Video: Oman's own 'hotel for dogs'

T-Mag Wednesday 09/May/2018 18:47 PM
By: Times News Service

In 2009, when we got a peek into the life of a pampered dog in the family-friendly flick ‘Hotel for Dogs’, it was then, when we realised holidays are as important for dogs and other pets as they are for us humans. These beauteous canines deserve to taste luxury living and enjoy the finer things in life, and that is why proud owners choose to take their pooches to a place where they are guaranteed to be loved.

This week, let’s visit Canadian Jebel K9 (CJK9), a resort for the poshest of dogs, for a glimpse into a day in their lives that may leave many of us humans envious.
CJK9 is a huge five-star resort and spa for the four-legged tucked in the outskirts of Muscat in Hay Asem, where they offer a variety of special services for even the pickiest of guests.
We had the pleasure of meeting Alfa Vold, founder and CEO of the resort, who walked me through the services offered, and gave me an experience to remember.
Alfa has always been one to love dogs, as they were a part of her life for as long as she can remember. She had her first dog when she was four months old. She recalled a memorable photograph that includes her older brother at her side and their dog seated comfortably on her lap, offering unconditional love.

Growing up, she’d spend most of her time at her grandfather’s farm that had many dogs. She became curious and eager to understand how they think and how to communicate with them. So she went to school and got a degree in dog training and followed her passion of taking care of dogs. She learned all about kennel management, detection work and military training, among other fields.
“Dogs are creatures that have so many talents, and I think that’s what always interested me,” she said, adding that “they are used in so many capacities.”

Alfa’s dream came true when she opened the centre almost 10 years ago, and as her training facilities and reputation grew, her centre evolved and transformed into a resort that’s dedicated to taking care of these canines.

She owns German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, and local dogs (also known as wadi dogs) to name a few.

“So, what’s it like for the dogs who stay at the resort?” I curiously asked Alfa.

The life of dogs at the hotel is a life of luxury; they wake up at 5 in the morning and get a bathroom break, then it’s playtime for an hour, followed by a relaxation session and breakfast. After indulging in their favourite food, they have more bathroom breaks before heading out to play with their friends and the friendly staff. At 9pm, the lights go out and the dogs go to bed.

For Alfa, the most important thing is to have compassion and love for animals, which is why her caretakers are the friendliest of dog-loving folks.
“For everyone who works here, the first requirement is to love dogs,” said Alfa, adding that a positive attitude contributes to taking better care of the pet.

Nader Al Aufi, who is a staff at the hotel, adores spending time with the dogs. To him working at the hotel brings joy and content to his heart. “I’ve always been passionate about dogs but I didn’t know how to treat or train them, until I met Alfa, who taught me all about dogs,” he said.

Though taking care of pooches is no walk in the park, there are so many happy moments that add sparkles to Alfa and her team, from being around various breeds of dogs that comprise all shapes, sizes and personalities, to watching overly excited dogs reunite with their owners.

Now, let’s dive into the resort and its amenities.

Boarding and Training
The place offers a pet limousine service to pick up the guest from his/her owner’s home, to and from the hotel. The dogs enjoy a drive in a spacious bus with a dedicated kennel that fits a variety of dog sizes.

After checking in, the guests are shown their rooms and offered a number of services, with the most important being training for obedience, as some of the guests may check in with behavioural problems, which are then dealt with using Alfa’s top-notch techniques and training strategies.

The training sessions are either in a group, private, or one-on-one with the owners. With that said, the hotel ensures a productive session with a dose of fun.

Just like us humans, dogs on holiday enjoy a day at the spa too. They are bathed, cleaned, groomed with a sleek haircut or a coat trim, and offered a dog-special version of pedicures and manicures. At the end of their stay, the dogs go home looking good.

The guests are served high-end food that is catered to each of their requirements. Depending on their breed and diet, some dogs eat three meals a day, others eat only once, some of them love homemade food, others enjoy regular dog biscuits or raw food.

Even for the picky eaters, the hotel provides something to suit their taste, unless they are a less particular breed such as Labradors, who live for good dining sessions.

At the exterior of the hotel, there’s an open space for guests to pass their time, meet new friends, and train. Some dogs spend their afternoons playing fetch and mingling with their friends. The resort also conducts obstacle courses for the residents, which levels up the good times.

At CJK9, they sell items for dogs too: Natural products and bones and chews made in the United States. Brands such as Origen, Red Barns, and Royal Canine can be found on their shelves. What about toys you ask? Given their significant role in the lives of dogs, the shop sells a variety of durable and safe toys for all types of dogs. Apart from toys and food, grooming tools and healthy products are also available: From hairbrushes to teeth-cleaning tools.

Pet Relocation
This is an important service, especially for folks moving to Oman, or vice versa. The centre assists in bringing the pet and handling all relocation procedures for your dear pooch. What more could an owner ask for?

The New CJK9 Resort and Spa
The new resort is in the final stages of completion, and Alfa is expecting to move to the newly-built hotel sometime after the summer.

At the new building, the facilities and plush amenities are top notch, serving the guests nothing short of a majestic stay; there will be separate wings for dogs according to their breeds; bigger playgrounds; a swimming pool; spacious, air-conditioned kennels and suites with beds, televisions, and patios for private playtime. “They can have that at-home feeling when they come to stay with us at the suites,” said Alfa.

The centre also caters to different pets, such as cats, so if you have lovely pets and find yourself in a dilemma over where to leave them when you are travelling, you have your answer right here.

I truly enjoyed exploring the resort and meeting the dogs. Though I was scared they’d chase me, I ended up having a good time, and I bet you and your pet will, too.
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