Rick DuBois left a career in the cutthroat corporate world in favor of his current and more humane profession as the owner and resident "pack leader" at You Luckie Dog! The lifelong pooch aficionado brings more than 20 years of dog expertise—including a stint as a chow-chow breeder and trainer—to his canine daycare, boarding, and grooming spa. "Pretty much whatever a traditional kennel does, we do the opposite," says Rick, who personally groups his tenants into amiable playgroups according to size, temperament, and fastest time swimming the 300-meter dog paddle. The canine resort rejuvenates man’s best stressed friend with physical exercise and socialization, with stays ranging from day-long excursions to overnight boarding. The popular daycare service allows early morning drop-off and pickup as late as 8 p.m., and Rick makes a point of never smacking his customers with dollar-per-minute fees for late pickups. "I know what it's like to have meetings run long while people drone on. I want people to know I'm not trying to nickel-and-dime them."
With 35 years of experience under his belt, Hugh White of Hugh White Training Stables and fellow equestrian Jody Werner impart horse-whispering skills to riders of all levels during fun, expertly taught lessons. After one to three students saddle up, experienced instructors draw on classical training methods to teach basic, intermediate, or advanced skills. Horses paw at yellow sand in huge arenas or leap over jumps in outdoor fields as students trot, cantor, jump, or arrange their mounts in My Little Pony–inspired tableaus.
Redhound’s friendly, knowledgeable staff helps pet owners and their big ole schweeties navigate an extensive collection of food, toys, and accessories for dogs and cats. Learn healthy, dog-friendly recipes from the Bubba Rose organic cookbook ($14.95), or harness hounds to an OllyDog leash ($24) for a jaunt through the neighborhood, the park, or a rival farmer's pumpkin patch. While pups can chow on Redhound’s array of organic dog food and gnaw on a large natural cow dog toy ($20), feline compatriots can nibble from a dainty PetWare ceramic dish ($22) to refuel from a long day of napping in the windowsill. Furry friends are welcome in the store, and are welcomed with a complimentary treat.
Sacred Cross Horse Services founder Ashley Mason has transformed her extensive background in horseback riding and show jumping into a unique training program. At stables tucked away in redwood forests, students attend English-style riding lessons that focus on basic fundamentals such as grooming, tacking, and learning how to bond with horses. The lessons cater to students' individual needs and skill levels while simultaneously prioritizing their education and enjoyment. Sacred Cross also leads horse camps for children, as well as lessons designed to impart a sense of responsibility, teach empathy, and stop them from trying to lead the dog into a canter. Students are required to wear long pants and heeled shoes while riding.