Dogs romp around 7,500 square feet of cushioned rubber flooring, nuzzling with new friends and learning off-leash etiquette like every toddler eventually must. This is the scene at Performance Plus K9 Activity Center during its Perfect Pups pet obedience course, a seven-week program that teaches pooches aged 8–18 weeks how to respond to easy commands and respect owners' homes. It's just one of the obedience courses that the dog-loving staff at Performance Plus offer—they also provide classes in competition obedience and agility. Plus, they recently added new services including grooming and boarding, so pups can stay all day.
For more than three decades, Hawkswood Farm has designed its leafy 45-acre parcel of land to be not just a place to ride horses, but also a calming escape from the bustle of daily life. There, riding enthusiasts of all skill levels can pair up with a friendly horse from the herd of more than 30, and enjoy their lessons in a private, semi-private, or group setting far away from hassles such as traffic on interstate highways or interstate horse trails. Lessons can cover both English and Western styles and take place on the farm's indoor ring, outdoor lighted rings, or, for more seasoned riders, the cross-country jump course.
Sweet Meadow Farm is not just a kid-friendly equestrian center. Sure, their experienced instructors lead private and group horseback-riding lessons year-round, but the farm also houses an interactive barnyard zoo. Their menagerie of domestic and exotic animals ranges from miniature horses and potbelly pigs to peacocks and kangaroos. Sweet Meadow Farm hosts birthday parties, too, during which kids can meet new critter friends inside the air-conditioned barn and make up secret handshakes that do not require opposable thumbs.
All posh dogs love shopping along Newbury Street – or at least their owners do. But when the pooches get dirty, it’s time to book an appointment at Pawsh Dog Boutique & Salon. Located in the Back Bay, just steps from Newbury Street’s glitz, the trained professionals on staff carefully trim each dog’s nails, clean their ears and even brush their teeth following the full-service grooming. This by-appointment-only salon also sells carry-on bags for small pups, haute collars, stylish jackets, comfortable dog beds, conditioning shampoo and a selection of natural foods, which is helpful for owners with finicky or allergic pets. After all that, your dog will still love the doggie treats on the counter most of all.
At Newport Equestrian, the mother-daughter team of Suzanne Hourihan and Kamala Duffy handle all instruction duties, helping beginners and experienced riders alike to improve their skills. The instructors root their approach in the principles of sound equitation—a focus that Suzanne inherited while training under Irish Olympic rider Nole McGee as a child. Kamala, a USEF hunter/jumper competitor, carries on her mother's passion as she coaches riders of all stripes, from casual pleasure and trail riders to show jumpers intent on winning a gold medal before some cool new Flash game makes the Olympics obsolete. During private and semi-private lessons on flatwork courses, Kamala teases out riders' potential while treating them with respect and encouraging them to overcome the improvement plateaus they'll inevitably reach.
The staff at Abba’s Place Dog Grooming sees pets just as their owners do: as members of the family. As such, they perform a slew of services to keep up with pawed companions, including feeding, walks, litter-box cleaning, and boarding. They accompany their pet care with home-sitting services, such as watering plants, carrying trash out, and bringing in mail.