Featherbrook Farm's head trainer and instructor Lisa Avaloz draws upon a lifetime of equine experience and an international network of colleagues. The farm fosters interspecies cooperation through lessons, camps, and birthday parties. Riding lessons instill in young riders the importance of grooming, form, and confidence, rewarding proper handling skills with positive reinforcement. Beginning students start on a lunge line to improve their positioning, strengthen their seat, and gain a feel for their horse. Safety remains of utmost importance throughout the lesson. All students must wear helmets while riding and avoid giving horses celebratory piggyback rides after completing a session.
Featherbrook Farm conducts weekly camps from June to August for 6–14 youngsters at a time. Campers ride twice each day and establish a solid foundation of horsemanship through grooming, first aid, and studying horse anatomy. In addition to education, fun and excitement abound as children play games and make crafts with new friends.
Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
In a facility with 14,000 square feet of romping room, Dog Days' trained staff monitors fun, friendly play among pooches. In addition to grooming and training pups, the staff also oversees daycare quarters comprised of climate-controlled indoor areas and an outdoor playground ringed with secured fencing. Canines undergo testing for temperament and vocabulary before being divvied up into separate groups according to size. Once at play, they share Kong toys, tennis balls, and colorful playground equipment.
After recreation eats up waking hours, boarded pooches snuggle into comfy suites named for European and tropical getaway locales. Each room has a cozy bed that's cleaned regularly. Staffers also wipe down toys, play equipment, and bowls every night with cleaning solution to ensure a safe, healthy environment for their four-legged guests.
The veterinarians at St. Paul Pet Hospital treat pets as if they were their own—they happily make house calls, use state-of-the-art diagnostic technology, and even pick up and drop off animals at the hospital. In the office, they perform spaying and neutering, vaccines, and microchip implantations in clean treatment rooms, with separate facilities for cats and dogs. Their operating theater, meanwhile, has all of the medical technologies of a traditional hospital, including digital x-rays, precise electrosurgical equipment, and time machines.