Pets: 7 Philly Pet Pros Who Take Canine Care to New Levels
High-tech Personal Trainer
Would you describe your dog as “energetic” and maybe also “a handful”? Philly Fit Dog provides both exercise and an outlet for your pup’s, ahem, excess enthusiasm, coming to your home and running with your dog for 20-, 30- or 45-minute sessions. Bonus: Via “Pet Check Technology,” you’re notified at the end of each session and get a GPS map of their route — a nice perk for the slightly obsessive pet owner. Rates: $18 to $35 per run. 215-787-0370.
Aside from providing a thorough pampering (HydroSurge massage baths — check), Chez Bow Wow keeps it green. All products are environmentally friendly and pH-balanced to be as gentle on your dog’s skin, and the Earth, as possible. CBW specializes in rehabilitation and grooming for dogs with behavioral problems or anxiety and those who’ve had bad grooming experiences elsewhere. Owner Gwendolyn Carry says her philosophy is, “Instead of asking dogs to change their behavior, we change ours to figure out what they like.” If a dog detests hoses, they’ll wash him in a bath using a cup. If a dog can’t stand the blow dryer, they’ll roll out the “Happy Hoodie” — an elasticized terry-cloth hood that wraps a dog’s ears so she feels more protected. Rates: $56 and up. 707 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties, 215-923-2992.
Medical Miracle Workers
Middle of the night, weekends, holidays — if your pup needs care, the Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in South Philly has you covered with 24/7/365 service and a full-time ICU for serious ailments. (Walk-ins are welcome.) VSEC caters to both animals and people; a monthly “Remembrance Circle” helps owners grieve a deceased pet, and its Lend-a-Paw foundation provides care to lost or abandoned pets as well as help for owners with financial difficulties. 1114 South Front Street, 267-800-1950.
Holistic Dog Walker
Candice Archibald, who runs Otto & His Human’s Pet Services, will not only walk and socialize your pooch like it’s her own; she also specializes in animal reiki, which she describes as similar to meditation for dogs. In 30-to-60-minute sessions, she holds your pet in her lap and acts as a “conduit for universal energy,” passing it through your pooch the way a cell-phone charger does for a cell phone, she says. The experience is designed to reduce stress and relax anxious and injured animals. Otto, her rescue pit bull and “business partner,” swears by it. Rates: Half-hour walk $15; hour $25; animal reiki $80 per session. 215-668-3107.
Just Dogs and Cats sells decadent handmade goodies like mini muffins and birthday cakes and delivers within the Rittenhouse area. But the showstopper is their Yappy Meal — a burger (two shortbread wafers with an oatmeal and carob-chip burger), cheddar cheese fries and a toy for $8.99. You can also pick up a bottle of Bowser Beer to celebrate your dog’s third — or in human years, 21st — birthday. 1700 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse, 215-988-9876.
Fur Baby Sitters
Central Bark knows how difficult it can be to leave your pet’s side, even for a few hours. To ease your separation anxiety, this place parks a detailed rundown of your dog’s schedule on its website. Each pooch enjoys multiple playtimes (there are swimming pools for summer months), a nap time complete with classical music and aromatherapy, and some individual attention, during which dogs that need tidying-up get TLC before they’re sent home. Each dog undergoes a behavior assessment, and owners must document pets’ vaccinations and spay/neuter certifications, so you know any other dog your beloved might encounter here is safe. Plus, all managers are certified in canine first aid and CPR. Rates: $33 per day and up. 2501 Wharton Street, building F, Grays Ferry, 267-861-2275.
Doggie Life Coach
Yes, we know your pooch is amazing, but admit it — maybe it’s time for a professional to help with Coco’s manners. Opportunity Barks will teach your dog to be on its best behavior with its Puppy Starter Program, Dog Starter Program and Fundamentals Training. They also have a variety of entertaining advanced courses — like a Super Sniffer “nosework” class and Circus Tricks — and cater to almost every aspect of the dog-owning experience. To wit: a Dogs and Kids session for pups that need to acclimate to toddlers or babies, and workshops for off-leash hiking and dog stretching/massage. Rates: Workshops $35; classes $135 and up. 3510 Scotts Lane, North Philly, suite 3112, 888-672-2757.
Published as “This Town Has Gone to the Dogs” in the July issue of Philadelphia magazine.