In her own words, Adina Roberts has dedicated her life to horses—in 2009, she even quit her job as an executive to work with them full-time. She'd been offering lessons on the side for years before that, but finally decided it was time to totally immerse herself in her passion. At Punk Rock Pony, she focuses all of her attention on training and teaching kids and beginner adults how to ride, as well as taking special care of ponies—including a friendly newborn who loves visitors—and problem horses with a history of covering stable walls in graffiti. She holds all of these lessons on a large acreage brimming with wildlife such as rabbits and oxes, providing an idyllic arena for people to connect with nature and the majestic steeds. For more advanced riders, she also offers the unique experience of riding "naked," a challenging style in which the horse is bareback and bridle-less.
As pet owners themselves, Pam and Bob Bennett of In Home Pet Care make sure each of their client's furry friends is matched with the perfect petsitter. In fact, they handpick each staff member themselves, so that they can pair the sitter's strengths with pets who will benefit. The sitters come straight to homes—or hotels—for 30 or 60 minutes, sometimes even staying overnight, to ensure pets are fed, medicated, walked, and played with. They'll also grab your paper and mail, put out and take in the trash, and flick lights on or off to avert potential intruders.
Situated on 10 glorious acres, Gold Creek Equestrian Center's two barns house nearly 100 stalls—each comfortable quarters for private boarding and the horse haven's own 30 steeds, which are available for lessons. Outside on the 135'x240' sand arena, equestrians can conquer an Olympic PVC jump course or practice kicking up a sandstorm worthy of a John Wayne reenactment. Meanwhile, two indoor arenas host trotters as they rehearse dressage routines during the cooler months. Private and semiprivate lessons can be tailored to each student's age, skill level, and favored style of riding, including English and American Western flavors.
As one of the largest no-kill shelters in Washington, Homeward Pet Adoption Center helps find permanent, loving homes for more than 1,400 cats and dogs each year. Forty percent of its animals are owner surrendered, and sixty percent are rescues from shelters that euthanize. A range of rescue, shelter, and adoption programs help the small staff and more than 350 volunteers in their mission to give homeless and abandoned companion animals a second chance. Additionally, Homeward Pet’s onsite veterinary-care team spays or neuters all the animals that enter the shelter, along with providing a general health assessment, a microchip, and any necessary treatments or vaccinations.
Homeward Pet also extends help to animals in the community with owners in need of financial assistance. In 2012, Homeward Pet’s low-cost clinic spayed or neutered more than 500 pets, and its pet-food bank collected and distributed more than 40,000 pounds of pet food to local families struggling to feed their animals. It also offers year-round discount microchipping and free microchipping three times a year, to ensure the safety of pets in the community.
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The Certified Equine Massage Therapist at Elite Equine Massage believes that humans aren't the only animals who stand to benefit from the healing powers of massage. Regardless of whether horses are ridden for pure recreation or raced at top speeds, her gentle strokes help them perform their best. The massage service can even improve horses' circulation and relieve built-up tension—much like it helps us humans.
With 18,000 square feet of boarding facilities and 10 park-like spaces for pups to romp in, the Academy of Canine Behavior is a true pet-care destination. Dogs bunk down with the staff of trainers and behaviorists for the signature five-week Board and Train program, during which they learn proper manners, such as how to share toys, greet guests, and do their own taxes. Both boarding and daycare guests frolic in indoor or outdoor dog runs during the day, and cats can daydream about enemy birds in their own exclusive area. Owners can also schedule sessions with the on-site groomer, who has experience with hard-to-handle animals, especially those who insist on doing their own makeup.