In 1990, John Ziegler hired a dog walker to take his 8-month-old yellow lab Merembe out on regular walks. The plan was to escort the rambunctious pup to Central Park, where she could enjoy fresh air and social time around other dogs and people. Just to make sure he was getting what he paid for, John followed the dog walker—and discovered that Merembe spent the entire hour cooped up in a tiny apartment while the walker went on errands. The indignation that any dog owner would feel at this discovery is what prompted John to found Biscuits & Bath, an all-encompassing dog-care company that strives for transparency, knowledge, and compassion in all they do.
A bounty of doggy knowledge backs every service at Biscuits & Bath, whether it's grouping dogs by size and temperament at daycare to balance safety and fun, or pairing groomers' image-enhancing brush-outs with checks for ticks, ear infections, and unusual basketball ability. True to the company's roots, each dog walker is bonded, insured, and thoroughly trained to take beloved friends on a daily romp. Dogs are kept safe from big-city hazards by donning two slip collars, a climb-spec harness, and a reinforced nylon leash, allowing the company to boast nearly one million incident-free walks in 2011. On-site veterinarian services give pups a checkup incentive with the center's play-filled environment, and overnight boarding services keep timid dogs at ease with constant supervision and flexibility with special requirements.
The Priceless Parrot Preserve sounds like a jungle. The calls and conversations of more than 100 birds from 29 species form a symphony that strengthens social bonds. Well-behaved members of the flock greet visitors and play with toys hanging from the ceiling, whereas animals with behavioral issues—often the products of abuse or neglect—hang back, working with volunteers and founders Gene and Marietta Avery to grow and recover. As a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Gene provides medical care to the often malnourished birds and ensures that they receive a rich diet of nuts and fruit.
Gene and Marietta Avery founded The Priceless Parrot Preserve to care for neglected and abandoned exotic birds. Their goal is twofold: to educate the public about the birds both as pets and wild creatures, and to give a permanent home to mistreated and unwanted birds. The couple originally adopted the birds out of their own pockets, but formed their own preserve when confronted with the sheer number of birds in need. Today, they specialize in taking in larger birds such as macaws and cockatoos that demand more attention and other birds that might be considered unadoptable.
Since 1988, Pet Supplies Plus has welcomed millions of furry critters of every stripe—from llamas and monkeys to potbellied pigs—into their animal-friendly stores. The shop is designed so that both pets and their owners can easily navigate the inventory of more than 10,000 items. Wide aisles give leashed pups enough room to roam, colorful signage keeps shoppers moving in the right direction, and low shelves allow dogs to sniff out their preferred brand of rawhide chew. A self-serve dog wash enables guests to scrub their canine companions' coats to a youthful, puppy-like shine, whereas grooming services enlist professionals to tackle tougher jobs, such as brushing out matted fur or convincing dalmatians to stop mixing white and black after Labor Day.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
At Dog E. Woggy's K-9 Playtime, qualified canine supervisors watch precious pets as they rest, frolic, and make new friends amid cage-free play spaces, beds, and boarding units. Pooches romp amid padded rubber toys, watchful human minders, and 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor play areas during recess sessions that promote healthy exercise and development of social skills. Private playgroups safely separate pets into bunches based on energy level and size, while two-hour dog birthday parties see staff members treating lucky pups to cakes and explaining the meaning of birthdays to befuddled animals. Nearby, Sophie's Salon beckons to mud-covered dogs and their exasperated owners, pampering four-legged dirt magnets with brushing, shampoo, teeth cleaning, nail polishing and grooming from a certified technician. Within the well-stocked barktique, treats and food items made from human-grade ingredients elicit impressive tricks from hungry hounds.:m]]
Hounds Town USA’s friendly staff coddles pups, ushering them to peaceful, private boarding rooms to rest up for days spent cavorting with peers in the expansive doggie play area. Rovers spend the day romping with their fellow canine campers, with playtime bookended by a hearty morning and afternoon feast of Nutro dog food presented in stainless-steel dishes or on the back of a interning cat. When the capering concludes, pups make their way to their private abodes to get a good night’s sleep atop orthopedic, chew-proof bedding. Owners can outfit dogs with a pack containing their own food, bedding, and toys if desired, allowing pups to revel in the sights and scents of home more effectively than scrapbooking their favorite bones.
On 134 acres of farmland outside of Fairport, the dedicated staff and volunteers of Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester care for thousands of stray animals each year. The open-admission shelter adopts animals of all breeds and species—including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, horses, and pigs—and holds programs to educate visitors on the issues that contribute to the animals' overpopulation and difficulty in attaining advanced degrees.
The staff encourages families to visit the animals and enjoy the outdoor farm petting area, and oversees younger visitors as they build bonds with animals through education programs such as basic pet care for 3–5 year-olds. The Future Vets program teaches aspiring veterinarians in fifth–eighth grades how to conduct basic exams and begin working toward careers in animal care or pig-to-horse translation services. Summer farm camps also provide a hands-on experience as young visitors have fun feeding animals and caring for their own designated camp pets.