Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the February 14,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

When U.S. 1 documented the opening of a $2 million

animal

hospital at the corner of Roszel and Alexander roads, we thought we

had written the final word on how the pet business has prospered (June

7, 2000). That article drew lots of response, most all positive.

Our cover story last week revealed that the pet business offers yet

another angle — the last rites for deceased dogs, cats, and other

domesticated animals. It told how three women bought an old animal

cemetery and brought it to life as the Hamilton Pet Meadows, a place

where grieving owners can put their beloved pets to rest.

This story had a mixed response. One reader was "amazed and

horrified

that people can actually make a living in such a business, given the

level of poverty in the world." And a psychologist complained

to a U.S. 1 deliverer about the cover (which showed an old gravestone

for a pet named "Snooky") because, he said, he has many child

clients.

But Marc L. Weissman, owner of the Princeton Veterinary Group on Route

27 in Kingston, felt it was "an important article, given that

many people treat animals as family members, and they accord them

the same respect in passing. It allows the public to get a sense of

the depth of emotion and the bond between the pet and the pet

owner."

Animals as family members? That concept is familiar to Carol Lini

and Kristi Lupescue, owners of a pet sitting service called Whisker

Watchers and a brand-new doggie day care center that rents space from

Weissman at 4491 Route 27, Kingston. After seeing the cemetery story,

Lini wrote to tell us about her business, All Good Dogs Day Care

(609-497-1511):

"On weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. we provide care for dogs while

their owners are at work. Our dogs have a cage-free environment and

are grouped in three rooms, according to age, size, temperament, and

activity level. They have play time (rope toys and balls), outdoor

time (three fenced yards) and nap time. We don’t mix small dogs with

the big; we’ve had Labradors, golden retrievers, standard poodles,

boxers, English bulldogs, silky and Yorkie terriers, Lhasa Apsos,

and Eskimo dogs. Our clients are people who work long hours and feel

guilty that their dog is alone for such a long period. Many are New

York commuters or apartment dwellers who have no yards. Our service

is as close to a child’s day care as you can get."

Note that the cost is also remarkably similar to children’s care,

$30 for one day if you buy a coupon book for 10 days, $38 for a single

day. (This contrasts with pet sitting at $14 per half-hour home

visit.)

But before she can break even she has monthly expenses of more than

$4,000. "We’ve been trying to do this for four years," says

Lini. "It’s not a business for everyone. You really have to know

dogs’ temperaments and behaviors."

A clarification: the Pet Meadow is hosting an Adopt-a-Pet open house

on Saturday, February 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (609-586-9660). The

sponsors are Pet Rescue of Mercer and Focus on Animals, and these

are animal rescue groups, not animal shelters, as stated in the

article.

The animal shelters are SAVE in Princeton (609-921-6122) and APAW

in West Windsor (609-799-1263).


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