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.
At Lucky Dog Pet Lodge, experienced and caring dog lovers supervise playtime and pampering services across 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Paws tear into an 18,000-square-foot outdoor yard or clomp across a 7,000-square-foot indoor space as dogs wrestle with fellow canines and chase new furry friends. Automatic watering stations constantly circulate fresh water for tongues to lap, and an air-exchange system continuously circulates fresh air throughout the center. Dogs preferring rest, solitude, or the Politics section of the New York Times can find sanctuary in quiet areas of the center, spending one-on-one time with the staff. Owners can also treat their four-legged companions to Lucky Dog's boarding services, which include 10 hours of daycare per day and private suites furnished with fresh blankets and cushy Kuranda dog beds.Groomers scrub pups and seasoned trainers practice behavior modification, teaching canines to sit, stay, and answer phones in a British accent. All doggy emergencies are handled in the capable care of staff members trained in dog-specific first aid and CPR.
In 1874, English immigrants John and Eliza Ames saddled their percheron draft horses and ventured westward from the Atlantic shore. They settled a plot on the Minnesota countryside and their horses grew strong there, roaming 500 acres of grassy fields. Today, the Ames family continues to care for the breed at Cedar Ridge Arabians, Inc., leading many of their full- and half-arabian horses to class A competitions and earning the Breeder of the Year designation from the Arabian Professional & Amateur Horseman's Association in 2011. In addition to raising horses, the trainers guide riding students with lessons that include tacking, untacking, cooling down, and selecting suitable bedtime stories for each horse.
With seven play areas, walking trails in a nature preserve, and a 24,000-square-foot luxury hotel, it's a wonder that any dog would want to leave Adogo Pet Hotel. Canines at daycare romp in one of two indoor and five outdoor play areas, each with umbrellas, water fountains, and specialized turf designed just for dogs. Meanwhile, trainer Cassia Drake calls on more than 20 years of experience to lead group classes ranging from puppy socialization to agility training in order to maintain manners and teach that mail carriers are the glue that binds any democratic nation. But overnight boarders may have the best treat of all—they get to spend the night in one of 93 upscale rooms and private suites overseen by a service-oriented staff. Before heading to bed, residents might visit the spa for a mani-pedi and a blueberry facial—an ideal way to forget the day's stresses. Webcams allow pet parents to watch what's going on inside, and a cutting-edge centralized cleaning system keeps the place tidy.
This highly sophisticated pet hotel is the vision of president and lifelong dog lover John Sturgess. Having spent more than 20 years as a leading hotel-industry executive, Sturgess knows a thing or two about giving guests the red-carpet treatment. As reported on KARE 11 News, Sturgess "grew the Country Inn & Suites brand by more than 300%," and now offers canines the same service and quality "you would expect at a four- and five-star hotel for humans." His combined passion for people and their four-legged friends earned him the Twin West Chamber Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012, and also inspired him to work with Make-A-Wish Minnesota to provide a lifetime of complimentary boarding services for the new golden retriever of a boy with epilepsy, according to Minnetonka Patch.