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October 30, 2013

Even as purse strings tighten, pet owners continue to pour money into their pampered pets

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Even as purse strings tighten, pet owners continue to pour money into their pampered pets
Brittany McPeek, manager of Three Dog Bakery in Clinton Township, arranges “pupcakes” and other homemade doggy delicacies. Pet owners come in to Three Dog Bakery to get high-end dog treats and even order creations for special pet occasions.

Spa days. Designer clothes. Gourmet dinners. Lavish parties fit for a king.

There’s never been a better time to be a pet in metro Detroit.

For many cat and dog owners, their furry friend is more than just a pal — it’s family. And for those pampered pets, only the best food, treats and accessories will do.

In Bloomfield Hills, JP’s Pet Boutique and Grooming Spa owners Ken and Janet Platt have been catering to canines’ styling needs for nine years. From manis and pedis to in-tub massages, JP’s is truly a spa for the four-legged kind.

“We got started a number of years ago when my wife and I found ourselves on the downside of a major corporation,” said Ken Platt. “My wife trained at the New York School of Dog Grooming in Manhattan. So we opened up the shop together — her as a groomer and me as an artist. That’s how we got started.”

Platt uses his artistic talents to create custom paintings of beloved animals, commissioned by their adoring owners.

Clothes and accessories are also popular. Right now, Platt said, Halloween costumes for dogs are a hot item. And, of course, the couture dog houses and feeding bowls are favorites for pets and owners alike.

Down the road at the Platts’ other store, Maestro’s Dog Haus, pet owners can pick up treats for their little friend. The owners say Maestro’s menu is created using healthy, locally sourced ingredients.

“When we got our dog, Maestro, I remember I walked in the house one day, and four pots were going on the stove for dinner. I asked my wife, ‘What’s for dinner?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know. Want to order a pizza or something?’ I asked her, ‘Pizza? What’s all this for?’ And she said it was for Maestro,” said Platt with a laugh.

In Clinton Township, Three Dog Bakery knows what it takes to get tails wagging. The bakery specializes in homemade goodies for dogs made with natural, healthy ingredients that are easy on little canine tummies. From “pupcakes” and “beg-als” to the seasonal favorite “Pup-kin Spice Latte,” dogs can get a taste of the good life at this specialized eatery, the manager said.

According to manager Brittany McPeek, the franchise originally started in Kansas in 1989 to cater to dogs’ special digestive needs. Now, Three Dog Bakery has become a place for pet owners looking to celebrate life’s milestones with their furbaby. That includes — you guessed it — doggy birthday cakes. McPeek said the bakery takes about 50 birthday cake orders each month.

“We also are putting together a Birthday Bundle, which includes the cake, treats for all your guests and birthday hats,” said McPeek. “We do things for quite a few occasions. We have Dog’s Night Out, which is a dinner date for you and your dog. And we do a Beast Feast for the holidays, which is a four-course meal you can buy for Thanksgiving or Christmas, so your dog isn’t left out.”

While some luxury industries, such as flower shops and fine dining, might’ve taken a hit during the down economy, McPeek insists that businesses catering to dog lovers are actually thriving. She said people are willing to spend a little more on the pets they love so much.

“I am astonished. Every year,  it just gets better and better. I’m from Kentucky, and down there, people leave their dogs outside. Here, it’s a lot different,” she said. “Dogs are a part of their family, and people love spoiling them. For some, that’s their kid; that’s their baby.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.