The extensive Hillside Meadows horseback-riding and training facilities reside on 70 acres of sylvan countryside, supplying riders with beautiful surroundings for trail rides and ample space for instruction in riding disciplines that range from equitation to gymkhana. Licensed instructors guide all lessons, with Sheila Brady directing the hunt-seat program, Charlene Clouthier handling Western-program duties, and the rugged essence of Yosemite Sam pervading lessons in roping and reining. Thirteen school horses lend their backs to the students’ advancement, which is repaid with a required 30 minutes of tacking prior to the scheduled lesson time and grooming afterward. Hillside Meadows also hosts clinics on a rotating list of topics at least once per month.
Due to improper training or seemingly aggressive appearances, some dog breeds have bad reputations. At Northeast K-9 Academy, however, the trained and dedicated staffers see past stereotypes and offer grooming, boarding, and training services to dogs regardless of their size, breed, or questionable musical tastes. Inside the three spacious indoor playrooms, pooches can explore, romp, and nap. Outside, a fenced-in stone play area provides dogs with fresh air and room to run while keeping their paws and coats clean.
Coated in eco-friendly and hygienic astro turf and dotted with jungle gyms and mini pools, Camp Canine’s yard stays open to dogs no matter the season or weather. That’s because Camp Canine’s believe that dogs thrive on fresh air regardless of temperature, and strive to make their playground hospitable even in the winter. Dogs that aren’t interested in tromping through the snow can cavort indoors, in Camp Canine’s climate-controlled play spaces supervised by dog caretakers who are trained in all size and demeanor of dog. These experts separate dogs based on size to ensure teacup poodle gangs leave the big breeds in peace, and encourage as much exercise as possible. During overnight boarding sessions, dogs spend their nights in cozy kennels, drifting off as classical music plays and owners gaze lovingly at their sleeping hound from the password-protected Snout Cam.
Bentley is a poodle–shih tzu mix with hair flowing down the floor. His distrust of strangers was so intense that he couldn't even go into a PetSmart without getting kicked out. The same story applied to Brodie, a rescued poodle, who snapped at every groomer he ever had. But because she was a certified trainer before becoming a groomer, Mandi Gorton could read their signals and knew when they just needed to chill out and when they needed to know they were safe. Now the two dogs are among the most well-behaved clients of The Green Paw Spa. As Gorton observes, dogs—like people—are just more agreeable when they know cookies and massages are coming.
When Gorton describes The Green Paw Spa as a "holistic pet salon," she means every word. Each appointment begins with Gorton bringing the furry client to a relaxed state. Then she starts pampering with organic, biodegradable shampoos and conditioners. Her own dog, a border collie mix named Wamba, has allergies so intense that just the air of a traditional grooming salon causes her to break out in hives. So to help keep her and all dogs healthy, Gorton bans harsh chemicals from the spa, right down to the furniture, which is made of recycled materials. In fact, the South Bark blueberry facial she uses is so pure that it's edible, which probably explains why most dogs don't mind having it worked into their snouts. Further eco-friendly touches include a bathing system that uses approximately 2 gallons of water to wash a dog, compared to the 10–15 gallons used by traditional baths, and a pet taxi that carpools companions back and forth from their homes to save owners gas and let dogs brag to their friends about having a chauffer.
Sweet Meadow Farm is not just a kid-friendly equestrian center. Sure, their experienced instructors lead private and group horseback-riding lessons year-round, but the farm also houses an interactive barnyard zoo. Their menagerie of domestic and exotic animals ranges from miniature horses and potbelly pigs to peacocks and kangaroos. Sweet Meadow Farm hosts birthday parties, too, during which kids can meet new critter friends inside the air-conditioned barn and make up secret handshakes that do not require opposable thumbs.
For more than 20 years, professional dog groomer Linda has kept her canine clients’ fur healthy and neat with a number of services and treatments. Linda's standard grooming services clean pups from nose to tail, as she shampoos fur, clips nails, and cleans ears. During full grooming services, Linda trims fur with hand scissoring techniques specific to each breed.