Heather Brooks plays with dogs for a living. The results of these puppy-fests can be seen in her portfolio of candid portraits that capture each pooch's unique personality. After honing her photographic craft on human families, Heather decided to launch Pupparazzi, carting her equipment to canines' natural habitats to snap up-close and personal puppy pics in black and white and full color. Heather knows all the tricks of the trade, like eschewing flash for natural light and shooting under a tree for the kind of soft light that brings out a pup's true eye color. Her telephoto lenses and fast shutter settings are able to capture the quick flick of a puppy's tail or the moment before a dog realizes that the Frisbee he's about to catch is actually a miniature UFO. Heather snaps her shutter for cats and other animals, too, and when the flashbulb frenzy comes to a close, pet owners can decorate their homes and bodies with fine-art prints and custom jewelry featuring their furry friend's face.
At A-V.I.P. Pet Resort, founder, avid dog trainer, and breeder Kurt Williams is never far from his canine boarders. That's because he and his family live on the premises. This enables him to supervise animals beyond business hours, and his four children enjoy giving the critters attention when the professional groomers and behaviorists are in hibernation.
During the day, Williams's crew administers prescription medicine at indicated hours and also follows specific diet requests during meal times. His pet guests reside in private suites with plush bedding and television screens. Twice daily, the trainers bring any social dogs into a large outdoor play arena to sniff, socialize, and discuss articles from the morning edition of the squeaky newspaper. Williams maintains a comfortable temperature at all times at the resort, with air conditioning during the summer and heated floors during winter months.
Doggie District Pet Resort treats canines not as pets, but as welcomed guests of its boarding and grooming facility that doubles as an oversized doghouse. A groomer with over 20 years of experience can snip and style canine hair in a calm, spa-like environment. During overnight stays, dogs relax on personal beds and enjoy the comforts of home with their favorite toys or pinup calendars of giant bones. Four-legged friends can roam safely in the 10,000-square-foot outdoor play area, where a closed-circuit camera system that monitors the lot at all times.
Poop Magician's uniformed technicians have scooped canine waste for more than 15 years. Each week, crews scoop grass clean of all waste before hauling their cargo away, taking pains to secure gates and preserve the dignity of lawn-flamingo arrangements. Dogs may be present in yards at the time of cleaning, though customers are welcome to be out attending biweekly wood-whittling classes as per usual.
The expert instructors at Talisman Farm introduce students to european classical riding techniques such as dressage and show jumping following a curriculum designed by Will Faerber, a decorated show rider who studied extensively in Portugal with dressage master Nuno Oliveira. Faerber's training philosophy focuses on training horse and rider to act as one, showing absolute poise and balance whether they're hurdling a 5-foot fence or trotting through a booby-trapped house. Private lessons in the 5-acre equestrian center focus on the fundamentals of dressage riding and show jumping, beginning with appreciating each horse’s biomechanics so that students can ride them properly. The professional instructors are willing to work one-on-one with students of all skill levels to help them improve their riding skills. The outfit takes the same approach to jumping and vaulting lessons, which are held in the arena and geared toward preparing students for participation in horse shows.
Pets are more than just animals, they’re members of the family. Along with that belief comes a certain attitude that the pet lovers at Shaggy Chic love to indulge. Kelly Petersen, the founder of Shaggy Chic, takes great pride in pampering her pets, though it has sometimes brought her judgment and scrutiny.
But take a look around her salon, and it doesn’t appear that judgmental eyes have affected Kelly one bit. She and her staff lovingly primp pups and other pets with a signature line of paraben-free shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, and fur fresheners, all of which are made in the United States from natural ingredients. In the salon, they groom pets with services that include baths, fur blowouts, nail trims, and ear cleaning. They can also spruce up furry friends with additional services such as teeth brushing, blueberry facials, and pawdicures that include paw-pad massages and nail polish.