At this four-facility network of locally owned animal hospitals, veterinarians—including Dr. Jill Urofsky and Dr. Raymond P. Bouloy—shower clients' animal pals with the same care and attention they give their own pets. Each clinic's team sees to its furry, four-legged clientele with general practices ranging from checkups to teeth cleaning, as well as more specialized services such as microchipping. Some locations boast boarding and grooming facilities, and each practice's staff either offers or can coordinate emergency care.
Behind the glass-paneled bakery case at Doggie Deli & Spa, baked bones and confections get canines salivating in the grand tradition of Pavlov's bell. Natural treats from Bark Stix, Whole Life, and Stella & Chewy's share shop space with collars, leashes, and toys, as well as a carefully curated selection of dog food so delicious pups will have to teach their humans not to beg. The spa half of the shop welcomes pooches and their owners for self-service washes powered by an assortment of shampoos, sprayers, and a high-velocity dryer.
Papa G’s menu of pizza and Italian fare packs more hearty goodness onto each page than Abe Lincoln had money packed into his top hat. Preheat your mouth oven with mozzarella sticks ($3.99 for a half order) before letting it decoct the Big Papa pizza, which is stacked with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, ripe olives, onions, and green peppers ($19.99 for a large). For those who would rather choose their own pie toppers, Papa G’s has a list of more than 10 options, which includes zucchini, spinach, anchovies, and Canadian bacon—the bacon that only grows above the border. Classic Italian delights include lasagna ($10.49), eggplant parmesan ($8.99), and fettuccini alfredo ($9.99 with breaded chicken).
The zookeepers and storytellers at Tiny Tails to You! travel from town to town to organize pop-up petting zoos four days a week, and lease out hands-on learning experiences for festivals, summer camps, and private parties. What beasts turn up at these parties is up to the customer, who might arrange for anything from an avalanche of fluffy bunnies and baby birds to an encampment of chinchillas, hedgehogs, leopard geckos, and tortoises. The staff's love for animals extends beyond informative show-and-tells—head zookeeper Ed Bradfield offers pet-sitting services for dogs, cats, exotic pets, and house-trained rocks, and the zookeepers are nearly always offering baby bunnies for adoption.
Horsemanship isn't just about strapping on a saddle and shouting, "Go horsey!" It's an art form bonding human and equine in which technique and finesse overpower instinct. Following her passion for horse-powered performance from Southern California to the pastures of Spicewood, expert trainer Liz Peltola has instructed hundreds of students in the ways of English and Western riding for 17 years. In the well-lit, covered training arena or outdoor lesson paddock at Briarcliff Performance Horses, all ages and experience levels learn the ropes on kid-friendly horses, including breeds such as Paints, Pintos, and Quarter Horses. In lessons for both casual and competitive riders, individuals learn a range of horsemanship styles, including the slow gait of "western pleasure" and the quick flowing strides of "hunter under saddle."