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  Inside Out - North West: Monday October 13 2003

PAMPERED PETS

Rodney the rabbit
Rodney lives in the lap of luxury

Forget designer coats or diamond studded leads - the ultimate in pet pampering is the UK’s first pet resort.

But is it any good, and is it a step too far?

The people behind Mypetstop in Manchester claim they offer a lot more than average kennels or cattery, for when pet owners go on holiday.

They have everything from TVs in the pet apartments to an indoor exercise arena the size of two tennis courts.

The resort has its own veterinary surgery with a vet on-call 24 hours a day. Dogs recovering from illness or simply in search of some good clean fun can also relax in the hydrotherapy pool.

Trust?

Expensive pets

Dog apartments with full board
= £140.00

Rabbit hutches
= £49.00

Television and video service
= £8.25

Additional cuddles
= £17.50

Peter Branson, founder of Mypetstop says they are offering pet owners an element of trust, "They really know that when they come to us we’re going to care for their pets exactly as they care for them…"

But that trust comes at a price:

And can they really look after people’s pets the way owners can at home?

Inside Out asked two of the north west’s most pampered pet owners to put the new resort to the test.

Man’s best friend

Tess the border collie
Tess's portrait hangs in Bill's family home

Kennels are normally out of the question for Bill Goulding.

His beloved Border Collie Tess goes everywhere with him. Bill even takes her to work each day.

Bill admits that he could not go on holiday without Tess and enjoy it, "She’s treated like a big kid… we dote on her."

Celebrity rabbit

Clare Strafford can’t bear to be separated from her rabbit Rodney - so much so she’s set up a webcamera so she can keep an eye on him while she’s at work.

Clare says, "During the day you have to be curious about what your pet’s up to when you’re not around."

"Over time, broadcasting over the internet, we’ve had 1.5 million hits. Australia’s picked up on it, Japan’s picked up on it and I would have to say that Rodney is a very, very famous rabbit in Germany."

Clare admits that people think she’s crazy, but says, "I know there are some even more crazier people out there than me."

Satisfied?

Clare Strafford
Clare keeps a close eye on Rodney whilst at work

So was the high-class pet hideaway up to scratch for Bill and Clare?

Despite the spacious rabbit hutches offered by Mypetstop, Clare was concerned, "Rodney’s a house rabbit, do you have anything bigger?"

Rodney was eventually upgraded to a cat apartment – complete with television.

Bill has only left Tess with his daughter previously, but says, "I think I’d leave her for a day first rather than overnight. The only thing I didn’t like was the plastic beds."

Holiday tips

RSPCA Online has advice for anyone who has to leave their pets whilst away:

  • One of the best ways to make sure your cat or dog will get reliable care is to board it at a reputable kennel or cattery.
  • Visit several establishments to check facilities.
  • Ask your vet, local council or RSPCA if any of its local animal centres take boarders.
  • Book a space in advance to avoid disappointed.
  • Ensure that your animal has up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Ensure the establishment has an insurance scheme in case your pet needs emergency care.
  • If friends offer to take care of your animals, leave full instructions.
  • Check that your pet will be welcomed by all members of the friend's family and their pets.

See also ...

On bbc.co.uk
BBCi: Pets

On the rest of the web
RSPCA
PDSA
Rodney Rabbit

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

Alice
I think these people are ridiculous! A dog isn't going to be able to tell between a plastic bed and a wicker, or a carpet and cement floor. And what harm will a hutch do for just a week or so when your going on holiday if a rabbit is a house pet? It's not like it's staying there for ever. These people obviously haven't got children.

Sara
I believe pets should be pamapered, they are Great & they NEVER let you down!! It's ashame some pets are abused!!

Tricia
I've moved from London to Preston to go to university and brought my cat with me even though it costs more for private accommodation than university accommodation. I couldn't leave her behind. The Mypetstop sounded ideal for when I need to travel back to London or go on holiday as I don't have the numerous friend to cat sit up here. I wasn't impressed with the cat suite. Why do the dogs get a nice room and cats get little more than a rabbit hutch? If anything, cats need more space as they don't go for 'walkies'. I'll be looking for a cat sitter so my cat will have the run of the house when I'm away. It's what my little queen (Nefertiti) deserves.



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