The Exclusive Lives of Dogs, NYC Edition

I enjoyed reading this piece in The New York Times about Ruff Club, a social place for dogs. Not every dog gets in, and the interview process can make the dog owners anxious.

Over-the-top dog spas are not all that new, of course. And the focus on exclusivity suggests the same competitive urges of urban parents obsessed with getting their toddlers into the right schools. And just as the nursery-school-age population in Manhattan has surged since 2000, particularly among wealthy white families, the pet population in New York City is now estimated at 1.1 million, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, with a 30 percent increase in the pet care industry from 2000 to 2010.

At any rate, it wouldn’t be the first time that dog care has been compared to child-rearing. “Treating your dog as a person can be a kind of aesthetic error, albeit one that’s becoming ever more common,” writes John Homans in “What’s a Dog For?” which explores the history and sociology of human-canine relationships.

The Ruff Club seizes upon this zeitgeist. “But we won’t infantilize dogs the way other spas do,” Ms. Simon Frost said. “We won’t give out report cards or talk in high-pitched voices.” She makes a point of calling her place “dog” day care not “doggy.” And unlike other high-end dog spas, the Ruff Club, which costs a competitive $29 for day boarding and $49 for overnight, doesn’t offer yoga, massage or any forms of coddling.

I think NYC is a prime spot for dog catering services like this to take off. What other cities have something similar to offer?

On an unrelated note, what kind of dog name is Zoloft? Depressing, no?

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