Though she had been an avid rider since she was a little girl, Amy Smith of Willow Run Farm didn’t find her true calling as an equestrian until she turned 20. It was at this age that she began a job at a rehabilitation center, where she took a hands-on role in caring for horses in need and nursing them back to health. Amy quickly adopted a holistic approach to horsemanship, a passion that continues to enrich her career. Today, Amy teaches her students the whole spectrum of caring for horses, everything from grooming to horse health and safety—as opposed to focusing solely on riding techniques or hair-spraying the horse’s mane into a mohawk. Above all, Amy instills responsibility, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment in each of her riders.
The staff of canine lovers behind Piper's Playhouse elevates the typical kennel experience, fostering an atmosphere that encourages dogs to socialize, play, and feel as comfortable as they would if they were still at home. Four-legged lodgers are divided into two groups—one for larger and more energetic dogs, and the other for smaller, senior, and bookworm dogs. Each group gets its own spacious room fortified with toys and cushy beds, and the staff rotates groups outside for bathroom breaks and fresh-air romps. In addition to group playtime, each dog gets a bit of one-on-one time with Piper's companion humans. Further services include grooming and overnight boarding, giving dogs a place to stay any night of the year. All canines are welcome, provided they are nonaggressive, spayed or neutered, and have all required vaccinations, which are listed on Piper's Playhouse's FAQ page.
For those seeking to spruce up appearances without surgery, Infinity Med-I-Spa's options are?true to the company's name?virtually infinite. For one, there are its numerous aesthetic lasers, which can remove hair, wrinkles, spider veins, tattoos, and a range of other blemishes quickly and effectively. Facial treatments use Skin Medica products, a skincare line from the makers of Botox and Juvederm, and range from classic microdermabrasion to cutting-edge services such as the VI Peel and the Jet Peel that rid pores of impurities and smooth over signs of aging. Meanwhile medical weight loss services help clients shed inches with meal replacement shakes, medications, and vitamin injections. Beyond enhancing the outside, the med-spa also helps clients feel better on the inside.
The FAA–certified instructors at Wesson Aviation instill safe-flying habits in budding aviators, whether their aim is to casually jaunt through the clouds or to pursue a license for flying a plane, helicopter, or really large, specially folded piece of paper. No matter their aerial pursuit, pilots learn on modern and well-maintained equipment. The Bell Jet Ranger helicopter has flown about 1,400 hours and spoils students with modern avionic equipment, such as a Garmin GPS, radar altimeter, and heating and air conditioning—creature comforts to revel in when playing long hide-and-seek games with a stealth bomber. Students can also work toward their FAA pilot certification for private, commercial, or instructor flight at more than 200 miles per hour aboard the outfit’s twin-engine Beechcraft Baron airplane.:
The National Animal Control Association–certified staff at Planet Doggiewood utilize specialty pet-care products and state-of-the-art equipment such as waist-high tubs with gentle restraints, vet-grade disinfectants, and temperature-controlled water for grooming and bathing services. Those who wish to give their nonhuman best friend a quick bath outside the delicate confines of their Faberge-egg-stocked home can opt for the self-service pet wash (a $12 value), which leaves the cleanup to Planet Doggiewood's merry band of dog and cat whisperers. Precise handheld sprayers as well as aprons and sleeve protectors help owners stay dry, and tearless shampoos and conditioners moisten pet pelts without discomfort or awkwardly emotional moments. DIY villus revamping can be executed with professional grooming equipment such as a grooming table, pet-specific brushes and combs, and a high-velocity dryer.
Standard Furniture traces its origins back to 1912, when a local family began traveling through Birmingham, peddling fine household furniture out of a wagon. Four generations later, the business has blossomed into 13 retail stores throughout Alabama and Tennessee, and its century-long commitment to quality furniture and customer service won it the Alabama Retail Association’s Silver Award as one of the Retailers of the Year in 2011. Each gallery abounds with bedroom, living-room, and dining-room furniture from top designers such as Lane, along with mattresses in a range of shapes and styles from brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, and Jamison. At each location, a knowledgeable staff awaits to offer design counsel, suggesting pieces that best suit a household’s style or will hold up against a disobedient pet woodchuck.