California's Barkingham Hotel for Dogs Offers Plush Beds, Gourmet Food, and Pet Pilates

iStock
iStock

The next time you take a vacation, why not give your dog one, too? As Travel+Leisure reports, the Barkingham Pet Hotel in Palm Desert, California, is just as luxurious as any Four Seasons or Park Hyatt resort—at least by canine standards.

As a high-end alternative to traditional boarding kennels, Barkingham gives furry guests the chance to stay in their own private suite replete with double beds and live webcams, should customers want to check in and see how their pet is doing. However, more modest arrangements, like “mini” and “junior” suites with a traditional dog bed on the floor, are also available.

"We believe your pets deserve as great a vacation as you do," owner Lori Weiner tells Mental Floss. "We pamper them the same as would a human hotel."

A double bed and mini couch inside one of the bedrooms
Barkingham Pet Hotel

Beyond the plush sleeping arrangements, pampered pets will also eat like royalty, with menu items including Greek yogurt parfait for breakfast and turkey “muttloaf” for dinner. A range of desserts, such as “corgi cannolis” and “pumpkin and cranberry delight”—all free of wheat, soy, and corn, naturally—are also on offer.

After eating to their heart’s content, dogs can hit the gym and shed some calories on the treadmill or in the pool. There’s also a “pawlates” class, which is described as “a core strengthening and muscle conditioning program” for active and arthritic dogs alike.

Traditional grooming services can all be booked at Barkingham, as well as more unconventional pampering packages like mud baths, skin treatments, and even massages. For $70, dogs can receive a “raindrop technique” massage, which uses essential oils to achieve "energy alignment" and stress relief.

Luxurious pet hotels are a growing trend, not just in California but nationwide. Florida’s Chateau Poochie offers movie nights and blueberry facials, and the New York City branch of the D Pet Hotel chain sends a chauffeur to pick up your pooch in a Ferrari, Porsche, or other luxury car of your choice. After all, you wouldn't want your Princess seen in a Prius, would you? 

[h/t Travel+Leisure]

Great White Sharks May Have Led to Megalodons' Extinction

iStock.com/cdascher
iStock.com/cdascher

The megalodon has been extinct for millions of years, but the huge prehistoric shark still fascinates people today. Reaching 50 feet long, it's thought to be the largest shark to ever stalk the ocean, but according to a new study, the predator may have been brought down by familiar creature: the great white shark.

As Smithsonian reports, the analysis, published in the journal PeerJ, finds that the megalodon may have vanished from seas much earlier that previously believed. Past research showed that the last megalodons died roughly 2.6 million years ago, a time when other marine life was dying off in large numbers, possibly due to a supernova blasting Earth with radiation at the end of the Pliocene epoch.

A team of paleontologists and geologists revisited the fossils that this conclusion was originally based on for their new study. They found that many of the megalodon remains had been mislabeled, marked with imprecise dates, or dated using old techniques. After reassessing the specimens, they concluded that the species had likely gone extinct at least 1 million years earlier than past research indicates.

If the megalodon vanished 3.6 million years ago rather than 2.6 million years ago, it wasn't the victim of supernova radiation. One known factor that could explain the loss of the 13 million-year-old apex predator at this time is the rise of a new competitor: the great white shark. This predator came on the scene around the same time as the megalodon's decline, and though a full-grown great white shark is less than half the size of a mature megalodon, the species still would have been a stressor. Adult great whites likely competed with juvenile megalodons, and with the megalodon's favorite prey—small whales—becoming scarce at this time, this may have been enough to wipe the megalodons from existence.

Even if great white sharks eventually beat megalodons for dominance in the oceans, the megalodon's status as one of the most fearsome predators of all time shouldn't be contested. The giant sharks had 7-inch teeth and a bite stronger than that of a T. rex.

[h/t Smithsonian]

Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld’s Beloved Cat, Will Inherit Part of the Late Designer’s Fortune

Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images
Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

As the longtime creative director of Chanel and Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld made his fortune in high fashion. After the news broke yesterday that Lagerfeld had died in Paris at the age of roughly 85 (his exact birth year is disputed), some wondered who would inherit his estate. The fashion designer’s net worth is estimated to be between $200 and $240 million, according to different sources, but he never married or had children.

Lagerfeld didn’t live alone, though. The iconic designer shared his home with Choupette, a 7-year-old Birman cat whose name seems to be a play on ma choupette, a cutesy French term of endearment that translates to, literally, "my cabbage," but is used more like "my pumpkin." According to Marie Claire, the fluffy white feline will inherit a chunk of Lagerfeld’s fortune. This is on top of the amenities the cat has already been afforded: She reportedly has two maids, a personal chef, a bodyguard, and an iPad. She also gets weekly manicures and has her own Wikipedia page, Twitter account, and Instagram, with more than 200,000 followers on the photo platform.

Comment survivre dans un monde qui ronronne 😻 @technikart_mag

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

All this pampering hasn’t made her lazy, though. Choupette has somehow found time to model, create a makeup collection and fashion line, and “write” a book titled The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat. However, Lagerfeld forbade her from doing cat food commercials, because she is “too sophisticated” for that, obviously.

The designer had adopted her from a friend, model Baptiste Giabiconi, in 2011. In a 2018 interview with Numéro, Lagerfeld said he had named Choupette, among others, as an heir to his fortune (the others are presumably human).

However, even if Choupette does inherit a sizable portion of his wealth, she still won’t be the world’s wealthiest cat. Grumpy Cat (a.k.a. Tardar Sauce) is also a millionaire, even if she doesn't seem too pleased about it.

[h/t Marie Claire]

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