The canine caretakers at Lucky Dog Daycare & Resort of South Tampa act as dog-sitting concierges during a pup's private or social boarding. During private stays, shy, aggressive, or hypoallergenic pets pair with a kennel counselor for individual playtime, four to six walks a day, and free use of the outdoor romping grounds. Pets can carouse with packs of friendly canines during a social stay, frolicking with like-sized pals in the grassy play area, relaxing in the expansive Astroturf sunning spots, or swan-diving into the heat-beating water park complete with pools and mist sprayers. The air-conditioned interior offers a weather-friendly alternative to the outdoors, with a team of dog enthusiasts constantly supervising the pet playtime. Owners can virtually check-in with best friends over the live feed that streams across the Internet from 16 cameras on constant alert. Lucky Dog’s boarding aficionados hire sheep barbershop quartets to softly bleat lullabies, ensuring all pups snooze comfortably, either in a single room for the private stay or in a softly snoring dog pile.
Dr. Nina Krajewski went from spiking a volleyball to making sure Spike the bulldog is healthy. A member of an NCAA Division II championship team on the court, she went on to veterinary school. In 2007, the Sarasota native founded Dr. Nina’s Animal Hospital. The veterinary office offers a wide range of animal care, from checkups and dental cleanings to emergency care and dog and cat boarding.
The dogs coming in the door at Pawsh Boutique & Spa look very different from the ones coming out. That’s because every session the pet-pamperers undertake leaves pets both visibly cleaner, sleeker, and more fragrant. The staff groom everything from a pet’s ears to tail, promoting a pet’s overall health while giving coat’s the shampooing needed to allow pets a continue spot on the couch. The staff use one of four shampoos based on customer preference, with options available for itching, smells, and hard to manage hair. All of their bath products contain no soaps, parabens, or salt, and the staff hand-treat pets for a shiny, well-groomed coat. Pets leave grooming treatments end with a bow or bandana, and clients can find more apparel, toys, and treats in the spa’s boutique.
DK Grooming cleanses dirty dogs of all sizes with thorough grooming services. Bring in your pup and a specialist can turn musty, tangled hair into a smooth, dapper fur coat with a bath and brushing. They can also clear up cruddy ears and gently snip down nails that have grown large enough to act as stilts.
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.