If a pet can’t stay at home while its owner is at work, its days can be just as comfortable and fun-filled at Gimmie a Bark’s elegantly homey facilities. Here, beloved pooches 25 pounds or less lounge on comfy blankets in well-kept kennels or frolic in the secure outdoor confines. Once their humans come to retrieve them, they can peruse the multihued doggy boutique together for gourmet treats, handpicked dog food products from brands such as Acana, or debonair attire for doggy prom.
At Bay Area Equestrian Center, riders can advance from basic lessons all the way up to horse ownership and national-level competition on the Arabian show circuit. They do so under the guidance of Lynn Almond, who founded Friendswood Riding School in 1990 and turned it into BAEC in 1995. A member of the horse community her entire life, Lynn has used her wisdom to vault students to national championships in Western, Hunter, and Sidesaddle riding styles. Today, the center's visitors can learn from Lynn and her team during private and group lessons, which provide more detailed instruction than the riding directions scrawled across the belly of every domesticated horse.
A lush lawn and garden center teems with trees, flowers, and fragrant mulches, inspiring homeowners to create cozy stomping grounds for their farm animals and household pets. Inside Gulf Coast Equine and Pet Center, bags of feed from brands such as Purina and Nutrena await trips to swine troughs, dog dishes, and the Triple Crown trophies from which the coolest horses eat their meals. An onsite pet salon grooms dogs large and small, paying close attention to families' and pets' personal tastes as groomers create each dog's new 'do.
Southern Breeze Equestrian Center is a utopia for horse lovers, where expert instruction turns whinnying tenderfeet into sure-footed saddle-masters. With lessons devised for all ages and experience levels, this full-service facility fills its four riding arenas with enthusiastic forays into horsemanship. Southern Breeze’s 45-minute private lesson ($65), offered Mondays through Saturdays with one of the center's experienced assistant trainers, is tailored to individual levels of equine expertise. First-time riders spend some ground time looking under the hood, using humanpower to harness horsepower before embarking on their first longe-line ride. Experienced straphangers will work on enhancing their skills, mastering the maneuvers of dressage horses or leaping over 20 burning busses.
Hotel guests don't often get free hugs and head-pats from the staff during their stay. That service is unique to Meadowlake Pet Resort. Helmed by a team of experienced animal enthusiasts, the pet hotel cares for dogs and cats with private, climate-controlled suites and a panoply of animal-friendly activities. Canines and felines alike get to spend the night in rooms and condos outfitted with amenities such as high windows for natural light, flat-screen TVs and outdoor patios, and soothing music as each pet dreams about finally chasing down that mail carrier.
The resort's specially trained staff escort dogs outside, where they can play on four acres of green space, walk down nature paths, and dip in an outdoor diving pool. Cats, meanwhile, are set free to frolic or lounge in a screened-in porch with tiered climbing platforms and a selection of fine toys. These staff members also perform healthcare services such as daily five-point wellness checks, and they monitor daily feedings using NutriSource Super Premium food. To keep suites clean, staff scour each room with hospital-grade cleaning systems. To keep pets clean, they lather coats with specialty shampoos at an on-site pet spa.
The crew at Pet Paradise coddles both overnight and daytime critter clients in a resort-like enclave with private quarters, sumptuous bedding and toys, and plenty of amenities. Canines revel in the sun-baked lawn surrounding a doggie-bone-shaped swimming pool before cooling humid hides with a refreshing dip. Supervised group playtime gives dogs a chance to find an alto for their moon-serenading choir, and outdoor walks allow for sightseeing and exercise. Pooped pooches relish alone time in indoor/outdoor suites, and kitties retire to a felines-only wing of the resort where soft-playing music relieves the stresses of a long day of napping, stretching, and napping.