Biz Unusual

Animal lovers try to claw a place for their pets

By Huang Yuli (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-27 13:42
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Pet boarding and pet daycare centers are purring with pleasure at this time of year as people rush to bring in their furry loved ones ahead of the holiday.

Zhang Xiaoyi, a consultant with the CKC International Pet Club in Tongzhou district, told METRO that, by Monday, the facility's 40 rooms were almost all booked.

"Many people were asking for space a week before the holiday and worrying that they wouldn't be able to get a room," Zhang said.

The seven-day National Day holiday is just around the corner and, because many people have made travel plans, the need for a place to house their pets is strong.

At Zhang's facility, each big dog has a 16-square-meter room with an outdoor area. The price is 80 yuan a day for a big dog and 60 yuan for a small one. The price includes dog food and workers taking the dog out for exercise twice a day.

Zhang said the kennels only accepts dogs with an immunization record because it wants to avoid spreading diseases.

He said an experienced veterinarian will also perform a physical examination of each dog brought there and those with skin diseases and coughs will not be admitted.

At the Jinjiajun Dog Boarding and Training Center in Pinggu district, the price for a day's lodgings is 100 yuan. The fee includes collecting the dog and its return after the stay.

A sales manager at the center surnamed Xi said business always booms before and during the holidays.

She added that simple boarding is only a part of the center's services. Training is also offered and is popular among dog owners during the holidays. People pay 5,000 yuan a month to have their dog trained there.

Both boarding centers receive only dogs but Zhang said his club is considering branching out and looking after other pets, including cats.

Liu Lang, president of the Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association, said cats are not as often placed in boarding homes because they are less sociable than dogs and because they can easily become ill in close quarters with unfamiliar cats.

Liu suggested pet owners going away on holiday avoid putting them in pet hospitals because they can become ill there.

Liu said pet shops are not a good choice because most only offer small cages and kennels and some are overcrowded.

Despite the traditional scramble for places at kennels and catteries, some animal owners say they will be looking for alternatives for fear that their pets will not be well cared for.

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Wan Yan, a local journalist, who plans to leave Beijing for her hometown in Shandong province during the National Day holiday, considered putting her Siamese cat into a cattery but ended up deciding to travel with her pet instead.

"I'm afraid she will be scared if she is surrounded by people she does not know in an unfamiliar environment," Wan said.

For Feng Qinyu, a retired woman in her 60s, it's better to stay at home during the holidays because she does not want to leave her Pekingese dog at home alone.

Otherwise she would spend her whole holiday worrying about her furry friend, Feng said.

During the 10 years she and her husband have owned the dog, they have only left the capital once, she said.