West Sacramento pet hotel keeps tails wagging
A customer checks in her dog at Wag Hotel in West Sacramento. SARAH DOWLING — DAILY DEMOCRAT
By Sarah Dowling, Woodland Daily Democrat
POSTED: 01/30/18, 10:13 AM PST |
Kristen Rau greets Wag Hotel regular “Auggie” at their West Sacramento location. SARAH DOWLING — DAILY DEMOCRAT
When Kristen Rau walks the halls of West Sacramento’s Wag Hotel, she greets her guests with a smile, knowing most by name — of course sometimes the names are of the “Fluffy” and “Fido” variety.
Nestled behind a group of commercial buildings and marked by a simple, three-letter sign, Wag caters to cats and dogs, providing lodging, grooming, play groups and more for Sacramento-area residents.
The hotel chain, with locations in West Sacramento, San Francisco, Redwood City, Oakland and most recently Santa Clara, opened in 2005 by pet lovers who couldn’t find a suitable place to leave their pets during business trips. West Sacramento was the first.
“There was a lot missing for pets in terms of good care,” explained Rau, Wag’s director of customer service. “Back then there were only kennels.”
Wag first started as a boarding facility, but has expanded its services to daycare and overnight stays, just like its human counterpart. The hotel is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year including holidays, Rau added.
Standing in the lobby, Rau pointed out a hanging menu behind a service counter, which allows people to build a “customized stay” for their pets.
“We have all different types of dogs (as guests),” Rau said. “Crazy energy dogs to more mellow ones. People check in and find what’s best for their dog and (staff) guide them through.”
Giving a tour of the West Sacramento facility, Rau started in the kitchen, explaining that pet parents can request specialized meals for their dogs and cats. Some want simple dry food, while others want steak, chicken or eggs for their pets. Hotel staff do their best to make this happen for a more personalized stay.
While Wag specializes in care for dogs, there is a smaller boarding area for cats. According to Rau, most of their feline guests live in a home with dogs — their parents bringing both to Wag for care. The cat section also has its own air filtration system, so the cannot smell the dogs and the dogs cannot smell them.
During a recent visit, only one cat guest was present. A single staff member cared for her, letting the cat roam around the room.
“I want to take her home,” the staff member said.
There are around 180 rooms — of various sizes — in total. From the smaller kennels similar to what can be seen in an animal shelter to the “Capitol Suite,” there are options.
“The Deluxe Suites are a client favorite,” Rau explained. These rooms have webcam access tot he pet from anywhere in the world at any time, that way pet owners “have the comfort of knowing” what their dogs are up to. The rooms also have memory foam bedding, toys, and a mounted television that usually plays Animal Planet or a similar channel for guests.
Meanwhile, in the Capitol Suite, pet parents can Skype with their dogs or Fido can simply watch a movie on Netflix, which is included in the package.
“Some parents are very specific and pick out movies for their dogs,” Rau said.
The room also has a “lavender scent infusion” to create a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
When not in their rooms, guests are able to join different play groups — both indoors and outside — with other pups. A handler is always on site to make sure everyone gets along. Sometimes staff have to adjust play groups based on how certain dogs interact.
In the outside area, Rau greeted a guest named “Auggie.”
“He comes every single day since he was a puppy,” she said, petting him. “He has grown up with us.”
Auggie is just one of many dogs to do just that.
For more information, visit waghotels.com.
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The Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis for pets, in part because there is little research showing its effectiveness. Veterinarians are not allowed to write prescriptions for the products and, in states where marijuana is illegal, are wary of discussing the idea. Last year, a proposed state law was defeated in Nevada that would have made it possible for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis to pets with chronic illnesses. Still, users swear by the products.
Survey Says! …
One-third of Dog Owners Take Their Pooch to a Dog Park
Are you one of the one-third?
Let the puppies play! In the past year, 33% of dog owners have taken their pet to a dog-specific park. The frequency of going to a dog park is the same regardless of the number of dogs owned. However, considerably more owners in the Northeast go to dog parks than owners in other regions (39% compared to 30% in the North Central region, which reports having fewer dog parks in general compared to other regions). Owners with large or medium size dogs are more likely to go to a dog park than owners of small dogs. Interestingly, almost half of all Gen Y dog owners (born between 1980-1994) go to a dog park with their pet, while Builder dog owners (born between 1925-1945) are far less likely to go to such a park (47% compared to 16%).
Source: 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey
A recent study in the research journal Current Biology confirms that dogs realize when they are being treated unequally to their peers. This finding deepens our insight into how a dog’s brain works and suggests that dogs and humans share behavioral traits.
At the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, pairs of ten dogs and nine wolves were subjected to reward tests. If one dog consistently received a piece of meat as its reward and its partner consistently received plain old dog food, the partner became less motivated to participate in the reward test — in a sense its own form of protest.
This inequity awareness, or knowledge of being treated unfairly, is a trait shared by humans, monkeys, and other non-human primates. It is important for understanding human behavior. This study has found that dogs and wolves also possess inequity awareness, which cannot be said to exist for other animals. This suggests that dogs and primates share characteristic thinking and feeling processes.
Because this study found that both dogs and wolves possessed inequity awareness, it is likely that this trait was not learned through domestication of the wolf to the modern pet dog. This implies that there may have been an older ancestor of both the modern pet dog and of the wolf that developed this inequity awareness. It is possible that dogs and humans share this common ancestor?
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MIAMI-DADE, Fla. —
Justin Wagner is a one man rescue, saving homeless and stray dogs in Miami-Dade County.
Wagner told WPBF 25 News’ Tiffany Kenney that the Redlands, between Homestead and the Everglades, has become a known dumping ground for dogs.
Wagner, alone, has rescued more than 50 stray dogs. He told Kenney, “I’ve seen dogs tied to a crate out in the middle of nowhere, hoping someone is going to find them. That’s not how you get rid of a dog. It’s nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s like a third world country, Wagner said.
“They have no voice. It’s not like they can tell you what hurts,” Wagner said.
In March, Michelle Wacker, with Poodle and Pooch Rescue in Orlando, headed south on a rescue mission.
“We thought we were going to be there all day to fill up our horse trailer and our six SUVS. But by 1 p.m., we had 52 dogs and we were full. The dogs we saw were starving. They had broken legs and broken hips. One was fed metal shards. One was shot in the eye, head and hind,” Wacker said.
In all, the rescue has saved more than 150 dogs from the Redlands.
“This has become a safety health issue. Someone is going to get bit and get rabies. Someone is going to get mauled. Dade County should be embarrassed by the fact that it took a group of middle-aged women to drive all the way from Orlando to take care of their problem,” Wacker said.
A spokesperson for Miami Dade Animal Services which picked up 150 strays last year in the Redlands said they have offered to assist rescue groups and they do send crews out there to investigate. They also claim there are other parts of the county that have bigger abandoned dog problems.