The scene is a familiar one: hotel guests lounge beside the outdoor pool as staff members filter around, offering refreshments or collecting clients for a spa treatment. However, at Pet Paradise, the pool is bone shaped and all the guests are dogs. This luxurious scene is one cat and dog owners can find at this boarding and daycare facility that has been owner Fred Goldsmith's pride and joy for a decade. The animal lover was inspired to start his own pet hotel when he simply couldn’t find a place he was comfortable leaving his bichon frise when he went on vacation.
Fred made Pet Paradise to his exact specifications, and the pet hotel's amenities reflect the loving care he lavishes on his own beloved pup. Dogs and cats can luxuriate in spa-quality grooming treatments or burn off some energy during group playtime. In the evening, pets can settle into plush bedding and feel safe knowing that the dedicated live-in staff resides just a bark away. Nocturnal kitties spend the night exploring their own private six-level cat condos while gentle spa music fills the air to keep them entertained. In case of any emergencies, Pet Paradise keeps veterinarians on-call, and in the event of a snack emergency, each staff member is a certified bacon cook.
Blake “Top Dogg” Rashad has spent more than 30 years earning his nickname. At age 12, Blake began training neighborhood dogs, a talent that would later lead him to prep military pooches for action during his enlistment in the Army. After his time in the service, Rashad joined the Atlanta police force to train crime-fighting canines.
Today, the expert in dog behavior hosts a weekly Internet radio show about dog behavior, local pet businesses, and canine-related news—playfully called “You Talk I Bark”—and also heads up Top Dogg K-9 Academy. At the academy, Rashad teaches dog owners the training techniques he has accumulated over the past three decades. Pooches leave six- or eight-week courses with a better understanding of how to communicate their needs to owners, and owners leave with dogs that respond quickly to commands such as “heel” and “drop my wedding ring.”
Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption (APRA) rescues and rehabilitates cats and dogs that have been neglected or abandoned. Since its inception, the volunteer-based, no-kill shelter has rescued more than 15,200 animals, providing them with essential care and affection. Staff members test the animals for temperament and treat any curable medical conditions; animals with special needs are sent to foster homes where they can receive ongoing treatment. Through APRA’s enrichment program, the staff provides positive reinforcement as cat and dogs socialize in communal spaces with outdoor access—helping make transitions to forever homes as seamless as possible.
Marcia and Jim Wentzell have been serving the Cobb County animal community for more than 15 years, working with rescue groups, homeless dogs, and family pets. Jim graduated as a certified obedience trainer in 1998, and then went on to serve as the president of the Georgia Network of Professional Petsitters until 2002. In 2005, he and Marcia opened A Passion For Pets Daycare and Grooming, where they offer grooming, training, daycare, and cage-free sleepovers for dogs.
During daycare, dogs romp, run, and work out four-part howling harmonies on a full acre of open-play space. Four-legged guests that are spending the night also roam freely thanks to cage-free sleepovers with overnight human companionship. At the full-service salon, staffers primp dogs with full bath and spa treatments that include services such as gum massages and even blueberry facials. The onsite Doggy-Liscious Bake Shop provides yummy pet treats such as cupcakes or banana biscotti, and the store also sells natural and holistic pet foods. A Passion for Pets also specializes in agility training and in-home petsitting.
Town and Country Veterinary Clinic understands that pet owners are passionate about the health and wellbeing of their furry, feathery, or scaly family members, so they provide compassionate care and employ the latest technologies. Originally founded by Dr. Michael Good—who was eventually joined by his son, Dr. Phil Good, as well as a roster of fellow veterinarians—the practice has grown over the last several decades, and it now boasts locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. The team members help preserve animals' health by performing everything from routine checkups to necessary surgeries, such as applying a leg cast to a Labrador or offering wrinkle cream to a Shar-Pei. They utilize x-rays, ultrasounds, and other cutting edge diagnostic technologies as they attentively treat each pet as if it were one of their own. Beyond clinical appointments, the practice offers grooming and boarding services, placing animals under the watchful supervision of passionate caregivers while owners are away.
Ryan Garner always felt a connection with horses, but he felt an equally strong disconnect with many of the equestrian world’s traditional, intimidation-filled training methods. Instead of ignoring his concerns, the lifelong horse enthusiast began studying natural horsemanship, a method that encourages equine obedience through gentle rider-horse communication both in the barn and on a ride. Now, at RG Horsemanship, Garner shares his mission of trust, leadership, and communication during horseback-riding lessons for up to four participants. Through patient instruction, he helps students connect with their equine counterparts via body language and facial expressions, which ultimately instills confidence in the rider.