South Africa’s Luxury Dog Hotels Are Sobering | Life

An employee tends to dogs in a dedicated small dog room at SuperWoof, a luxury dog ​​hotel, in Cape Town. ― ETX Studio Photo

CAPE TOWN, January 22 ― Three dachshunds claim a large bed, while an agitated mongrel yaps constantly and a miniature schnauzer seems disgruntled despite soothing Bob Marley tunes playing on the stereo.

It’s just another morning at SuperWoof, a luxury dog-friendly hotel in South Africa’s Cape Town, where the wealthy register their dogs for some serious pampering.

If dogs fancy a later sunset, drinks are available in small bottles from ChamPaws – a water cocktail with a hint of rose petal and South Africa’s famous rooibos tea.

Opposite the dog hotel is an overnight shelter for Cape Town’s many homeless people – a pervasive legacy of apartheid. And a short distance up the road, a makeshift tent camp has sprung up on the sidewalk.

But for wealthier South Africans, dog daycare centers or fancy hotels are where they leave their fur babies while on vacation abroad, or if they’re just not available for some reason or other. another.

SuperWoof competitor AtFrits is located in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Located near the colorful houses of the Bo-Kaap district, this second home for dogs is surrounded by trendy cafes, art galleries and sushi restaurants.

‘Presidential suite’

Inside, dogs can stay in the economy section of the hotel, where they hang out together, or have a private “presidential suite.” These are adorned with baroque chandeliers and exquisite wallpaper, with dog portraits in faux gold frames on the walls.

A sequel has an ironic name: “K9 Nkandla” – a nod to ex-president Jacob Zuma’s sprawling rural estate, which the scandal-ridden ex-leader notoriously modernized using millions of dollars of public funds. Dogs have been a divisive issue in South Africa.

They were used by apartheid police to suppress protesters during the liberation struggle. Some politicians complain that white people care more about their pets than the majority of their impoverished black compatriots.

“If a person can afford to keep their dog in such circumstances, that’s their business,” said Hassan Khan, who works at The Haven District 6 feeding center next to SuperWoof.

Tilana Kruger, a 35-year-old estate agent, recently moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town and regularly deposits her beagle with AtFrits. “He can’t wait, he literally jumps out of the car,” she said. AFP by telephone.

Whether luxury dog ​​hotels should exist in a country with such high levels of poverty and inequality remains a moot point. A stay in AtFrits’ most expensive room costs R535 (RM147) per day.

The government sets the national poverty line at R890 per month. Yanic Klue, owner of AtFrits, says she is doing her part to fight poverty by creating jobs. “I have 37 employees that I give income to,” she said. donates 10% of hotel revenue to help stray dogs, including neutering.

She also runs a non-profit project that teaches poor township women in South Africa to sew dog clothes for the hotel boutique.

dog chakras

South Africa’s strict lockdown at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic reduced demand for dog hotels because people were working from home and not going on holiday. But with the economy reopening, owners are returning to the office and many dogs are now suffering from separation anxiety.

The hotel offers a range of therapies for dogs in pain, including gemstone therapy and reiki, a Japanese relaxation technique, Klue said. Dogs “also have chakras and they also have blockages,” she explained, referring to the belief that the body has points through which energy flows, ensuring harmony.

And for equally anxious owners who want to monitor their puppies while they’re away, cameras in all hotel rooms allow them to watch their pet’s antics at any time…on “Petflix.” ― Studio ETX

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