, dog walkers and groomers -- has more than quadrupled over the past decade.

Last year, there were 328 licenses in Seattle.

Seattle, a city with more dogs than children, was one of the first regions in the country to really embrace the services.

"It used to be a Seattle anomaly," said Maria French, manager of The Barking Lounge, which opened in 2004 and features two indoor dog parks where denizens are separated by size and temperament.

"I'd travel and tell people what I do and they'd look at me cross-eyed," said French, a former nuclear engineer for the Navy, "but living here allows us to really push forward on the levels of care we can provide and what we can we do to share our love for dogs."

The Barking Lounge was among the first in the area to provide overnight care for dogs with a full-time, 24-hour attendant.

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