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Love motel for pets opens in Brazil
From: BBC          Published On: December 13, 2012, 11:40 GMT
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There are heart-shaped mirrors on the ceiling and a lot of frisky nibbling on the bed below.

But the visitors to this new Brazilian love motel are a pair of French bulldogs, Cherry and Toby.

The motel is just part of Animalle Mundo Pet, a new massive pet complex in Belo Horizonte, Brazil that sells everything from chocolate dog biscuits to assisted reproduction services.

A fling in the motel costs about $50 dollars.

Cherry's owner says she's still too young to mate, but they'll be back when she comes of age.

"I like to give her everything I can," says Leonardo Felipe da Silva. "A lot of people think it's too much, but I think she deserves it."

He says he already spends up to $300 a week on food and accessories for Cherry.

"Our clients don't see animals just as animals," says Daniela Guimaraes, the owner of Animalle Mundo Pet. "They talk about their pets like members of the family, 'my son' or 'my brother'."

In Brazil, a decade of prosperity propelled millions into the middle class and fueled a demand for pets of all kinds, but especially dogs. Breeds like Shih Tzus and Italian greyhounds have become new symbols of economic status.

According to PET South America, an international trade show for pet suppliers, Brazil is now the world's fifth-largest market for pet accessories, worth about 9 billion dollars in 2011.

Even so, only about half of Brazil's 100 million pets have access to pre-packaged foods and pet stores, according PET South America, leaving plenty of room for future growth, which they predict will be in the double digits.

Dog leashes embedded with crystals, animals spas and dog daycares are all the rage.

In Sao Paulo, many restaurants now offer dog menus and a Rio de Janeiro entrepreneur recently introduced a beef-flavored "Dog Beer" -- non-alcoholic of course.

Being a pet in Brazil these days is hardly a dog's life.

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