The Dude Ranch Pet Resort’s “next-generation facility” is the culmination of five years of research and consulting with pet-care professionals and dog owners. Situated on 47 acres of picturesque landscape—including fields, lakes, and forests—the resort eschews cinder blocks and chain-link fences for climate-controlled, stainless-steel villas that won’t attract mold or bacteria. At daycare, charges romp across 15,000 square feet of outdoor play yards that feature double trapdoors. Overnight guests bunk on platform beds in private suites or deluxe villas, surrounded by soothing background music and continuously filtered air. Cats, too, are welcome to rest in their own exclusive area replete with nail scratchers and catnip toys. While pets snooze, the staff remains on duty, walking the halls to ensure dogs are safe and not staying up too late telling ghost stories. The resort also offers grooming sessions and training classes that range from basic obedience to dog-show skills.
While away on vacation, pet owners imagine their four-legged charges wagging their tails contentedly when they are under the care of Paws and Claws Pet Services. The owner-operator draws from 30 years of animal experience when tailoring pet-sitting services to clients’ needs. Besides fulfilling basic pet needs such as food, water, exercise, and allowing them time to watch Face the Nation, sitters bathe pets, escort them to the vet or groomer, and clean up waste in the yard or litter box. They also turn lights on and off and collect mail to give the impression that someone is home. In line with their commitment to animal welfare, the staff donates 5% of the company's income to the Richmond Animal League for homeless dogs and cats.
After she studied the art of pet styling with International Professional Groomers, Inc., Kathi Johnson spent the next 20 years training, grooming, and showing canine champions on the national circuit. After amassing more ribbons than she could fit in one doghouse, she opened Blue Ribbon Pet Styling. There, Kathi continues to make pooches prim and proper, specializing in hairdos for Marquis Standard Poodles.
Backed by an armory of natural shampoos and soaps, the groomers at Shampooches Salon & Spaw untangle and trim coats, leaving pups to strut out in a well-groomed parade with tongues lolling happily. Flea and tick treatments keep pests at bay, and trimming around the ears leaves pooches ready to listen for the sounds of other dogs barking or coaches discovering loopholes that allow canines in the league.
To say that Far Fetched Tales' head trainer, Pamela, has a way with animals would be a major understatement. Her 30 years of experience include time spent working on a farm and showing and training horses, and her own prized corgis, Harley and Jo Dee have won seven national titles combined. Throughout her career, Pamela has helped well-meaning dogs overcome a variety of behavioral issues, from jumping and chewing to separation anxiety and poker addictions, using techniques that focus on positive reinforcement. Beyond training neighborhood pooches to sit and stay, Pamela also offers agility training for pets and owners who are interested in qualifying for competitions, as well as pet sitting and training for service and therapy dogs.