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Anyone for a pet-icure? Owners lavishing their companions to make them 'feel better'


Glamour pooch: Jenny (far left) helps with bulldog Monty¿s treatment

Up on the fourth floor of this vast emporium, past shelves spilling over with designer sunglasses, a crowd of French tourists gather excitedly in front of a floor-to-ceiling window.
They’re staring open-mouthed at the luxury spa on the other side of the glass where a smug, pampered client is wrapped in a fluffy white towel, enjoying a signature blueberry and vanilla facial and pedicure.
You see, this is not your normal spa-goer. It’s Monty, a two-year-old British bulldog. On the next table, Silver the Persian cat is being treated to a blow dry, white fur flying everywhere, while a bearded shih-tzu called Gizmo looks rather surprised that he has been daubed in spa mud and wrapped in cling film.

Centre of attention: Shih-tzu Gizmo gets a facial and his head washed

Welcome to the Pet Spa at Harrods, Britain’s first animal spa and the only place to be seen for pets of the rich and famous. Tamara Ecclestone is just one of the celebrities who has been spotted whisking her five dogs in for pedicures and a shimmer spray (yes, that’s one of the 42 treatments on offer) since its opening in November 2010.
I’m here to spend a day behind the scenes at the spa, learning to paint doggy nails, shampoo cats and pamper the four-legged prima donnas to see if I’ve got what it takes to be a pet beauty therapist. It doesn’t take long to realise the clientele — and their owners — inhabit an entirely different world to the rest of us.

Sparkling clean: French bulldog Mr Smith has his teeth scrubbed

Head of Pet Spa Stephanie Mehanna says it’s not just bonkers billionaires who come through the spa doors, though she admits it does attract a particular kind of customer. ‘They tend to be those with homes in London and the countryside who bring their big dogs in to be cleaned up after a muddy weekend,’ she says.
‘And then we have the locals who book their pets in every week — our prices aren’t that high for the area and we do have the best pet stylists in London.’
Ah yes, the locals. This is Knightsbridge, a favourite second-home spot for oil tycoons and Middle Eastern royalty where the average asking price of a property is £3 million.

Purr-fectly turned out: Silver the Persian cat is treated to a posh wash

The Pet Spa looks like an exclusive salon with its large open room littered with treatment tables and static hairdryers. To the right is the ‘fitness suite’ complete with a Fit Fur Life doggy treadmill — where cocker spaniel Maisie is busy enjoying a workout, while a flat-screen television shows doggy films Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians and Hotel For Dogs on a loop.
On the left is the physiotherapy and massage area where candles line a shelf along the back wall. On Fridays, the spa hosts an Animal Communication and Reiki therapist who, for £175, will use the laying of hands to channel energy into your mutt. Yes, really.

Dog¿s life: Gizmo, gets his coat moisturised whilst British Bull Dog Monty is attended to in the rear of the saloon

Inner peace: Silver the cat receives a welcome massage at the Harrods parlour

‘It’s not as frivolous as people think,’ says Stephanie. ‘The mud bath conditions the skin as well as the coat. Our blueberry facial helps remove tearstains, and the fresh breath treatment — where we brush the teeth with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste or spray in minty foam — speaks for itself.’
Something must be working as Stephanie says they get a lot of regulars, including Toffee, a crazy cocker spaniel who comes in twice a week — ‘I think her owner would pay us anything just to take her off her hands for a few hours’ — and a couple of German shepherd guard dogs belonging to a well-known Russian businessman (the spa is much too discreet to name names).

Wakey, wakey: Border Collie Logan enjoying a nap, right, before indulging in the pampering session

And then there are the chihuahuas and Pomeranians who come in often to have their nails painted. As none of them are booked in today, Monty is about to undertake the deluxe pedicure instead. For the uninitiated, painting a dog’s nails (with £14.95 non-toxic Colour Paws varnish, in case they try to lick it off) is as hard as you would imagine.
It requires one person to hold him still and the other to paint, carefully avoiding the fur. It doesn’t help that French bulldog Mr Smith has just arrived for a fresh breath treatment, causing Monty to try to throw himself off the table to assess his rival.

Feeling blue: Gizmo getting a blueberry face wash during his treatment

Wash and go: He is then scrubbed from head to toe using a special loofah

Cool finish: Gizmo's makeover is complete with a final blow dry

As each dog is finished off throughout the afternoon and flounces off with a goody bag containing a Canine Cookie Company biscuit and a chewy bone, there’s no denying they look adorable. Would they have had just as good a time rolling around in the mud instead of having it massaged in?
Probably. But, at least this way, they won’t leave muddy paw marks all over the limo on the drive home.

source: dailymail