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.
Museum Quality Framing’s staff encases cherished photos, artwork, and three-dimensional objects in materials ranging from polished wood to leather. Ready-made photo frames ($10+) clasp snapshots in a wood-and-glass embrace, protecting them from wrinkles, stains, and the scratchy nuzzles of sentimental lumberjacks. Lackluster walls can find colorful companionship in preframed artwork and a vehicle for deep self-reflection in mirrors ($100+). Ensconce valuables in custom framing packages ($69.99+), which can accommodate sports memorabilia, or preserve fine art with archival mats and backing boards. Handcrafted frames add a Renaissance flair to photos, utilizing materials such as 22-karat gold leaf to create one-of-a-kind frames.
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.
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.
Workers from Hot Diggity! step out of houses with pups tugging politely at the leash and lolling their tongues in the sunshine. The crew members, who are all licensed, bonded, and insured, give owners a break from taking the dog outside and dealing with all the strange children the dog rescues from farm wells. After consultations allow them to get to know the home and the pet’s routine, staffers can even stop in several times a day or stay overnight to care for their animal charges. They also care for care for critters including cats, gerbils, birds, and reptiles.