Meet Tanner and Rory, our re”paw”ters fresh from the field with a variety of tales to tell about four-legged wonders walking among us. Tanner is a French Bulldog with deep Missouri roots. He enjoys time with his stylist, Emily, at Treats Unleashed, croissants from Starbucks, short walks and tummy rubs. Rory is a Morkie, a Maltese and Yorkshire terrier mix, who hails from Southern Illinois. The Watering Bowl is a favorite hangout and designer duds are standard with preference to anything from Lola & Penelope’s. The dynamic duo have scoured pet salons and doggie daycare facilities and have perused thousands of Instagram accounts searching for the perfectly sophisticated pets to feature.
Each issue, they’ll introduce you to some of St. Louis’ finest pets while also giving you the scoop on upscale dog and cat hangouts. Like did you know Ruth’s Chris in Clayton has been hosting the happiest yappiest hour in town with “paw-ty” on the patio nights? Pup-tizers from Treats Unleashed and paw-sitively perfect drink specials are offered along with the full restaurant menu.
And whether you’re in the midst of remodeling or just needing a staycation, your furry friends are welcome at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis. Pet perks are the norm as it seems more and more four-legged guests are checking in on a regular basis!
The truth is the average pet owner spends more than $100 per month on a pet. But there is a large population of owners who easily spend that in a week, many in just a few days. Between grooming, special dietary needs and treats, veterinary costs, daycare/boarding, and retail items like clothes, toys, beds, etc., some little furry guys and gals are living better and fuller lives than many humans do, averaging on the higher end at a cost of $10,000 per year. The numbers from the American Pet Products Association show a large and steady increase in spending in the pet industry, with the most recent totals coming in at nearly $70 billion. And with many couples waiting until later in life to have children, or individuals bringing pets into homes instead of spouses and partners, here’s a big shocker: some surveys done among Millenials suggest many are willing to spend more on a pet’s health needs than his or her own! But only the best for our furry kids, right? Now let’s meet our first set of sophisticated pets, who even have their own au pair, or should we say, “paw pair?!”
Meet the Shar-Peis who are living their best lives: Kingston Marshall and Mishka are 3-years-old, Edmond Prescott is 2, and “baby” Theodore Benjamin Osgood (aka “Teddygrams”) is just a few months shy of turning one. And if you’re wondering what kind of birthday bash he’ll have, let us tell you more about just an average week in their house.
For starters, Mom Erika Sinner works full-time, and so does Dad Chris. So it makes sense that their kids, or “pei-bies” (Get it? Shar-Pei babies.) as they call them, have a full-time babysitter they refer to as their au pair. She comes in everyday to play with the dogs and let them out, but she also has her own room where the dogs sleep in bed with her in the Sinner’s house. Erika says, “I have her come watch the pups when we host work get togethers and holiday parties so they aren’t locked in a room alone. She hangs out with them all upstairs until everyone arrives and they are calm then we let them come down sometimes if guests want to see them. When I’m sick and he’s [Chris] traveling she comes over and I lay in bed. It happened this past winter when I came down with the flu. That is really why we call her an au pair. It’s so much more than dog sitting and it’s important to us to make sure they don’t feel lonely or separated.” One of the kids gets “Shar-Pei fever,” so having someone around to help when IVs are needed is essential.
We’re not sure these “peibies” have ever felt lonely though. They even road trip as a family in their dog-devoted SUV decked out with Serta dog beds and plenty of space. The Sinners made the news on one of these trips when all of their online friends and fellow Shar-Peis met up at Barkwell’s, The Dog Lovers’ Vacation Retreat near Asheville, North Carolina. The group rented the entire dog-centric resort out (a second location in the western North Carolina mountains recently opened). It’s a place where dogs are free to run, swim and play with acres of fully fenced meadows and a pond. Some cabins have their own private fenced yards and hot tubs with of course a dog door for the real guests to roam as they please.
But back to their home life, having more than 20,000 friends on Instagram means many furry friends come for visits in their Chesterfield home too. Side note: the Roomba automatic roving vacuum runs nonstop. “They’ve all chosen their couches, they get treats, they get groomed often, they all get a Bark Box surprise [a monthly gift box that gets delivered with all kinds of pet goodies]. They love the waterpark at Petropolis too.”
Maybe this kind of life is not so unusual though. Dr. Paul Schifano, the owner of Petropolis Pet Resort in Chesterfield says, “Back in the day, it was all about being clean and healthy and your pet not getting sick. Over the 30 years we’ve been here, we’ve constantly asked ‘What can we do better to enrich pets lives?’ and now it’s all about having fun. Our clients love their dogs like they love a child.”
While the Sinner’s dogs aren’t biologically related (they come from Texas, Colorado, Iowa and Tennessee, and three of them are brush-coat and one is a bear-coat) their bonds are strong. “We spoil them and have a happy little life,” Erika says.