Dog boarding without kennels. It may seem like a curious proposition, but the family-run team behind Citipets, run their center based on the philosophy that dogs function best when they're part of a pack—overnights included. Further, the duo believes kennels cause anxiety and provide dogs no comfort from nightmares about cars chasing them. Instead, dogs bunk down in communal sleeping rooms where classical music eases them to sleep.
That's just one way Citipets provides special care for each furry visitor. At daycare, dogs are separated into groups by size and temperament during their full day of play. In the 5,000-square-foot outdoor area, they wrestle on artificial turf and play with one other and the dedicated staff. Indoors, they take over 9,000 square feet, with plenty of nooks for tired dogs to recharge with a nap or curl up with War and Peace.
Precita Bark keeps pooches clean with full and self-service dog washes. With either option, the staff supplies everything necessary, including towels, all-natural shampoos, and pompoms for the ankles of balding poodles. The groomers also administer doggy spa treatments, including blueberry facials. And before dogs and owners head out, they can grab treats and toys.
With a 10,000 square foot roof deck, private suites, and indoor pools, Wag Hotels would be a swanky destination for any human. But as much as they might want to—and as much press as they might have read about the hotels—bipeds aren't welcome to spend the night at either of the hotel's locations. Instead, cats and dogs rule the roost at these luxury pet resorts.
Both locations are open 24/7 and offer more than 5,000 square feet of playrooms where pups romp around. Spacious boarding rooms with flat screen TVs await canines spending the night while two-level kitty condos—designed by feline specialists at UC Davis—keep cats entertained with built-in exotic fish tanks. And for top dogs, Wags offers Golden Gate and Presidio suites, both outfitted with raised Cal King beds and in-room aromatherapy dispensed by employees or a tower of devious cats wearing a trench coat to look like an employee. Animals can even indulge in the hotel's spa, which offers such grooming services as oatmeal shampoos and puppy pedicures.
To ensure each four-legged guest's visit is comfortable, Wag's team employs the Wag Care 360 approach. This approach includes sanitizing the facility regularly and allowing owners to check in on their pets via the hotel's web cams. Wag also provides dog training courses and pet CPR classes.
Combining personal training with play-care, The Grateful Dog caters to canines with an active and stimulating schedule plus a 1:6 handler-to-dog ratio. Over the course of each 12-hour play-care session, day-tripping doggies will enjoy two to three walks, including jaunts to breezy Fort Mason, as well as one-on-one time with a trainer and play time with a handler. The Grateful Dog also pampers pups with organic treats, filtered water, and mini massages before letting them loose to run in circles and bark at invisible aliens free of guilt or any sense of propriety.
There are many businesses that cater to pets, but Redwood Animal Hospital strives to be the only one animals need. Veterinarians Joelle Abrams and Timberly Johnson and their doting staff members—including Isaac the dog, who greets clients up front, and Alex the cat, who roams the clinic freely and helps distract patients during procedures—perform the preventative, surgical, and dental services that owners expect from an animal hospital, then they go a few steps further. The onsite boarding facility lends a private space to dogs and cats when their owners are away, and groomer Cheri shampoos, brushes, and trims fur to bestow clients with fresher-smelling pets. For owners with limited mobility or dogs who don't want to run into their ex-wives, the medical specialists even make house calls.
Sacred Cross Horse Services founder Ashley Mason has transformed her extensive background in horseback riding and show jumping into a unique training program. At stables tucked away in redwood forests, students attend English-style riding lessons that focus on basic fundamentals such as grooming, tacking, and learning how to bond with horses. The lessons cater to students' individual needs and skill levels while simultaneously prioritizing their education and enjoyment. Sacred Cross also leads horse camps for children, as well as lessons designed to impart a sense of responsibility, teach empathy, and stop them from trying to lead the dog into a canter. Students are required to wear long pants and heeled shoes while riding.