Luxury dog care open for business
Affluent South Koreans have just about every fashion accessory imaginable from designer clothes to handbags and the latest trend in Asiaâ€™s fourth biggest economy is small dogs.
Just like their well-groomed owners in the ritzy suburbs of the capital Seoul, pets are now big business for groomers, healthcare businesses and even mood music, helping to create a whole new service industry.
â€śIRIONâ€ť is a luxury pet care centre in the Gangnam district in Seoul that recently opened to cater to the needs of affluent urban dwellers who have embraced small dogs as their latest fashion accessory.
With prices of up to $60 a day for a dog â€śkindergartenâ€ť and up to $180 a day for a doggy hotel room, it certainly doesnâ€™t come cheap.
â€śIRION is a place that provides premium services for customers who consider their pets as family members,â€ť So-Hyun Park, the companyâ€™s Chief Executive Officer told Reuters.
Vava, a three-year-old female poodle, needs to be groomed ahead of her appearance on the â€śdog-walkâ€ť in a canine beauty competition.
Just like Seoulites with children, stressed out by the competing needs of job and family, dog owners can put their charges in a â€śkindergartenâ€ť.
IRION says pets enrolled with the kindergarten program can learn how to communicate with people and other animals. For those having difficulty training their pets, the center introduces both owners and pets to one-on-one private consultation lessons. Originating in the U.K., these reward-based programs help participants learn effective ways to approach their pets. Although, the program isnâ€™t just about education; IRION says it takes comprehensive steps to ensure the petsâ€™ mental stability and physical health and so the kindergarten and the hotel rooms play soothing music for pets to help them feel relaxed.
Veterinarians are on stand-by to visit the pets in the kindergarten and the hotel at least once a day to check on the animals. They receive free grooming and have their teeth brushed. After having snacks in the afternoon, pets return to the hotel to take a nap for about an hour. Owners can keep tabs on what is going on with a real-time live webcam.
It costs 60 US dollars to enroll a pet in the kindergarten or the day care program and the price of a hotel room ranges from $36 to $180 dollars a day, depending on how big the dog is and how long he or she stays, with a pickup time of 7pm; the end of the working day for busy Seoulites.