Baked goods pile high in white dishes or on tiered glass trays, and are sprinkled with colorful crystals imbued with the flavors of peanut butter, pumpkin, and more. Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming's treats please the palates of canines, rather than their human counterparts. Bags of gourmet pet food, toys, and other supplies dedicated to pooch owning sit neatly arranged on evenly spaced racks throughout the store's pastel and stone interior. In the back, a dedicated grooming area—staffed by an equally dedicated groomer—provides an area for owners to pamper their pets with a full wash, and owners can even perform the duties themselves at the self-service station, with the staff cleaning up afterwards.
Soap bubbles float through the air as dogs try to outdo each other by catching them between their teeth. Meanwhile, their comrades bound up playground slides and race across artificial turf. At Dog Holiday Resort, the staff aims to keep its daycare and boarding charges active throughout the day with these types of energy-busting activities. The dogs spend most of the day socializing in one of the play yards with like-minded pups. They chase balls thrown by an automatic machine and cool off in dog-sized pools as attentive staff members keep a close watch. Dogs who are less active due to age or temperament can cuddle with staff members on sofas in the lounge. Meanwhile, cats get similar treatment in their own sanctuary, preening under one-on-one attention from staff. As pets enjoy themselves, owners can check in on their canine or feline charges via webcam. Additionally, the center offers training classes, during which dog owners learn to influence their pooches with basic commands such as "sit," "stay," and "give me back my shoe." Both training sessions and grooming appointments can be arranged during daycare or boarding, so that dogs look and act their best when they are reunited with their owners.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Wake County was originally founded in 1969 to transform the region into a humane area where every animal could find a home. Today, it works toward this goal by sheltering and securing the adoption of more than 3,000 animals every year and providing lost-and-found services for missing pets. The organization also supports pet owners with classes to help them care for their animals and addresses the problem of overpopulation through catch-and-release spay or neuter programs.
Brier Creek Pet Hotel proprietor Lisa Sarvas is a veterinarian who also breeds and shows dogs. The pet hotel—which offers both daycare and boarding—is an extension of her love for animals.
Daycare charges enjoy several indoor or outdoor play periods, either in groups or one-on-one with staff members. Overnight guests bunk down in private suites with access to a covered outdoor run; upgrades include elevated beds, televisions, and exclusive exercise space. There's also a groomer on staff to make sure dogs look their best for any upcoming dates with fire hydrants.
Geneticist Dr. Michael Bleyman founded Carolina Tiger Rescue in the 1970s as a breeding sanctuary for large carnivores whose habitats had become unsafe. Its original intent was to protect wild species that were crucial to the survival of particular ecosystems, sustaining the populations until their home habitats were protected enough to support them without risk. Today, the organization protects wild cats in captivity and in nature by providing homes for abandoned or neglected cats, raising awareness about the threats to these animals, and assisting with conservation efforts in rainforests and wild habitats. Carolina Tiger Rescue currently houses more than 70 carnivores, including tigers, black leopards, ocelots, caracals, servals, and kinkajous. Many of the facility's residents have been rescued from dangerous situations in urban spaces and private breeding facilities. Now they have a lifelong home in re-created natural habitats.
Pup's Day Out makes visits especially cozy by providing extra attention, belly rubs, and games of fetch free of charge. Spread out across 7,000 square feet of space, the locally owned facility features no crates or kennels, granting dogs the liberty to run about with their friends under the surveillance of a pooch-loving staff. That same staff also provides various grooming services right on site, including haircuts, baths, and nail trimming.