Thu, Jan 26, 2012 - Page 2 News List

FEATURE: Pet hotels enjoying brisk business over New Year holiday

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Dogs play on a sofa in the living room of a pet hotel in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District yesterday.

Photo: Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times

People traveling during the Lunar New Year holiday know they need to book accommodations in advance, but for those planning to check their pets into a pet hotel, they also have to do it early because these lodgings fill up quickly during holidays.

“We’re fully booked all the way from a week before Jan. 22 through the end of this month,” a man surnamed Huang (黃) said in a telephone interview with the Taipei Times. “Reservations for this [Lunar New Year] period were made back in November.”

Huang works at “Doggy House,” which, as the name indicates, is a hotel for pet dogs in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖).

“Usually, we get an occupancy rate of 70 to 80 percent, but during Lunar New Year holidays, we always get full occupancy because a lot of people either travel abroad or visit relatives in the south and need to leave their pets in the hands of a professional,” Huang said.

Wu Hsuan-yi (吳萱誼), co-owner of Woof Home, a pet hotel and a pet food and accessory shop in Jhonghe District (中和), New Taipei City (新北市), agreed, saying business at its pet hotel doubles during the Lunar New Year holidays.

“On average, we make NT$60,000 from the dog hotel per month; however, during [this year’s] nine-day Lunar New Year vacation alone, we expect to make more than NT$120,000,” Wu said.

“We began accepting reservations for the Lunar New Year period in November, and the places were quickly filled up by December,” Wu said.

At Woof Home, dogs are free to run around the place and play with each other. Wu said that is why she usually ask dog owners to leave their pets in the store for at least an hour to see if they get along with others before deciding whether they should let them stay there.

“Whenever there are dogs in the store, we’ll have someone staying here. We also work with a partner animal hospital to make sure that dogs staying with us will be healthy and safe,” Wu said.

Doggy House, meanwhile, has 12 individual rooms, and only dogs that have the same owner are placed in the same room to make sure that they don’t end up fighting with each other.

Aside from dog hotels, there are also cat hotels.

“Cats are more sensitive and get quite nervous easily, so we separate the cats from the dogs,” said a staffer surnamed Lee (李) at Cats n’ Life, a member of a pet hotel chain that has a separate hotel for dogs in Taipei City. “Cats stay in separate rooms — unless they are from the same owner — so they feel more relaxed.”

“For cats that like to play with strangers, we would play with them everyday; for those that prefer to be alone, we’d leave them to themselves,” Lee said.

All cat rooms at Cats n’ Life are equipped with a video camera and owners can look at their cats 24 hours a day via Internet even if they are abroad.

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