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.
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.
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.
The slight breeze one feels upon entering A Gentle Touch Pet Care Services, Inc.’s breed-standard grooming facility is generated not by fans, but by feverishly wagging tails. Dogs who find themselves in the certified groomers’ care have ample reasons for excitement, starting with a hydromassage bath that washes mud from paws and undersides with soothing jets. Owner Charlene Hibbs watches over the proceedings, drawing on knowledge gleaned from her advanced pet-sitting courses at A Pet’s World Academy in Loomis, California, to gently coax away stresses and existential crises triggered by endless, meaningless games of fetch.
Charlene and her fellow groomers tend to cats as well as dogs, with spa packages that include scented facial scrubs, aromatherapy treatments, and hair conditioners designed to prevent itching and shedding. In-home cat-sitting services include at least half an hour of feline care so that cats don’t have to face traumatic travel experiences, such as explaining why they can’t buckle their seatbelts properly.
36th Street Animal Clinic might be small, but its clients like it that way. The staff is attentive and thorough, welcoming pets and their parents with an intimate and cozy waiting room. In addition to providing regular wellness visits, the clinic houses a surgery center and pharmacy for ailing animals and performs high-tech services such as ultrasound for painless diagnostics and microchipping to help locate animals that are lost or have gone away to "find themselves." The clinic also partners with NYC Pet Services to provide cage-free boarding and daycare for dogs, cats, and other pets.
The DoggyDASH facilities boast grooming stations where dogs receive the full pampering experience: haircuts, baths, brushing, nail clipping, and ear cleaning. And, to make the styling process as smooth as possible, pet-loving groomers maintain a calm, welcoming disposition during each appointment. This dedication to canine comfort is standard of all services at the pet boutique. The staff accommodates dogs for daycare visits as well as longer boarding stays, both of which entail three walks a day for every pup, a more fun workout than playing fetch with a sandbag. Even canines that aren't checked in can still benefit from dog walking services around the city—30-minute "fun walks" and 60-minute "park walks" depart from owner's homes, with complimentary pick-up and drop-off for any residence below 90th street.