There is a high-end spa just outside Cincinnati that pampers its patrons with audio and video.

Customers enjoy personalised music and video programming distributed through a NuVo Grand Concerto system, 68 pairs of NuVo AccentPLUS speakers and dozens of flat-panel TVs.

If patrons have any specific desires, they need only bark or scratch the nearest door.

It’s a dog spa.

The Red Dog Pet Resort, recently launched by owner Ray Schneider, is a five-star operation with 24-hour-a-day staffing. He set out to create a spa that offers “the plushest of comforts for all manner of creatures,” including a pool and massage parlour.

The 30,000-square-foot facility includes 44 individually themed suites to house pets. For slightly less exclusive accommodations, there are three dormitories that can host over 150 dogs. There are also 37 cat condos.

A major emphasis was placed on audio and video. Ray enlisted Ken Becker, owner of Montgomery, Ohio-based Shootingstar Electronics, to install the NuVo multiroom audio system. Each zone is controlled by a Grand Concerto Control Pad.

No, the dogs don’t operate the control pads, Ray qualifies. Likewise, he isn’t under the impression that K9s can appreciate the performance of the in-ceiling and in-wall AccentPLUS speakers or evaluate the picture quality of the Toshiba, Samsung and Magnavox flat panels.

It’s less about quality and more about effect, he says.

Dog’s Best Friend

The audio and video serve to “replicate the familiarity of [the pets’] homes,” Ray says. The idea is that if a dog’s owner typically plays a particular type of music or video content, it might relax a dog who enjoys a customised suite.

The dogs that populate the dormitories are likely to hear classical or new-age music. “I think it soothes them,” Ray says.

He adds that the music seems to cut down on the contagious barking effect. Often in kennels, he explains, one dog starts barking, then another follows and soon every dog is barking. The music seems to somehow prevent that.

Then there are the flat panels. Many people believe dogs don’t see images on TVs. That’s not true, Ken says. “I used to think that, too.” The installer even experimented on his four boxers, purchasing a nature DVD to see how they’d react.

“They watched the TV and [when they heard animal noises] they went right after it. They listen to the sounds and watch the TV.”

For Ray, the goal of the TVs is more about familiarity than content. He estimates that 20 percent of dogs actually watch TV. The familiarity of having a TV on, however, may put the other 80 percent at ease.

Ray says he did his share of research and recognised a demand for this level of pet accommodations. People are willing to go to great lengths to pamper their dogs, he found, because pets provide “the type of unconditional love that they don’t find otherwise in their lives.”

He adds, “They often spend more money on their pets than they do on themselves.”

Installer in Doghouse

Many of the pet owners that visit the Red Dog Pet Resort probably don’t enjoy a multiroom audio system at home. Ken, who has a lot of residential clients, said it was a relatively easy job — albeit time consuming.

“It’s a flat, open building so pulling the [wiring] was easy, but it was a lot of speakers to cut in.”

The project did have its challenges. Ken opted to put a single channel to each zone. This allowed him to use a mere 18 NuVo P2100 amplifiers, each serving eight suites and connecting to three pairs of speakers.

The Red Dog staff can choose from a variety of sources by accessing NuVo’s AM/FM/XM dual tuner and iPod NuVo Dock. Ken also installed a NV-LSA40 local source amplifier to allow any local audio source to be amplified through the zone’s speakers.

The system sounds great, looks good and is easy to control, Ken says.

A high level of quality was necessary even though the system’s end users are dogs, according to Ray. He says he considered using lower-end products but decided against it.

“I ended up going with the better,” Ray says. “I have learned that [in business] whatever you build, people try to copy it. I decided to make it the best and put people in catch-up mode.

“That way I won’t see many people copying me because it’s too expensive. It’s about setting a high bar.”

Hopefully the dogs appreciate it.

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