A southerner by birth and Californian by the grace of her accounting career, Bark Williams's owner Deborah Sharp helps pet owners bond with pooches during grooming sessions at her hospitable doggy spa. Clients can clip claws and primp paws at the self-service stations, which come equipped with soaps, shampoos, brushes, and dog-care products. Bark Williams also houses a full-service grooming spa that spruces up pups with full washes, haircuts, nail trims, and teeth and ear treatment delivered without any kenneling, crating, or taunting from neighborhood cats. The shop keeps pups feeling as good as they look with optimum raw pet foods from brands such as Halshan Premium and The Honest Kitchen.
Outfitted with spas and treadmills, Pooch Hotels are nearly the same as human accommodations, with one key difference: your dog might get a tummy-rub with their turndown service. These venues were all designed by dog-lovers whose main priority was canine comfort, regardless of the length of each guest's stay.
Dogs on daycare visits, for example, are sorted by size and temperament before entering one of multiple play areas. Monitored by human "Pack Leaders," they socialize amidst toys, treats, and wading pools at select locations, or run outside if the weather and facilities permit. Those who have booked a room for the night can relax in a private suite, outfitted with a glass door rather than bars. These range from standard to presidential and even palace suites—rooms outfitted with luxury bedding and flat-screen televisions tuned to dog-friendly programming. Customers might also schedule a spa appointment for their pooch, choosing from services such as baths, "pawdicures," and even facials.
The hotels pursue peace of mind for owners as actively as they pamper their dogs. Certain locations have installed web cameras in the play areas and suites, enabling people to check in on their pets and guilt them about the time they napped instead of writing a postcard. Staff remain on-hand at all times to welcome newcomers and care for already-snoozing pups.
The passionate staff at K9s Only doggie-boarding house keeps dogs of all temperaments safe, social, and pampered during their families' getaways. Rovers snooze soundly in a soft pile of blankets atop cozy beds within the private 8'x6' rooms, which grant pups room to roam and hoard at least 1,000 chew toys. Dogs keen on socializing venture out into the center’s indoor and outdoor dog parks, romping around with other friendly, fully vaccinated pups. Introverted Lassies can caper about on private walks or sniff out adventure in the private dog park before making their way back into their climate-controlled abodes to quietly read the latest issue of Dog Fancy. The enthusiastic staff keeps each dog on their normal feeding schedule, heaping bowls with Wellness dog chow or owner-provided cuisine twice a day, and will dispense any necessary medications.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Ira Meisler doesn’t buy it. The real-life dog whisperer has used positive reinforcement—namely love, affection, and praise—to train pups for the past 30 years and invites dogs of all ages to enroll at American Pet Hotel & Dog Training. Puppies and mature dogs alike practice and absorb basic commands and—with or without their owners’ help—learn the art of potty training. For instance, customers can drop their pooches off for a few weeks of in-kennel training or have a trainer come to them for in-home sessions. Either way, Ira guarantees a lifetime of good behavior. If at any time a dog begins to regress on its training, he’ll offer a refresher course absolutely free of charge.
Beyond training services, American Pet Hotel & Dog Training also operates just what one would expect: a doggy hotel. While owners are away on vacation, guests can rest comfortably inside individual private indoor dog runs, each of which is cleaned and disinfected throughout the day. During their stays, they can lounge atop fleece bedding, frolic with staff during playtime, and enjoy at least six walks every day. Cats can rest their paws at the hotel as well. Private "kitty condos" ensconce felines in cozy spaces with relaxing music, and they also can enjoy designated play time with a scratching post or two. To ensure the safety of all pets, the hotel has a veterinarian on call 24/7 or 168/49 in dog time.
Kimberly Garsed founded Urban Dog Playcare to provide dog owners with a place to put their pets when they were otherwise engaged with work or play, thus making it possible for more people to welcome dogs into their families. Kimberly has more than 20 years of experience training dogs, and her core staff draws on more than 10 years of experience when attending to the health and happiness of their clients’ canines. During playcare, four-legged friends roam around a 5,000-square-foot facility with five distinct play areas, two of which have a rubber surface to cushion dogs’ feet and better facilitate their self-directed gymnastics competitions. Owners can keep tabs on their pooches through the facility's webcam, unless the staff and their charges have embarked on one of the frequent custom field trips to exotic, pet-friendly locales such as the Santa Monica Mountains.
Boarders visiting the hospitable facility eat nutritious meals and tire themselves out during vigorous walks before being escorted to slumberland by a skilled dog wrangler who continues to watch pets into the wee hours. Dogs sleep atop beds or blankets in kennel runs or crates with housemates. Because the dog wrangler stays with the doggies all night, the animals are never alone.
Sitter4Paws reliably dispatches fully bonded, insured, and American Red Cross–certified dog walkers to homes for brisk, 30-minute jaunts around the neighborhood. After an initial consultation, during which the dog walker becomes familiar with the patron's pet, home, and routine, he or she arrives promptly at an appointed time for each walk, allowing a camaraderie to develop between man and pet and between man and the space-time continuum. Upon arrival, the caretaker retrieves house keys left in a lock box at the owner's home for safe entry and departure. Postpromenade, owners can arrange for the walker to continue their pet's daily routine, including filling its water bowl, brushing its hair, and painting its portrait. When tenants are away for an extended period, Sitter4Paws' staff can deter potential intruders by bringing in the newspaper and mail, turning lights on and off, and opening and closing the blinds. When the owner returns, he or she will receive an email from the sitter detailing their time spent with the dog.