New P.E.I. inn caters to 'spoiled rotten' dogs

While most dog owners are happy sending their pet to a regular kennel, some Islanders are choosing more luxurious accommodations with all the amenities of a regular spa.

Business steady since The Hairy Kids Inn opened 4 months ago, owners say

Dogs staying at the Hairy Kids Inn in Freetown get plenty of time to relax. (The Hairy Kids Inn)

Like many dog owners, Catherine Coulson Gaudet worries about her pooch when she goes away.

So when she went on vacation for three weeks in November, she checked her German Pointer Molly into a new boutique hotel in Freetown, P.E.I. The Hairy Kids Inn has a spa-like atmosphere that caters specially to canines.

"First time I have gone on vacation and have had such peace of mind, and knew my hairy kid was going to have just as much fun or more while away," said Coulson, who lives in Summerside.

Susan Marchbank massages one of her furry guests during an aromatherapy session. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Coulson's not alone. While many owners are happy sending their pet to a regular kennel, others are choosing more luxurious accommodations with all the amenities of a regular spa.

Paul and Susan Marchbank say business has been steady since they opened The Hairy Kids Inn four months ago. The couple previously ran the Raspberry Inn in Freetown, and thought if people were splurging on a vacation for themselves, then why not do the same for their dog?

'Vacation' for dogs

"I just thought it would be nice to up the game and just create a vacation destination for dogs because people really do feel guilty when they go away if they can't find a place that they're really happy with," Susan said.

"They do everything for their dogs. Their dogs are spoiled rotten and people don't have a problem saying that, so that's what we've created for people to have a place where their dogs can be spoiled rotten."

Susan Marchbank spends a lot of one-on-one time with her guests who seem to enjoy the undivided attention. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

With services that include aromatherapy, yoga, massages, nail care and gourmet food and treat for all types, The Hairy Kids Inn has something for every breed from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards.

The cost ranges from $40 and $60 per night. For owners like Coulson, it's worth it. Her dog even made some new friends.

"Molly was pampered and loved and I returned to a calm, comforted and completely cared for dog," Coulson said.

Paul Marchbank, a cabinet maker, built the custom-made accommodations. (The Hairy Kids Inn)
Guests at the Hairy Kids Inn are encouraged to do as much or as little as they like. (The Hairy Kids Inn)
Dogs can get exercise in the 10,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor activity park. (Tom Steepe/CBC)
Guests can relax by the fireplace. (The Hairy Kids Inn)
Susan Marchbank says she prefers to keep only 3 or 4 dogs at a time so she can give them more individual attention. (Tom Steepe/CBC)
Dogs sometimes make new friends at the boutique. (The Hairy Kids Inn )
The Hairy Kids Inn opened 4 months ago in Freetown. (Tom Steepe/CBC)