Tanis, Egypt. 1937. Indiana Jones descends into the fabled Well of the Souls, and lands in a slithering knot of black asps. The swashbuckler is struck dumb with terror, managing only to mutter the now iconic phrase: “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” Indiana Jones is not alone in his phobia. Tim Criswell hopes to change that.
Though the House of Reptiles founder doesn’t deny snakes’ potential to inflict harm, he hopes to foster in the public a more nuanced understanding of reptiles. He has amassed dozens of snakes over the years, including exotic specimens such as the indochinese spitting cobra, reticulated gila monster, and black mamba. He houses these serpents in his reptile museum, which was spotlighted in the Times not only for its exotic-species collection, but also for its mission to educate the public about the oft-feared-but-seldom-understood reptiles.
In addition to the museum, House of Reptiles features a retail store staffed by expert snake handlers, who draw upon years of experience to advise fledgling snake owners on proper care. Dozens of snakes are also available for purchase, giving animal lovers new friends who don't insist on cuddling every night.
Doggie Day Camp's spacious, family-run facility provides a home away from home to tail-wagging travelers, whether it's for a couple hours of daycare or several nights of boarding. Prior to dropping their pet off, owners are free to take a tour of the grounds. During visits, pups remain under the full supervision of experienced attendants. An outdoor area splashes playtime with sunshine. Inside, padded floors protect paws, and divided zones keep smaller dogs from becoming the bigger dogs' football. To keep fur looking fresh, an onsite groomer is available, as are self-serve washing stations complete with shampoo, towels, and styling gel.
When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.
When Eric Simpson first adopted his dog Gunner, he probably couldn't have foreseen how the pup would change his life. After watching daycare improve Gunner's canine social skills, Eric knew he had to open his own daycare facility. Today he and his staff care for pups in three BarkZone locations. Rather than spend all day cooped up in a kennel or watching soap operas on TV, dogs enrolled in daycare play all day in the indoor facility with staff members and other pups. The staff also welcomes overnight guests, and owners can opt to have their dogs walked or groomed during their stay.
An avid lover of animals, Theresa Shire burst onto the pet-care scene as an adoption center and animal care supervisor for the Arizona Humane Society. Since then, Theresa's passion for raising playful, happy pets and pairing them with compatible owners has flourished at Dogstar—a one-stop shop for pets that has grown to include its own pet rescue and adoption center. After a complimentary assessment of temperament, Theresa and her staff welcome cats and dogs into daycare where positive-reinforcement techniques maintain harmony and an interest in the field of psychology among packs as they exercise and mingle. After daycare, the patient employees ease animals into overnight stays in pristine boarding digs. Pets boarded for five days or more strut into the salon for free grooming, which can include baths, manicures, or quality time with the Furminator. Onsite vet Laura Chang performs checkups and vaccinations while owners browse the boutique’s collection of dog supplies, toys, and foods from Natural Balance. From April to September, clients can spend extra time perusing nearby shops on First Thursdays—fun evenings full of wine, music, and work from local artists, much like a clambake in the Louvre.
Pet lovers congregate inside the Portland Metropolitan Expo Center’s 72,000-square-foot expanse for the 11th annual Northwest Pet and Companion Expo, featuring a weekend's worth of pet-centric exhibitions and more than 120 vendors. Now entering its second decade, the locally owned event entertains kids with face painting, bounce houses, and demonstrations by pet experts, while adults enjoy live entertainment and informational resources about adoption opportunities. Pets can accompany their owners through the fair's walk-through aviary and exotic animal display, and a truffle-dog tournament lets canines test their sniffing abilities in discerning pinot noir from chardonnay.