With 35 years of experience under his belt, Hugh White of Hugh White Training Stables and fellow equestrian Jody Werner impart horse-whispering skills to riders of all levels during fun, expertly taught lessons. After one to three students saddle up, experienced instructors draw on classical training methods to teach basic, intermediate, or advanced skills. Horses paw at yellow sand in huge arenas or leap over jumps in outdoor fields as students trot, cantor, jump, or arrange their mounts in My Little Pony–inspired tableaus.
Fit 'N' Furry Pet Resort pampers dogs and cats with day and nighttime pet-lodging services in a safe, spacious, certified-green facility. Basic overnight care for dogs (a $29–$41 value/night depending on size) and cats (a $21–$24 value/night) houses wee loved ones in personal rooms or suites adjacent to three large playrooms, all viewable via 24-hour webcam or dog-whisperer telepathy. Enhance sessions with various additional à la carte items (not included with the Groupon), including treats, nature walks, and coin-operated petting machines.
Founded in 2006, the Vincent family's 3-acre ranch makes pups feel right at home when their families can't be there to care for them. "There are no cages here," Andrea Vincent explains on her website. "There are no kennels." Unlike even the best boarding facilities, where dogs are isolated in private suites, the Vincents' maximum of four furry guests roam their house at will. An enclosed outdoor play area stretches 1.5 acres, providing plenty of room for canines to play fetch, investigate odors, or negotiate a peace agreement between themselves and their own tail.
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."
For more than 30 years, the caring professionals at Pampered Paws Pet Salon have been sprucing up cats and dogs with baths, haircuts, and general grooming services. Staff members customize each cut according to the animal's breed, hair type, and lifestyle—whether that means de-kinking a toy poodle's curls, restoring luster to an irish setter's coat, or sculpting a hairstyle to complement a saint bernard's Sherlock Holmes's costume.
Inside Planet Canine’s 1,400-square-foot converted warehouse and outside in its spacious, fenced-in yard, the happy sounds of frolicking dogs can be heard as animal-loving staffers supervise up to nine hours of daily outdoor playtime. Led by canine enthusiast Kate Marden, the staff watches over pups as they cavort on play structures and splash in shallow pools during the hot summer months. After playtime, dogs rush indoors to be fed Merrick wheat- and corn-free food before bedding down on blankets and bath rugs. Each canine lounges in his or her own area on overnight stays, for naptime, and during writing sessions for poetry composed entirely of panting and barking noises.