The handlers at Iowa Reptile Rescue handle reptiles and amphibians with attentive foster care. While their reptilian guests vary, the shelter may house tokay geckos, bearded dragons, and russian tortoises, as well as the occasional orphaned rose-hair tarantula or a velociraptor who's burnt out after years of typecasting. Once animals are deemed ready for reentry into loving homes, the staff adds the animal to their list of current adoptables. To help fund their operation, the Iowa Reptile Rescue team organizes events, such as benefit concerts, and recruits the support of local business sponsors.
Founded in 1933, the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Iowa Junior Chamber of Commerce—or Jaycees—hones the leadership skills of its members through projects and programs that benefit the community. Once-a-month Sunday breakfasts bring locals together in the common pursuit of pancakes, and Uptown Friday Nights in Green Square Park are filled with music, food, and drinks. The Jaycees also fling wide the doors of its newly opened Jaycee Center to renters for conferences, parties, wedding receptions, and driving-school-class reunions.
At Matthias Arabians, seasoned horse trainers Leon, Lon, and Kim Matthias teach visitors the art of steed steering in a scenic setting. In one-hour riding lessons, students of varying equine aptitude can take the reins of safe learning mounts, absorbing instructors' wisdom until their horses glide over terrain as smoothly as refurbished hovercrafts. Topics covered may range from horse-care fundamentals to proper discipline or mastering a stately trot, but all are presented with expertise and a sense of humor.
Carolyn Schmitz at Destination Massage & Spa practices massage therapy to complement the staff’s aesthetic services. She can soothe sore flexors and impart a sense of calm during sessions that take as long as a leisurely crabwalk from one end of Rhode Island to the other—60 or 90 minutes. If her clients want services to complement a relaxing massage, Carolyn can direct them to hairstylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists.
Donna Manchester’s favorite part of business is something that’s often overlooked these days: old-fashioned social interaction. Donna talks with customers about their lives, their pets, and their tastes. She also shares her knowledge with them during obedience courses. With more than 25 years of experience teaching dogs to sit, roll over, and stop filling out the newspaper’s crossword puzzles, Donna acts as a local dog whisperer, passing along her tips to pet owners.
Dog Days & Cat Naps maintains a welcoming environment where pets can feel safe and secure while away from home. The knowledgable staff watches over dogs, cats, birds, and other animals of all sizes with its boarding service and offers half-day and full-day daycare options. It also keeps pets clean with various bathing packages, some of which include care for nails, ears, and glands.