It's fair to say that the desire to work with animals is in Jennifer-Lee Wilson's blood. She started young, watching her father tend to animals and their owners in the family's pet store. Then in 1998, she opened A Lucky Dog. Here, she leads obedience training classes that inspire owners to encourage their pets to sit, come, and stay with rewards such as treats and toys. As a certified dog trainer and animal behaviorist, she's found that positive reinforcement is the best way to teach a dog proper behavior— whether he's in a park full of rambunctious puppies or at a Texas hold 'em tournament and has just gone all in.
Jennifer and her dog-loving staff also provide doggie day care and handle pet sitting duties. Unlike typical boarding facilities, they actually come out to pet owners' homes to feed and walk their four-legged charges. They go this extra mile, both figuratively and literally, so that the animals can stay in familiar, stress-free surroundings.
Whether your dog needs a walk, your cat needs some cuddling, or your houseplants need water, Little Green Dog is there to lend a hand. The pet specialists cater their services to each individual animal, providing longer walks for energetic pups and shorter stints if the weather is bad. They also care for homes while owners are away, taking in mail and petting the gutters regularly.
Sacred Cross Horse Services founder Ashley Mason has transformed her extensive background in horseback riding and show jumping into a unique training program. At stables tucked away in redwood forests, students attend English-style riding lessons that focus on basic fundamentals such as grooming, tacking, and learning how to bond with horses. The lessons cater to students' individual needs and skill levels while simultaneously prioritizing their education and enjoyment. Sacred Cross also leads horse camps for children, as well as lessons designed to impart a sense of responsibility, teach empathy, and stop them from trying to lead the dog into a canter. Students are required to wear long pants and heeled shoes while riding.
When it comes to dogs, Elite Canine Daycare & Spa's owner Lisa has seen it all. Over the years she has shown dogs, trained dogs, and studied canine nutrition. At Elite Canine Daycare & Spa, she and her staff of stylists and trainers implement their diverse knowledge of dogs, pampering canines with grooming services and presiding over cage-free daycare facilities. Groomers tend to furry clientele in a calming environment outfitted with flameless candles and canine furniture designed to withstand frantic tail wagging. Pups relax with foamy bubble baths and vanilla blueberry facials or show off new breed-specific haircuts. Canine birthday parties give dogs a reason to cut loose seven times each year, devouring doggie birthday cakes and looking forward to doggie retirement.
Rick DuBois left a career in the cutthroat corporate world in favor of his current and more humane profession as the owner and resident "pack leader" at You Luckie Dog! The lifelong pooch aficionado brings more than 20 years of dog expertise—including a stint as a chow-chow breeder and trainer—to his canine daycare, boarding, and grooming spa. "Pretty much whatever a traditional kennel does, we do the opposite," says Rick, who personally groups his tenants into amiable playgroups according to size, temperament, and fastest time swimming the 300-meter dog paddle. The canine resort rejuvenates man’s best stressed friend with physical exercise and socialization, with stays ranging from day-long excursions to overnight boarding. The popular daycare service allows early morning drop-off and pickup as late as 8 p.m., and Rick makes a point of never smacking his customers with dollar-per-minute fees for late pickups. "I know what it's like to have meetings run long while people drone on. I want people to know I'm not trying to nickel-and-dime them."
Combining personal training with play-care, The Grateful Dog caters to canines with an active and stimulating schedule plus a 1:6 handler-to-dog ratio. Over the course of each 12-hour play-care session, day-tripping doggies will enjoy two to three walks, including jaunts to breezy Fort Mason, as well as one-on-one time with a trainer and play time with a handler. The Grateful Dog also pampers pups with organic treats, filtered water, and mini massages before letting them loose to run in circles and bark at invisible aliens free of guilt or any sense of propriety.