Knowing the oft-contentious relationship between dogs and cats, Lakeside Animal Hospital keeps entirely separate entrances, lobbies, and exam rooms for felines and canines. It’s one way the animal hospital’s staff shows its deep understanding and passion for four-legged guests. Dr. Monica Fernandez’s team of veterinarians and staff treat animals with a roster of wellness services. These services include laser therapy to reduce pain and accelerate healing time from injury and surgery, as well as ultrasounds to detect whether a pup is pregnant or if it just swallowed the remote control. The hospital staff also keeps pets safe with boarding services, and can help them look their best with expert grooming sessions.
The scene is a familiar one: hotel guests lounge beside the outdoor pool as staff members filter around, offering refreshments or collecting clients for a spa treatment. However, at Pet Paradise, the pool is bone shaped and all the guests are dogs. This luxurious scene is one cat and dog owners can find at this boarding and daycare facility that has been owner Fred Goldsmith's pride and joy for a decade. The animal lover was inspired to start his own pet hotel when he simply couldn’t find a place he was comfortable leaving his bichon frise when he went on vacation.
Fred made Pet Paradise to his exact specifications, and the pet hotel's amenities reflect the loving care he lavishes on his own beloved pup. Dogs and cats can luxuriate in spa-quality grooming treatments or burn off some energy during group playtime. In the evening, pets can settle into plush bedding and feel safe knowing that the dedicated live-in staff resides just a bark away. Nocturnal kitties spend the night exploring their own private six-level cat condos while gentle spa music fills the air to keep them entertained. In case of any emergencies, Pet Paradise keeps veterinarians on-call, and in the event of a snack emergency, each staff member is a certified bacon cook.
Freshly back from vacation, a customer walks expectantly into the room. A golden retriever bounds clumsily up, its tongue flapping a rosy greeting and mouth stretched far back into a smile. When the dog’s owner takes up the leash, thanks the staff for caring for her energetic pup, and turns to leave, she feels a tug on the leash. Her dog has planted his feet firmly, trying to back into a sitting position—clearly, he wants them both to stay put.
According to proprietor Lisa Schettino, this is an everyday occurrence at Camp Canine. After a difficult experience finding pet care for her own dog, Lisa set out to create an environment that would not only keep critters safe, but make them want to stay. Now, each Camp Canine location has a resort-style atmosphere sprawled over 9,000–15,000 square feet.
Stressed four-legged friends wiggle with glee during massages, shedding stress from squeaky toys giving them the silent treatment. Against a bass rumble of purring, punctuated by canine yips, green-tea and chamomile facials drive dirt from wrinkled faces and soften wiry fur. As they wait for their next spa appointment, dogs can roam freely in a fenced-in play lot. After tearing through a maze of tunnels and obstacles, they splash into the pool and emerge to toss their cool, wet fur, bejeweling the air with spray. An air-conditioned indoor play area shelters pets from extreme heat and teenagers listening to vacuums at high volume..
Owners too can rest at ease during their pets’ vacation, knowing their animals lounge in private rooms with plush bedding and staff watching 24 hours a day. They check up on their furry friends via scheduled Skype sessions and various webcams set up throughout the Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale facilities. Those locations also pick up and drop off pets that haven’t yet learned how to operate a manual transmission.
Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous Pet Digs dubbed Chateau Poochie the “world’s most decadent hotel for dogs” for the lavish care with which the staff treats its canine guests. Tiny nails click on the white marble floors of the lobby, where overnight guests check in at a mirrored front desk beneath a crystal chandelier before a staff member escorts them to one of the suites. Each suite is appointed with raised beds and fleece bedding, access to filtered water, and classical music, while most bear flat-screen televisions so guests can keep an eye on their investments in squeaky toy futures. At mealtime, pet owners choose from a freshly prepared menu of roasted meat accompanied by steamed vegetables and brown rice.
During the day, both overnight and daycare charges enjoy playtime at the Social Lounge, where pups are separated by size so they can romp safely on impact-resistant floors as they dive through hoops, clamber up steps, or challenge their tails to a winner-take-all battle royale. They can also enjoy the fresh air in the outdoor garden or schedule individual playtime with someone from the staff.
Chateau Poochie also houses a luxe salon and spa where grooming sessions can be supplemented by facials and pedicures. Therapeutic massages help whisk away tension, and training sessions teach pups better manners. Cats can get in on the overnight luxury in their own three-tiered abodes, and pet parents keep an eye on their furry friends via 24-hour streaming Web cam.
Under the umbrella of Pet Medical Centers, nine Miami-Dade and Broward-area veterinary hospitals provide sophisticated healthcare for furry, feathered, and scaly family members. The hospitals’ specialty services include nonanesthetic dental care, ultrasounds, radiology, and endoscopies. All locations boast surgical operating rooms equipped with windows and cameras to give owners peace of mind, and many of the clinics are equipped with lasers for blade-free incisions. Besides emergency care, the doctors and technicians—some of whom have appeared as specialists on Univision and Animal Planet—perform general wellness examinations and informative nutritional consultations.
Although medical care provides what pets need, boarding services treat pets to what they want. Most locations double as cat and dog hotels, but only one deserves the title of pet resort—at Coral Springs Pet Resort and Medical Center, animals enjoy a climate-controlled dog park with a pool, baths with massaging jets, and expansive canine suites with window views.
A pudgy labrador trots through his daily exercise routine on a treadmill, while nearby a band of small dogs scampers after each other upon miniature playground equipment. All the while, a dachshund is transfixed by cartoons on a flat-screen TV. This bustling canine milieu was fashioned by Iris and Tim Feingold, an affable mother-son duo who serve as the deans of Dogstown University, a sleek dog daycare and boarding business in Deerfield Beach. Indoor play areas and boarding suites are kept perpetually fresh-smelling thanks to Dogstown University's custom ventilation system, built especially to eliminate the unpleasant odors made by dogs’ cigars during all-night poker games. Die-hard canine lovers themselves, Tim and Iris further ensure their wards’ comfort with luxurious suites in several sizes, each including bedding, fleece blankets, toys, and relaxing music. In addition, they help ease owners’ anxieties with a 24-hour camera system, which allows owners to log on and check in on their pets.