By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
With the largest number of condominiums in Bangkok – not to mention the highest land prices –Sukhumvit Road is home to some of the city’s richest folk. The construction that has taken place over the last three decades has done away with most of the graceful villas with large gardens that once lined its sois, greatly reducing areas where pampered pets can enjoy leisure time with their owners outside four walls. Fortunately, though, Chana “Mint” Hetrakul, executive director of Tre 3 Sanctuary, has come up with a solution, opening Trail and Tail, the first comprehensive pet-friendly community mall in the country.
“Our old family home was located here. But the house deteriorated, so my family and relatives started to think about turning this space into something that could benefit society as a whole. All of us are animal lovers and so we decided on the Trail and Tail Pet-Friendly Community project. Our aim is to serve the lifestyle needs of pet-owning residents in Sukhumvit, both Thai and expat, who want their dogs or cats to enjoy the great outdoors but cannot provide it at home. Trail and Tail also brings likeminded people together. We focus on improving the quality of life for owners and their pets, offering them the chance to relax over a good meal while their pets play and run as if they were in a garden of their own,” Chana says.
“This very large plot of land was once home to five houses, each one lived in by members of the family. It’s right in the heart of Sukhumvit and the current owners want to keep the land in such a way that it allows them to recall their childhood memories. At the same time, city people, who live in this area of Sukhumvit yearn for some greenery and we are happy to provide it,” says Pimsuree “Tik” Sukapanpotharam, project director of Trail and Tail and a partner in the Moggie Doggie pet shop.
“Mint and I are friends and I also had a dream to do something for pets in Bangkok. I raise dogs and would like them to have a good quality of life. No dogs are allowed in public parks. There are so many restrictions on pets that Thais have little experience of going out with their dogs and seeing how their behave when they have the freedom to run,” she adds.
Pimsuree and Chana looked carefully at the best way to realise their project for two years before starting construction of this pet-friendly community mall on the four-rai plot of lush green land in Sukhumvit Soi 39. Many pet business operators were keen to jump on the bandwagon, including the owners of an animal hospital, but the pair said no. They also looked at consumer behaviour and different business models.
“We want our place to be a happy space for animals so an animal hospital was not what we had in mind. The first important factor is safety. We have two entrance doors to ensure pets don’t escape. Another goal was to improve the value of this old house while being as eco-friendly as possible. We studied our trees and have a sensory garden like those overseas that sharpens an animal’s sniffing skills.
“I attended a seminar organised by the Thai Pet Product Industries Association which looked at the trends in pet ownership. Pet lovers have morphed into ‘pet parents’ who love their pets like their children. Our place aims to be a space where pet parents can take care of their ‘children’ correctly. We supply dog poop pickup tools as well as day care for dogs. Care centres where owners can leave their dogs during the day is big business in the US and is growing here too. A service offered in the US, which I think is great but am not sure if it would work in Thailand, is ‘self-grooming’ where the owner can shower her pet by herself. I do it for my dogs and find it very relaxing,” says Pimsuree.
Trail and Tail is divided into three zones. The first zone, into which Bt50 million has been invested, features a large open space where dogs can romp and play, a salt water swimming pool measuring four by 10 metres and one-metre deep, and a dog hotel with 38 rooms. Price per night is based on size, with the small room going for Bt950, the medium for Bt1,250, and the large for Bt1,500. The day care centre is here too and costs from Bt300 to Bt500. There’s also a cat hotel run by tenant Kofuku with 19 rooms (capsule Bt300, deluxe Bt400 and penthouse Bt1,500), Hato Pet Wellness offering grooming, spa, massage and aromatherapy, plus premium pet shop Moggie Doggie.
“We allow all dog and cat breeds but do have a few restrictions. We do not accept dogs or cats younger than five months, female dogs in heat or animals with aggressive behaviour. All pets must have a valid and up-to-date vaccination book. Our staff are experienced. Dog trainers run the swimming pool and qualified animal nurses are in charge at the dog hotel. We do not sell pets though in future we will offer a pet adoption service, especially for dogs, on which we will cooperate with different organisations. We are also planning dog training and dog agility exercises. We hope too to set up an activity where disabled or autistic children will be able to spend time with dogs and pet them. We have a veterinarian from England here every Saturday and Sunday to advise on dog behaviour,” says Pimsuree.
The second zone is home to the restaurant Tea Factory and More at A’ La Campagne in Pattaya. It serves healthy, hearty and homemade food, desserts such as ebony cake, scones and carrot cake and is eco-friendly with glasses and drinking straws made from biodegradable materials and an organic vegetable patch. Dogs and cars are welcome to chill with their owners as they sip on the restaurant’s signature cold brew tea such as La Vie En Rose, Oolong Lychee, Earl Grey Yuzu, Puerh Vanilla, Kombucha, and Kombucha Mango.
The second phase scheduled for completion in the middle of this year will feature a doggy restaurant called Dogkery Café offering healthy food and snacks as well as a fitness centre and beauty clinic.
- Situated in Sukhumvit Soi 39, Trail and Tail Pet-Friendly Community is open daily from 10am to 7pm.
- For more information, please call (099) 352 2564 or visit www.facebook.com/trailandtailbkk, IG: trailandtailbkk, and Line: @trailandtail.