This fur-friendly retreat rejects the image of endless rows of cramped cages that traditional animal boarding usually conjures. Upon entering their pet resort, clients find a 1/2 acre of land, 5,000 square feet of indoor play areas, and spacious doggie suites stocked with toys and soft bedding under skylights. Before each visit begins, canine guests undergo a temperament assessment where caretakers study their play styles, food or toy aggressions, and any fear toward new people in order to gauge their unique personalities. Pooches then join up with peers of a similar size and demeanor in one of eight separate play areas featuring wading pools, digging pits, and a fully stocked shoe store. Dogs looking for some down time can recline on comfy beds and couches while enjoying their regular eating schedules courtesy of a 24 hour staff.
The thoughtful dog-whisperers will also board pets from the same household in a family suite and can administer any medications as directed by the client. Grooming services and photo sessions ensure four-legged friends stay front-page ready. Downtown Doggie Center also specializes in finding homes for orphaned pups with their adoption services.
Most dogs resist going to the groomers, so the staff at The Wizard of Paws treats pups with gentle hands to keep them calm. A bath with conditioner purges fur of debris and dirt before the groomers brush out pets' coats to reduce shedding and get them gleaming without applying hair gel. To put the finishing touches on fresh and clean furry companions, the certified and insured groomers also trim nails and brush teeth.
Since 1988, the staffers at Pet Supplies Plus have welcomed millions of furry critters of every stripe—from llamas and monkeys to potbellied pigs—into their animal-friendly stores in Pinellas Park and Clearwater. They design their shop 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.
A private, women-only gym, American Woman Fitness Center encompasses workout warriors with strength and conditioning equipment. There’s also fun fitness technology such as the Jump-Q, a semicircle of steps where members can compete against their own time or each other. For boxing and kickboxing, there’s the score-keeping 3 Kick that lights up areas to be kicked and punched. Rounding out the trio of workout toys is Heavy Ball, which challenges exercisers to maneuver and move medicine balls into a series of lit-up slots while being timed. American Woman Fitness also takes surveys from their members to customize fitness classes to their desires.
A mechanic opens the hood of a car, inspects vital fluid levels, and carefully removes a four-week old kitten. Now known as Mercedes—named after her former automotive residence—she is a permanent resident of South Tampa Puppy Palace. Pet owners, dogs, and cats may spot 2-year-old Mercedes wandering throughout parts of the large facility, whose webcam-equipped boarding suites (for cats and dogs), dog runs, and play yards have the capacity for more than 150 animals. The facility's custom-built saltwater pool gives pups a 20'x30' tub to splash around in without their owners worrying about chlorine's potentially harmful effects on coats, skin, and tails' wagging patterns. The play yards also feature canopies under which dogs can cool off with fans and misters.
Led by manager Tiffanie Ivins, a former veterinary technician, South Tampa Puppy Palace's personnel include a retired veterinarian and a handful of experienced groomers. All the staffers use their extensive training in canine CPR and interpreting body language to carefully supervise dogs' playtime and prevent unwanted ear nibbling. In an effort to help dogs without permanent homes, South Tampa Puppy Palace also assists three area rescue groups by offering foster care to pups still waiting to find loving families.