A California doggy day care center is coming under fire over its steep pup prices, which some critics say strike a discordant note in a state grappling with long-running housing and homelessness crises.
Doggy Style, a private, members-only San Francisco canine club, has been pitching an “innovative dog experience” online.
The store/puppy care center will open next month and is “equal parts social club, chic lounge, and the ‘luxe home away from home’ you’ve always wanted for you and your dog – a first-of-its-kind experience, with impeccable taste,” the website claims.
Memberships range in price from $250 a month to the top-tier $1,500-a-month membership, available to those who pay an additional $7,500 annual fee. At the lowest level, called "The Noe-sy Neighbor," SF Gate reported, members get one dog day care visit per week, a guest pass and invitations to basic programming and events. By comparison, the highest level features such over-the-top perks as a hand-painted mural of your dog on the Doggy Style "Wall of Fame," a seven-days-a-week pup concierge service (pickup and drop-off), one complimentary grooming session per month and a private doggy birthday party for 12 pups and 24 people.
The outrageous price has some calling the business tone-deaf. About asking people for that kind of money, they say the owners are, well, barking up the wrong tree.
“This is just over-the-top terrible, and it’s opening in Noe Valley somehow,” tweeted Josh Wilburne. "Yet the neighborhood rejected an organic dog food store earlier this year."
Coleen Baik replied, “SF has become a parody of itself. But I guess that’s old news. Also, stupid name.”
Michelle J took issue with the moniker as well.
“I can’t tell if it’s an obnoxious true doggie club or a fetish bar,” she tweeted.
Co-owners Cameron Silva and Rachel Swann defended their steep membership plans and say Doggy Style will have a “community-based mission.”
“People are saying: ‘Oh, well you should be spending your money on kids or charity,’” Silva told The Guardian. “Well, we are. You’re always going to have your haters. We just freaking love our dogs. So why not?”
Silva and Swann also said they’ll host several adoption events, open up their tony digs for free to nonprofit groups and donate some money to charities that support animals.
"We feel like there's a couple crises in San Francisco: a homelessness crisis and a homeless dog crisis," Swann, who adopted her dogs from regional shelters, told SF Gate.
Swann says the dogs will be vetted for temperament and “community-mindedness” by application and an in-person interview. She insists that membership isn’t based on “status or wealth or social anything” but the website seems to tell a different story.
According to the site, there are five tiers of membership: The Noe-sy Neighbor, The Social Climber, The Bougie B****, The Top Dog and The Dog Wears Prada.