The Durango Pet Resort, the name of Durangos newest pet kennel being built east of the city, may seem a bit extravagant in todays tough economic times. A resort for pets seems a hard sell at a time when people arent in the mood to pay for fancy accommodations, even for themselves.
But Todd Helphrey, owner of the pet resort located near Three Springs residential development, thinks otherwise. Durango residents love dogs, he said, and more and more are willing to pay for quality pet care and other services.
Construction began early this month on the 5,500-square-foot pet resort. Along with about 36 kennels for overnight stays, it will include 2,000 square feet each of indoor and outdoor play space for dogs and a gym with different structures dogs can play on. It will include a separate space for cat boarding. Helphrey said he also plans to add physical therapy and massage to the resorts services.
Growth figures for the pet industry and feedback from other kennels indicate that Helphreys business is on the right track.
The American Pet Products Association estimated that Americans will spend $47.7 billion on their pets in 2010, up from $36.3 billion in 2005. On pet boarding alone, people spend $273 for dogs and $255 for cats each year, according to the associations 2009-2010 survey.
Interest in specialty services and wellness care for pets is growing, said Crystal Blesch, a membership specialist with the Pet Care Services Association.
Theres more of a trend toward holistic pet care, all-natural foods, hydrotherapy, dog massage and a cage-free environment, she said.
The association is a nonprofit trade association for the pet-care services industry.
In response, kennels are starting to branch out to provide these services and capture more of that market, Blesch said.
Dog day care still may be considered a luxury item, but businesses that provide it in the right locations are flourishing, she said.
According to local kennel owners, Durango is one of the places where business is booming.
Pretty much every holiday we are full with a waiting list, said Cassie Libby, owner of Healthy Hounds and Fat Cats. She said that business hasnt been affected by the recession.
Kristen Read, owner of Puppy Love Boarding Kennels, said the kennel is usually full for overnight stays and has waiting lists during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The fact that dog owners are a huge demographic in Durango helps as well, Libby said.
We always say its not if you have a dog in Durango, its how many, she said.
As for Durango Pet Resorts name, Helphrey said the hint of luxury was intentional.
We dont want to classify ourselves as a run-of-the-mill kennel, Helphrey said. When youre on vacation, theyre on vacation.