Now open: the five-star boarding kennel your dog won't want to leave

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The Independent Online

Gus is relaxing in his hotel apartment. Room service has just arrived, and while he contemplates his meal, Gus lounges on the sofa-bed, catching up on the latest TV news. But Gus, who is staying in suite 14, is no ordinary hotel guest: Gus is a dalmatian.

Gus is relaxing in his hotel apartment. Room service has just arrived, and while he contemplates his meal, Gus lounges on the sofa-bed, catching up on the latest TV news. But Gus, who is staying in suite 14, is no ordinary hotel guest: Gus is a dalmatian.

The two-year-old dog is one of the first clients at a unique luxury pet hotel - costing £5.5m - which opened on the outskirts of Leeds yesterday.

MyPetStop offers furry guests everything from home-cooked food to counselling to stop chewing. During their stay, pets can listen to music (Radio 2 is apparently the most popular station), go for a swim, have their teeth and nails done or relax in front of their favourite film. There are also competitive "flyball" events where dogs socialise while racing for tennis balls.

The "resort" - as the management insists on calling it - is the first of 30 such hotels planned for major cities in the UK.

MyPetStop founder Peter Branson came up with the concept after finding himself frustrated by a lack of facilities to care for his own pets. "My motivation was the fact that I had a dog and two cats and I couldn't find anywhere I trusted to take them - either for boarding or grooming," explained Mr Branson, 37, a former London investment banker. "This isn't about pampered pets: it's about delivering standards of care that ordinary pet owners deserve."

MyPetStop is backed by the Mars Corporation, which manufactures pet food such as Pedigree Chum and Whiskas. It is also Mr Branson's former employer.

The resort, set on four acres near Morley - which yesterday saw the cat from the Bacardi adverts make a celebrity appearance - boasts 120 two-room suites for dogs and 90 for cats. It also has facilities for rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. Prices start at £20 a night for dogs and £15 for cats.

As Gus gives up on the TV news and tucks into his dinner, Smirnoff, a 14-week-old American cocker spaniel, is enjoying a swim in the heated pool. "For puppies like Smirnoff, who has a weak knee, it offers a good way to exercise while keeping the load off the legs," said hydrotherapist and qualified veterinary nurse Heather Roberts, guiding her around the pool.

If owners are still doubtful about boarding their animals - as 80 per cent of Britons currently are - they can monitor their pets' progress via web-cam.

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