Dogs romp around 7,500 square feet of cushioned rubber flooring, nuzzling with new friends and learning off-leash etiquette like every toddler eventually must. This is the scene at Performance Plus K9 Activity Center during its Perfect Pups pet obedience course, a seven-week program that teaches pooches aged 8–18 weeks how to respond to easy commands and respect owners' homes. It's just one of the obedience courses that the dog-loving staff at Performance Plus offer—they also provide classes in competition obedience and agility. Plus, they recently added new services including grooming and boarding, so pups can stay all day.
For more than 20 years, professional dog groomer Linda has kept her canine clients’ fur healthy and neat with a number of services and treatments. Linda's standard grooming services clean pups from nose to tail, as she shampoos fur, clips nails, and cleans ears. During full grooming services, Linda trims fur with hand scissoring techniques specific to each breed.
This specialized kitty and doggie depot is a one-stop shop for all pet needs, including standard toys and treats, and an impressive selection of unusual merchandise. The stocked shelves include more than 200 stylish collars (many for $19.99), lovely leads ($19.99), and decorative bowls for dogs and cats (starting at $10.99).
Mocha’s Pet Salon, named after the owner’s dog, operates under the philosophy that pets should be groomed in a place that’s as relaxing and stress-free as home. The salon’s team strives to build a cozy environment where pooches feel comfortable while they’re getting bathed, trimmed, cleaned, and pampered with oatmeal treatments. As a result, dogs of all shapes and sizes prance out of the salon’s two locations looking, feeling, and smelling like a million bucks.
Bentley is a poodle–shih tzu mix with hair flowing down the floor. His distrust of strangers was so intense that he couldn't even go into a PetSmart without getting kicked out. The same story applied to Brodie, a rescued poodle, who snapped at every groomer he ever had. But because she was a certified trainer before becoming a groomer, Mandi Gorton could read their signals and knew when they just needed to chill out and when they needed to know they were safe. Now the two dogs are among the most well-behaved clients of The Green Paw Spa. As Gorton observes, dogs—like people—are just more agreeable when they know cookies and massages are coming.
When Gorton describes The Green Paw Spa as a "holistic pet salon," she means every word. Each appointment begins with Gorton bringing the furry client to a relaxed state. Then she starts pampering with organic, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners. Her own dog, a border collie mix named Wamba, has allergies so intense that just the air of a traditional grooming salon causes her to break out in hives. So to help keep her and all dogs healthy, Gorton bans harsh chemicals from the spa, right down to the furniture, which is made of recycled materials. In fact, the South Bark blueberry facial she uses is so pure that it's edible, which probably explains why most dogs don't mind having it worked into their snouts. Further eco-friendly touches include a bathing system that uses approximately 2 gallons of water to wash a dog, compared to the 10–15 gallons used by traditional baths, and a pet taxi that carpools companions back and forth from their homes to save owners gas and let dogs brag to their friends about having a chauffer.
Sweet Meadow Farm is not just a kid-friendly equestrian center. Sure, their experienced instructors lead private and group horseback-riding lessons year-round, but the farm also houses an interactive barnyard zoo. Their menagerie of domestic and exotic animals ranges from miniature horses and potbelly pigs to peacocks and kangaroos. Sweet Meadow Farm hosts birthday parties, too, during which kids can meet new critter friends inside the air-conditioned barn and make up secret handshakes that do not require opposable thumbs.