As a 4th-degree black belt, Alexander "Soca" Freitas’s fighting resumé is a formidable one. He has won multiple competitions - including the highly prestigious ADCC Championship, where he was also named "Most Technical Fighter" - and is a five-time Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship winner. He earned his black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr., the son of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s founder, and he spent 25 years mastering the grappling art at the Gracie Barra main academy. Since becoming a teacher himself, Soca has awarded black belts to 24 of his students. However, he doesn't try to force any of his protégés into following his footsteps—instead of matching his impressive accolades with an intimidating attitude, Soca welcomes students of all ages, builds, and abilities to his gym.
Soca leads classes in both beginning and advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. The martial-arts discipline depends on leverage and holds rather than weapons to subdue opponents, and he demonstrates these maneuvers during practice drills. Students progress through the curriculum by testing to receive successive belts rather than by wrestling a written exam to the ground. Soca ultimately leaves their goals up to them, whether they hope to perfect their self-defense moves, compete in MMA tournaments, or simply engage in healthy exercise. Aside from standard Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lessons, the gym also hosts private classes, children's classes, and strength-and-conditioning sessions, led by co-owner Samantha Freitas.
Nationally certified dog trainer Jessica Freedman doesn't believe in a cure-all for disobedient dogs. Having graduated from National K-9 Learning Center, where she was introduced to an array of obedience-training techniques, she knows you have to treat each dog on a case-by-case basis.
That's why, at Sublime K9 Dog Training, before a "sit" or a "stay" or a "file the taxes" is uttered, she schedules a complimentary evaluation. Using the info from the evaluation, she tailors a plan that suits both the dog and the family. Her services range from alleviating puppies' separation anxiety to teaching older dogs who have gotten behind the learning curve.
Her knowledge of canines also shows during her bite-prevention classes. In them, she teaches kids how to read canine body language in order to prevent bites.
NY Kennel Club ensures the well-being of canines of all breeds and backgrounds, from visitors stopping by for a bath and a haircut to rescue puppies looking for a new home. Along with grooming services, which range from simple nail trims to complete makeovers, the cage-free kennel houses its guests in spacious pens, giving the dogs plenty of room to romp. Each pup up for adoption has been thoroughly checked by a local veterinarian, and expert trainers can aid new owners in tasks such as housebreaking—the technical term for when a pet gets a little too excited with a sledgehammer.
There's no such thing as a one-shape-fits-all haircut for humans, so why should your dog get a standard puppy clip? The team at Essence of a Dog specialize in breed cuts, but also cater their services to meet each pup's unique needs and temperament. Each grooming session includes a trim, brush, ear cleaning, and paw pad shave, but appointments can also be tailored to include special formula washes to treat dogs dealing with fleas, shedding, or dandruff.
Combining their talents and doubling their time, doctors Keith Niesenbaum and Brian Spar run the Farmingdale Dog and Cat Clinic, a one-stop shop for checkups and outpatient procedures for the most common furry friends. They spay and neuter both pets and strays, vaccinate them against common illnesses, and treat temporary maladies such as the sniffles or minor injuries. They also dedicate a lot of their time to animals not fortunate enough to enjoy human companionship, providing services to rescue organizations, colony caregivers, and those who practice TNR—or trap, neuter, and return—as a method of humanely curtailing the population of strays and ferals.
A practicing veterinarian since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, Dr. Keith Niesenbaum cares for four-legged friends as the owner and medical director at Crawford Dog & Cat Hospital. Alongside senior associate vet Dr. Brian Spar, Dr. Niesenbaum and his staff treat ailing pets in three facilities that offer inpatient and outpatient care and also make house calls.