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Pampered pooches put on the dog at disco

The much-barked-about Fetch Club has opened its doors in downtown Manhattan, seeking to service all of its posh canine clientele’s needs. The 13,000-square-foot Shangri-Paw boasts a canine restaurant, movie theater, wellness spa, fitness center, and even a canine photo studio complete with a sheepskin rug to pose on.

But what does the Fetch Club have that other similar luxury dog care facilities don’t? A gimmick, and a good one at that: the doggie disco.

Studio 54-legged
While the Fetch Club functions primarily as an amenities-packed dog spa and hotel (it’s the kind of place you’d like to go yourself, except you can’t, because you’re … well, human), it has been gaining notoriety in the press recently for reports of its “doggie disco.”

The “nightclub” is accessible exclusively to members at a cost of $300 a year – but not just any old mutt off the street can sign up and get in. There is an interview process, which includes, among other things, a temperament test (if only human clubs had a similar screening process).

Once your pup gets past the proverbial velvet ropes, you’ll be pleased to find that the disco does, in fact, have a prominent mirrored disco ball … but that’s not all. 

Fetch Club’s website delectably — albeit vaguely — describes the three elements of a canine guest’s evening: dinner, cinema and dance.  For dinner, your pup can indulge in the “entree of the day, prepared daily in the restaurant’s kitchen.” If a client brings their own meals, the “staff would be more than happy to serve it to you gratis.”  Read: There’s a BYOK (Bring Your Own Kibble) option.

Next, your dog may enjoy a “classic canine film.” If you’re concerned the movie may be too racy for your young pup, you can plan ahead: “Movie screenings change daily, so please call ahead for a list of movies and their screening times.” 

Puppies can also participate in training classes, or as the Fetch Club calls them, “Personal Development Courses.” In addition, Fetch Club offers a choice of accommodations; more-social dogs may choose the “community penthouse,” whereas your pup that may not play well with others might opt for the “private suite.”

As for the dancing, it’s unclear how the dogs actually get down with their bad selves, but the Fetch Club claims to encourage dogs to “dance the night away.” The website does not offer many disco details, merely listing the beverages available at the wet bar: Bark Vineyards’ Barkundy, Sauvignon Bark, Pinot Leasheo or White Sniff-n-Tail.  (In reality, these are vino-inspired gravies to pour on your dog’s food.)

Gimmicky and ridiculous? Maybe. Fun and intriguing? Absolutely.

V.I.Pee
Joining Fetch Club grants pets access to the club’s VIP services, such as the nightclub and indoor park, as well as discounts on boarding. Dog stylist Dara Foster of PupStyle.com identifies with Fetch Club’s target audience, and lauds the perks of membership.

“This definitely fills a void in luxe New York doggy day care,” Foster said. “There's a huge group of dog-obsessed New Yorkers who will spare no expense for their best friend. They eat organic and gourmet food, have personal trainers and watch big-screen TVs — and they want the same for their dog! The bragging rights associated with belonging to a club for their dog makes for great brunch conversation too.” 

Dog owner Peggy Kremen recognizes the more pragmatic side of a Fetch Club membership in its appeal to busy New Yorkers: "This would be great for an owner who travels a lot.  It seems like one-stop shopping."  However, Kremen added, “I think the treadmill is just weird.”

Cost a dog a bone
What constitutes “reasonable” cost for pet care runs a gamut, or, er… dog run. By New York standards, the Fetch Club’s day care and spa services are generally on par with those you’d receive at a groomer or veterinarian; however, the hotel and membership come at a premium. 

But even compared to similar luxury day care … er, dog care … facilities, Fetch Club still leads the pack in price. New York Dog Spa, a well-known day care and spa facility, charges $35 a day without a membership fee, compared with Ritzy Canine, a very uptown, luxury doggy day care that charges $42 without a membership fee — the closest in price range to Fetch Club, which charges $45 daily for nonmembers.

But perhaps it’s an unfair comparison, as Foster finds Fetch Club to be a unique: “There’s nothing  exactly like it.”  After all, isn’t a doggie disco priceless?

Paws to reflect
The Fetch Club seems to be tapping into a very New York phenomenon: a convenient, albeit expensive, service that caters to our back-to-basics desires for all things natural and holistic without comprising luxury.  Oh yeah, and an awesome gimmick.

Representatives of Fetch Club declined comment for this story, claiming they were amidst an “identity crisis.” Considering their facility, their clientele and their gimmick, somehow that seems just about right.

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