Watch My Wag, LLC is more than just a place for dogs to play while their parents are away. Because it was designed and supervised by a dog behaviorist, the pup-focused facility delivers a therapeutic experience that hosts structured play sessions and helps younger pups adopt good habits and shake the bad ones.
Older canines get some time to socialize with spirited youngsters, during which they can play, run, and jump with their new hard-to-tire friends. Over the course of playtime, youngsters watch their more mature companions to pick up proper doggy etiquette and the best tricks to convince owners to hand over some bacon during Sunday brunch.
Private training sessions help pawed pupils ditch bad habits and adopt good ones, from not chewing on furniture to how to create Excel spreadsheets should they ever grow opposable thumbs. When the sunsets and playtime ends, pups staying overnight retire to a private suite, where high-quality dog food and a comfortable bed await them.
Lessons at Thalia Farm presents a nurturing, safe, and fun environment where students can learn to become well-rounded horseback riders through lessons, summer camps, and after-school programs. Specializing in dressage and three-day eventing from the balanced, versatile seat of English equitation, instructors use riding as a conduit for instilling leadership skills, responsibility, safety, and discipline. Lessons incorporate jumping and basic flatwork, as well as handling and grooming trained lesson horses. Students also learn how to tack and untack their mounts without help from the instructor or the talking horse in the next stall.
Training riders and horses is a family affair at Chapel Ridge Farm, where members of the Bennett family draw from more than 75 years of combined equestrian boarding, training, showing, and sales experience. Owner and head trainer Meagan Bennett takes the reins of each riding class, teaching students how to improve their horsemanship, from basic horse care to fine-tuning their jumping skills for AA competitions. While Meagan is out with students, her mother and one-time state equestrian team coach, Linda Bennett, handles day-to-day operations at the farm. Tom Bennett, Meagan’s father, also helps out and is often available to help transport horses between Chapel Ridge Farm and other equestrian centers to save steeds the aggravation of hitchhiking without thumbs.
If the vet tech checking out the family dog is wearing a tiara, visitors to Lake Pine Animal Hospital shouldn't bat an eye. This tiara is proudly worn by the employee of the month, and is just part of the fun the staff has from day to day. Though the veterinary crew likes to laugh, they take each pet’s health very seriously.
They care for dogs, cats, reptiles, and small mammals with wellness services including comprehensive checkups and vaccinations, and more involved procedures such as surgery and radiology. They also bathe and groom furry friends, and board them while their owners are away or in hibernation.
At first glance, Fullwood Animal Hospital might look like a hospital for humans. Only diminutive treatment tables and a row of boarding cages hint that its pristine, professional spaces are actually for healing pets. The hospital boasts all equipment necessary to diagnose and treat animals: an X-ray, ECG machine, a surgical suite with anesthesia. There's even a lab on-site, so some basics parasite and urinalysis tests can undergo analysis quickly.
In 2005, Karen McCombs left the corporate world. It was a big decision, but she had a simple reason: "I just decided I wanted to play with dogs," she says. Today, two of her sons work at the original All Wags location in Charlotte, and she and another son have headed out to open All Wags Doggie Daycare and Boarding North in Harrisburg. They've painted the 9,000 square feet of indoor play space with colorful canine murals, but there's also plenty of room outdoors for a dog to play ball, leap into kiddie pools, or plant its owner's flag on the peaks of plastic playground equipment.
The staff takes the time to get to know each dog, from their names to what they like and what they're scared of—and Karen says the dogs are excited to come in and play. She makes sure the staff ratio stays at about 10 dogs to 1 staff member during doggy daycare so that pooches get plenty of attention and exercise. Except for a two-hour rest period, the dogs are out and about the entire time, rather than being cooped up alone at home or made to sit in a cage and nibble listlessly on homework. "It's just a fun, exhausting day for [the dogs]," she says. "They go home and they're very tired." Dogs who are staying the night play with daycare dogs during the day, then retire to 4'x8' kennels with heating and cooling. To make sure everyone's safe, all supervisors are certified in pet first aid by the American Red Cross and have been endorsed by multiple doggy-sniff committees.
For Karen, working with her canine customers has been rewarding, and she knows their human owners appreciate the time she and her staff take to get to know their dogs and individuals. "Everybody's just so happy and ready to see you. It's not like that in the corporate world anymore," she says.