Bentley is a poodle–shih tzu mix with hair flowing down the floor. His distrust of strangers was so intense that he couldn't even go into a PetSmart without getting kicked out. The same story applied to Brodie, a rescued poodle, who snapped at every groomer he ever had. But because she was a certified trainer before becoming a groomer, Mandi Gorton could read their signals and knew when they just needed to chill out and when they needed to know they were safe. Now the two dogs are among the most well-behaved clients of The Green Paw Spa. As Gorton observes, dogs—like people—are just more agreeable when they know cookies and massages are coming.
When Gorton describes The Green Paw Spa as a "holistic pet salon," she means every word. Each appointment begins with Gorton bringing the furry client to a relaxed state. Then she starts pampering with organic, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners. Her own dog, a border collie mix named Wamba, has allergies so intense that just the air of a traditional grooming salon causes her to break out in hives. So to help keep her and all dogs healthy, Gorton bans harsh chemicals from the spa, right down to the furniture, which is made of recycled materials. In fact, the South Bark blueberry facial she uses is so pure that it's edible, which probably explains why most dogs don't mind having it worked into their snouts. Further eco-friendly touches include a bathing system that uses approximately 2 gallons of water to wash a dog, compared to the 10–15 gallons used by traditional baths, and a pet taxi that carpools companions back and forth from their homes to save owners gas and let dogs brag to their friends about having a chauffer.
After nearly getting his teeth kicked in by an errant hoof, Stephen Briggs decided that it was probably a good time to walk away from his rodeo career. Bidding his favorite rodeo clowns goodbye, Stephen joined the family business started by his father, Frederick Alvin Briggs—called "Allie" by his customers—more than 30 years ago.
Continuing in his father's footsteps, Stephen now oversees Allie's Store, where his team supplies horse tack, Western and work apparel, and supplies for creatures that range from farm animals to pets. Under Stephen's leadership, Allie's Store now also stocks all-natural animal foods, due to increased customer requests for healthier food for their pets. The shelves display bagged edibles from lines such as Earthborn Holistic and Blue Buffalo. This is the same food the Briggs family feeds its own pets—two dogs, two cats, and four horses named Jessie, Oso, Buddy, and Hoss who exchange local gossip with customers at the adjacent barn.
Mocha’s Pet Salon, named after the owner’s dog, operates under the philosophy that pets should be groomed in a place that’s as relaxing and stress-free as home. The salon’s team strives to build a cozy environment where pooches feel comfortable while they’re getting bathed, trimmed, cleaned, and pampered with oatmeal treatments. As a result, dogs of all shapes and sizes prance out of the salon’s two locations looking, feeling, and smelling like a million bucks.
The Barking Lot's doggy-sitters understand that canine parents like to check in on their pups throughout the day. Six days a week, they post Facebook photos of day-care dogs romping around the 8,000-square-foot, climate-controlled playground. Three days a week, they post YouTube videos of especially exciting moments, such as a game of chase in the large dog play area or a round of Red Rover in the small pooch zone. Dogs who spend the night snuggle into a comfortable kennel outfitted in fleecy bedding. Calming music plays as pooches snooze, and optional play times, cuddling, and even bedtime stories can keep pups from feeling homesick.
In addition to providing a fun place to play and spend the night, pet- care techs ensure pets are safe: rubber floors cushion joints, and workers are certified in pet first aid and CPR. Select staffers also use their canine knowledge to teach training classes or groom pups and cats from nose to tail.
At Scrub-A-Pup, everything you need to bathe your pooch stands at the ready: tubs and speed dryers, myriad shampoos and conditioners, and combs, brushes, and towels. Beyond the self-serve dog wash, its staff also pampers pups with grooming sessions that can include luxurious add-ons such as hot oil treatments or pad conditioning.