Although Sue Towler developed a steadfast work ethic during 24 years of service in the United States Air Force, it's her love of dogs that continues to bring out the best of her nature. Before opening The Barking Lot, where she and her staff of canine devotees lovingly provide dog boarding and daycare services, Sue started a home pet-sitting service and a no-kill animal shelter, both of which she still runs. At The Barking Lot, pooches frolic together on a grassy playground during playtime, monitored by the staff in case a debate about the president's dog's foreign-policy experience gets out of hand. At night, boarding pups settle into tiled suites and air-conditioned kennels.
Experienced dog trainer Richard Starks leads pups and their parents in weekly, one-hour obedience classes that pin-down bad behaviors and reward good habits. Furry friends learn basic behaviors alongside various breeds and robotic facsimiles in courses designed to make home life easier. Additionally, pet owners practice methods that curb canine urges to destroy furniture and leave empty milk cartons in the fridge. Richard's techniques reflect his experience with K-9 units as well as his lessons from trainers Matthew Margolis, an author and TV-show host, and Tom Rose, a veteran instructor of both dogs and dog trainers.
Gazing at potential owners from their temporary homes, Jacksonville Humane Society's dozens of friendly cats and dogs eagerly await adoption by a caring new family. Kittens, such as the 3-month old Tank, beg for coddling and playtime with their wide-eyed exuberance and miniature croquet sets, and adult and senior animals such as Yoshi, wizened in his eight years, lavishes steadfast companionship. To ensure potential pet owners are paired with a four-legged pal of appropriate temperament, the shelter's color-coded Meet Your Match personalized pet-matching service narrows down the adoptable field with a quick survey. Adopting an animal, like asking a potted fern to marry you, is an important life decision that should not be taken lightly, and it entails a slew of responsibilities and expenses. Each furry new chum will require a rabies tag ($20) (necessary for all animals in Duval County) and lifelong heartworm protection ($21–$30 per month).
Rest assured that your little wagger or whiskered companion is in good hands: Fetch!’s sitters are all professionally trained, undergo extensive background checks, are continuously monitored, and have their own little cuddlesome critters back at home. Fetch!’s private on-leash dog walks get your pooch fresh air when you’re stuck at the office playing business darts. Perfect for pups, matured mutts, or dogs that just want a little time to themselves, these 30-minute walks ($18 per outing, $23 if before 6:30 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m.) include waste cleanup, feeding, and home care if requested. Social snoutpals will appreciate the group dog exercise ($20 per outing) or the unleashed field trip, a group exercise adventure in an approved off-leash area ($20 per outing).
Wielding all-natural products and treatments that are free from harsh chemicals and detergents, the groomers at Love on a Leash primp pups of all sizes. Using botanical shampoos, they lovingly clean pets’ permanent fur coats, and perform additional services such as teeth brushing, nail clipping, and ear cleaning.
In addition to a 10-acre hiking trail and one-arce swimming lake, Dog Wood Park offers a 25-acre enclosed field that lets pooches free to shirk their leashes and gambol with other dogs. Here, a sand pit invites unchecked digging, trees offer ample shade, and two swimming ponds help canines cool off. Though the atmosphere is playful, the park does have a few rules to maintain a safe space for dogs, owners, and mailmen. Male dogs must be neutered, for instance, and all owners must show proof of their pooch’s rabies vaccination. To ensure clean coats and picturesque scenery, bag stations, trash cans, and bathing stations abound.
Take a stroll through Christine Wells’ yard, and you might forget momentarily that you’re not at a petting zoo—along with four dogs and a cat, she and her family also care for chickens and rabbits, which roam free in their yard. In addition to caring for her pets, Christine is certified as a pet groomer and trained in canine CPR and first aid. She harnesses all of her love, passion, and experience to run Rad Dog Pet Salon and Services. Her salon services include fur trims, hand scissoring, teeth cleaning, nail filing and polish, and medical shampoos.