The Ultimate Guide to Pampering your Pets
The organizations listed here house all kinds of animals for adoption, provide community education, have reputations for good treatment, and have low-kill (or no-kill) policies.
Animal Rescue League of Boston One of the area's oldest animal advocacy networks, the Animal Rescue League shelters large and small animals and offers veterinary care, animal rescue specialists, and community education. [10 Chandler St., Boston, 617-426-9170; Pine Ridge Animal Center, 55 Anna's Place at 238 Pine St., Dedham, 781-326-0729, www.arlboston.org.]
Greyhound Friends This shelter is home to 20 retired greyhounds at a time, providing medical treatment and grooming before placing dogs in new homes. [167 Saddle Hill Rd., Hopkinton, 508-435-5969, www.greyhound.org.]
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Though it ultimately aims to find alternatives to putting pets in shelters, the MSPCA-Angell takes in thousands of animals each year. Nevins Farm has horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, and ducks, while the Jamaica Plain shelter has city-sized animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters. [Boston MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center, 350 S. Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-5055; MSPCA at Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway, Methuen, 978-687-7453; 1300 W. Elm St., Brockton, 508-586-2053, www.mspca.org.]
North East All Retriever
Rescue Retrievers of every sort (Labrador, golden, Chesapeake Bay, flat-coated, and curly-coated — not to mention Nova Scotia duck-tolling retrievers) are rescued and carefully placed by this all-volunteer group. Once your application is accepted, an adoption coordinator matches your home with an appropriate dog. [164-I Summer St. #444, Kingston, 617-824-4278, www.nearr.com.]
Yankee Golden Retriever
Rescue This breed-specific organization accepts abandoned goldens (especially older dogs) and rehabilitates them in a kennel facility in Hudson before offering them for adoption. [Hudson, 978-568-9700, www.ygrr.org.]
With pets, as in business and dating, manners are everything. A good trainer can make a gentleman out of a mutt, a lady of a tramp, and a beloved companion of a wild beast. These trainers come highly recommended, and with years of experience.
American Dog Training
Centers Owner Jeff Maranhas has a secret strategy for obedience training: a program that stresses trust and patience rather than treats and choke chains. And while he won't divulge the exact proportions of conventional wisdom and homegrown know-how that go into his lessons, his (human) clients will say this much: They work. [402 Bridge St., North Weymouth, 781-331-5331.]
Canine College Pedigrees aside, nothing smacks of canine sophistication quite like a degree from Canine College. An indoor training center and 55 acres of woods provide the staff with ample space to refine rambunctious dogs. Eager alumni often continue their education and rank in national competitions. [One White Rock Spring Rd., Holbrook, 781-767-3908, www.caninecollege.net.]
Canine University In a city full of stodgy academics, it's nice to find instructors who still know how to cut loose. In addition to regular training lessons, Canine University boasts courses with names like “Fun and Games with Obedience” and “Dog Tricks 101.” Altruistic dogs can learn how to put their educations to good use with the “Therapy Dog Preparation Course,” which trains them to visit patients in hospitals and nursing homes. [71 Clinton St., Malden, 781-324-3722, www.canineuniversity.com.]
Gemini Dog Training & DayCare Clicker training — a method of positive reinforcement that rewards pets with noises and few treats — is a mainstay of Gemini's regimen. This conditioning technique results in obedient dogs that don't beg for Milk-Bones every time they're told to sit. Specialized classes are the focus here, with options from puppy socialization to the “Rowdy Rovers” course for dogs that need to bone up on leash etiquette before they hit Boston Common. [53B Ayer Rd. (Route 2A), Littleton, 978-486-9922, www.geminidogs.com.]
Happy-Dog Training Individual behavioral problems call for individual solutions. Lisa Aprea and her staff have a tailored program for every dog, including group classes, private lessons, and board-and-train options. Each dog is allowed to progress at its own pace, and courses like “Agility Obedience” and “Doggie Obstacle Course” leave owners smiling and dogs panting for more. The Abington-based staff holds training sessions at various Boston-area locations; call for times and details. [398 Ashland St., Abington, 617-789-3647 or 781-878-4343, www.happydogtraining.com.]
Jacot unlimited Behaviorist Susan Farlow's business is for the birds. Disgruntled humans and their ruffled-feathered friends flock to her unique classes (“Bird Care 101,” “Avian Reform School”) to learn how to become better roommates. Farlow's authority on behavioral issues such as biting, screaming, and feather abuse is unrivaled. Home visits are an integral part of this guru's diagnosis, but phone consultations are also available. [Gloucester, 978-282-3287, www.gis.net/farlow.]
MasterPeace Dog Training Stress-free training for dog and owner is the goal of every course at MasterPeace; trainers use only positive reinforcement, plus lots of encouragement. Once class is dismissed, wind down with a game of Flyball or chill out in MasterPeace's indoor training ring for some quality time with your best (four-legged) friend. [264 Fisher St., Franklin, 508-553-9300, www.masterpeacedog.com.]
The Pawsitive Dog If she can train you, then training your dog will be a breeze, asserts Pawsitive Dog owner Jenifer Vickery, who designs her obedience lessons to be learning experiences at both ends of the leash. The result? Owners emerge in control of even the most misbehaving pooches. One of the most popular classes is “Real Life Field Trips,” in which Vickery takes dogs and owners out to bookstores, subways, miniature golf courses, and open cafés to teach them how to behave in public. [70 Southampton St., Boston, 617-541-1000.]
If it's true that pets look like their owners, then good grooming is as much a reflection on you as on your pet. Far more important, a groomer will keep your charge tangle-free and healthy. And, yes, gorgeous.
Belinda's Groomobile Belinda Lim Tang studied dog grooming in London and worked in grooming salons for 14 years before launching her mobile grooming business out of a van that covers the western suburbs. She'll bring her sudsy operation to your driveway (as long as you're within a 30-minute drive of her Dedham-based operation), saving time and making the grooming experience less stressful on your poor pet. The state-of-the-art van is home to a hydro-massage bathing system and adjustable dryers for sensitive pets. [Dedham, 617-817-3338, www.belindasgroomobile.com.]
DogSpa The Ritz-Carlton has very little on DogSpa. Here, monogrammed terrycloth robes swaddle your pooch, and the master groomers make sure she looks tressed to kill. The 2,700-square-foot spa and grooming facility opened last spring, including an attached boutique that puts the “up” in upscale. Just beware — you may soon find yourself walking in the shadow of your creatively coifed dog. [45 Enon St., Beverly, 978-922-9227, www.dogspa.net.]
JP Paws mobile pet grooming Suburban animal owners are a time-starved breed, so it's no surprise when pet grooming takes a back seat. JP Paws owner John Daly will pick up your dog or cat and give her the personal attention she deserves in one of his professional grooming vans, which are outfitted with all the perks of a salon. [22 Wiltshire Rd., Newton, 617-558-7297, www.jppaws.com.]
Today's pet shop is part high-end boutique, part learning center, part community hangout. Here are some of the best.
Dewberry's Dogs A South Boston destination for the free-thinking pup (and his human companion), Dewberry's spotlights the grooming talents of owner Jennifer Jensik, a line of fresh-baked dog treats, plus aromatherapy and homeopathic remedies for, among other things, separation anxiety. One, called “Loneliness Home Alone,” is meant specifically to relieve feelings of abandonment. [357 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-1507.]
Especially for Pets All the usual products (California Natural, Wysong, and the Sherpa bag) are here, but there's a whole pet university, too: Every year experts on Reiki, Tellington Touch, and magnetic therapy come to lecture at one of Especially for Pets' five Boston-area accupressure locations. The staff members specialize in pet alternative therapy and will find the best products for your pet. There's also a good selection of cat and bird food and toys. [1223 Chestnut St., Newton Upper Falls, 617-964-7387; 444 Great Rd., Acton, 978-264-4444. 81 Union Ave., Sudbury, 978-443-7682. 44 Main St., Wayland, 508- 647-6923; 153 Turnpike Rd. (Rte. 9), Westborough, 508-366-9696, www.especiallyforpets.com.]
The Pet Shop Girls More pet mecca than store, the Pet Shop Girls caters to a crowd that treats its pets the way some people treat their 1978 Porsche Boxsters. Its stock includes everything from premium pet food brands to microvelvet wool dog beds, and its services cover grooming, pet-sitting, and dog-walking, available through a sister company called Morning Paws. Be sure to pick up a box of peanut butter-flavored biscuits on the way out. [472 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-262-7387, www.thepetshopgirls.com.]
Skipton Pet Center Pets of almost every stripe find one-stop shopping at this friendly, family-owned store: toys for small house pets, high-end dog foods, bird supplies, and upwards of 100 fish tanks. The shop also offers services including boarding, grooming, and home delivery of products. [70 Southampton St., Boston, 617-541-0520.]
Pet Food, Treats
These health-conscious pet food shops should put Fluffy on the road to clean living.
Bite Me! Biscuits If Fluffy gets puffy when she eats mass-produced treats, take advantage of the custom recipe service at Bite Me! Biscuits. There, co-owner Pam Rutter whips up special, all-natural recipes for dogs with allergies (as she does for her own Irish setter, Dublin, who is allergic to beef). Bring in your dog and let him sample and choose his favorites from the bakery's assortment of handmade biscuits, birthday cakes, and muffins. Bite Me! sends its four-legged customers samples of cookies and coupons in their birthday month. [687 N. Bedford St., East Bridgewater, 508-350-0200, www.bite-me-biscuits.com.]
Down to Earth A one-stop shop for people food, Down to Earth also has an extensive supply of holistic supplements, treats, and food for your pets. Oma's Pride, a popular raw dog food made with USDA-inspected and approved meat, ground bone, and vegetables is available in the freezer section. There's also a sizable selection of natural remedies. [751 Kempton St., New Bedford, 508-996-1995.]
Fi-Dough A tray of bite-size treats in front of this small bakery and pet supply shop in Boston tempts canine and human passersby alike. Freshly baked dog nibbles of all shapes and flavors are the pride and joy here, but you'll also find bagged dog foods by Innova and California Natural, and plenty of catnip treats. The Somerville location has a groomer. [70E Beacon St., Somerville, 617-661-3436; 103 Charles St., Boston, 617-723-3266, www. fidough.com.]
Polka Dog Bakery Robert Van Sickle and Deborah Gregg opened their South End bakery and boutique just last spring, naming it in honor of their first dog. The bakery's treats (low-fat Power Barks, for example, and Carob Chip Puppy Dough) are what pooches' dreams are made of. The boutique peddles stylish collars, leads, toys, bath products, and canine clothing. [256 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-338-5155, www.polkadog.com.]
Most humans have trouble sticking to their own schedules — never mind their pets'. When you can't give Spot your full attention, these services can be man's best friend.
The Common Dog Remember when mom used to stand at the end of the driveway and wave as the bus took you to school? The same scenario unfolds for dogs every day, courtesy of the Common Dog's white doggie bus. (Dogs are even safety-belted into their seats so they can peek out the windows like schoolkids.) Once at daycare, they scamper around (indoors and out) and nap on cedar-filled dog beds, couches, and pillows. The Common Dog also offers grooming and a shop with gifts for both dogs and their owners. [22 Park Terr., Everett, 617-381-6363, www.commondog.com.]
Decadent Dog Decadent, indeed. They'll walk your dog (rain or shine), take her to and from the groomer or the vet, and provide full-time pet-sitting in your home while you're away. But that's hardly all: Decadent Dog also makes referrals for holistic healing, doggie birthday parties, obedience training, and dog-friendly gourmet baked goods. [Needham, 877-677-1100, www.decadentdog.com.]
Dog Day Afternoons country day prep The Phillips Academy of dog care: Before entrance, all dogs must first be accepted through an interview process at the nation's first doggie prep school. And what rewards come with admission? The run of a 5,500-square-foot indoor facility and a private half-acre park, for starters. Then there's the boarding, walking, and — lest we forget — limo service. [1011 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-442-2682, www.dogdayafternoons.org.]
Doggie Daytrippers Almost every dog fancies himself a rugged explorer, and Doggie Daytrippers obliges with regular group field trips to Boston's parks, woods, and beaches, where pooches run around, play, and socialize in the fresh air. It also offers group walks around town, and solo walks for shy dogs that need more one-on-one care. [32 Bradford St., Boston, 617-283-9806, www.doggiedaytrippers.com.]
DoggieDay Pet Service Consider it camp for canines: DoggieDay picks up your pooch in a cruiser and whisks him off to play while you're at work. Individual walking, vet visits, “While You Are Away” sitting packages, and cat care round out this company's playful repertoire. [295 Devonshire St., Boston, 617-426-7387, www.doggieday.com.]
Fetch 4-Legged Limo Last summer, pet lover Terry Riccio saw a hole in the pet-pampering industry and filled it with this, Boston's first full-service pet taxi service. For a fee of $45 roundtrip plus tolls, Riccio drives pets to and from the groomer, airport, or vet. Planning is under way for a Boston-to-Provincetown shuttle for vacationing animals, a pet errand-running service, and a line of pet lunch boxes, collars, leashes, and beds. [Cambridge, 617-480-6900.]
Heads and Tails 24-hour Pet Care Service With two veterinary nurses at the helm of Heads and Tails, you can cross your pet's daily health off your list of worries. The company also provides walking, overnight stays, transportation services, grooming, and play groups. [357 Hanover St., Ste. 3, Boston, 617-323-9648, www.htpetservice.com.]
Morning Paws Can't give Spot your full attention today? Morning Paws will take him for regular walks (alone or in a small group) and when you're out of town will stay at your home and look after him. These guys don't stop at dogs, either: Cats are also on the care list. The program services Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the South End, and Bay Village. [472 Shawmut St., Boston, 617-338-8178, www.morningpaws.com.]
PAWS and the wagging tail Since certified animal trainer Stephanie Spooner created PAWS eight years ago, word has spread faster than a greyhound on caffeine about her top-notch South End pet care facility. Spooner's walkers are all certified in CPR and pet first aid, and handle everything from walking and daycare to boarding. [169 W. Springfield St., Boston, 617-424-7887.]
Paws to Consider A four-year-old addition to the local circuit of premier pet-care services, Paws to Consider offers daily or periodic dog walks (mostly one dog at a time), feeding, medication, cat care, and pet-sitting in your home, plus round-trip transportation to and from your pet's appointment. It serves dogs and cats in Jamaica Plain and Brookline, and cats only in Roxbury and Roslindale. [24 Halifax St., Jamaica Plain, 617-983-5434, www.pawstoconsider.com.]
Pet Companions bed & biscuit The civilized alternative to kennels, Pet Companions occupies a 15-room Victorian house where dogs lounge on furniture, listen to classical music, cavort with other canines, and have the option of cooling off in the doggie pool outside. Judy Basteri began the business in 1985, and opened a second location
two years ago. The best part? The “Pajama Party” for overnight stays, when dogs sleep in various-sized beds scattered throughout the house. [191 Broadway, Somerville, 617-623-2758; 271 Main St., Reading, 781-944-5445, www.petcompanionsinc.com.]
Pet-Estrian Services As the name implies, Pet-Estrian is all about walks (or “daily aerobic exercise”). Dogs love the regular “Leader of the Pack” play group sessions, too, in which they get exercise and a shot of social interaction with fellow pooches. [Belmont, 617-484-2489, www.pet-estrian.com.]
Pooch Palace Sure, there's a huge outdoor playground and indoor romp space. But the heart of Pooch Palace is its sleeping quarters: Dogs bed down in one of the house's six bedrooms, where they're grouped according to size, age, and energy level. Grooming and training services are also available. [Watertown, 617-924-7790, www.thepoochpalace.com.]
South Shore Pet Nannies Owner Nancy Labriola has been surrounded by animals for her entire life, which explains the menagerie of pet owners attracted to her and her team of “nannies.” South Shore Pet Nannies cares for dogs, cats, horses, frogs, birds, fish, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, even goats. Between walking, house-sitting, and puppy assistance, there are few tasks (or animals) too big for these ladies and one gentleman, called a “pet manny,” to handle. [Hingham, 781-749-4357, www.the petnanny.com.]
Boston's wealth of human emergency medical resources is available at all hours, but let's face it: Your pet has fewer options at 3 in the morning. These fully staffed clinics are always open to provide pets with care when they need it most.
Animal Emergency Center One of suburbia's larger animal hospitals, the Animal Emergency Center sees and mends hundreds of animals every week, including dogs, cats, birds, and some exotics (ferrets and gerbils and snakes, oh my!). The facility has an emergency clinic as well as general, day-to-day care. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [595 W. Center St., West Bridgewater, 508-580-2515.]
Angell Animal medical center A full-service animal care facility may be a no-brainer these days, but back when Angell opened in 1915, it was an unheard-of concept. Since then, the hospital has stayed at the cutting edge of veterinary medicine, with departments for emergency medicine and surgery, cardiology, radiation, dermatology, neurology, and nutrition, to name a few. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [350 S. Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-522-7282.]
Roberts Animal Hospital
A team of general-care veterinarians and specialists runs the show at Roberts, treating small animals in a handful of departments: emergency care, surgery, cardiology (including ultrasounds), and dental. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. [516 Washington St., Hanover, 781-826-2306.]
Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine The school houses practicing clinics (run by students and teaching vets) in several areas: separate hospitals for small and large animals, plus pet loss and animal behavior hotlines. Appointments at the clinic are required. [200 Westboro Rd., North Grafton, 508-839-5395.]
Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod Domestic pets — cats, dogs, and some exotics — are served here by a sizable staff of doctors and nurses for emergency treatments, surgery, and general care. The clinic is open weekdays and Saturdays; doctors stay on call 24 hours a day. [16 Commonwealth Ave., South Yarmouth, 508-394-3566.]
Some pets need special treatment.
Boston Cat Hospital Your cat is neurotic enough in the veterinarian's waiting room without having to contend with dog snouts pressing up against his carrier. That's why there's Boston Cat Hospital, where the “d” word is seldom heard. The hospital has two full-time veterinarians, six technicians, and a cardiologist who visits twice a month. Board-certified specialists in radiology, dermatology, and dentistry are also available. [665 Beacon St., Boston, 617-266-7877.]
Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic Can't get your arthritic beagle in the car for a checkup? Veteran veterinarian John de Jong makes house calls. Dr. de Jong will make haste to your door to administer vaccinations and prescribe medications or handle any infections. [Chestnut Hill, 617-278-6000.]
The Odd Pet Vet If people squirm at the sight of your pet, veterinarian Greg Mertz is your man. In addition to turtles and rabbits, his veterinary clinic serves lizards, snakes, hamsters, rats, and other critters. Devenomizing a scorpion and healing a dehydrated tarantula are all in a day's work here. [595 Columbian St., Weymouth, 781-760-6560; 334 Chestnut St., Needham, 781-251-9131.]
Pet Alternative Therapy
Let debates on the philosophy of the consciousness rage on; lack of any consensus won't stop owners from sending their pets to mental therapists, fortune tellers, and homeopaths. In fact the number of experts offering alternative therapies for pets is rising, not falling. Here's a local sampling.
Beverly Animal Natural Health Center In addition to traditional treatments for heartworm, obesity, and Lyme disease, doctors Nancy Crowley and Lynne Ricketts offer homeopathy and flower essence therapy for dogs and cats. We can't comment on its effectiveness.
But if your dog comes out smelling like chicory and honeysuckle instead of wet fur and garbage, who can really object? [409 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-927-3622, www.banhc.com.]
Dr. Cookie Yes, that really is what she goes by. Dr. Stefanie Schwartz, a board-certified veterinary behavior consultant for 20 years, tackles the entire gamut of pet psychological disorders. The nickname is a reference to the treats with which she pampers her four-legged clients. [VCA South Shore Animal Hospital, 595 Columbian St., South Weymouth, 781-829-2299, www.dr-cookie.com.]
Katz & Dogz Why should people get all the physical therapy? On the other hand, why should pets? Katz & Dogz owner Arnold Katz offers human and animal packages that will leave everyone purring. “Doggie Massage” deluxe party packages come with a massage for each pet in attendance and cake from the Polka Dog Bakery (see “Pet Food and Treats”). Massages offered range from Swedish to canine foot reflexology. The Boston-based masseur offers service at two Boston-area locations, but also makes house calls. [Polka Dog Bakery, 256 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-338-5155; No Bones about It, 1786 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-277-2627; or call 617- 262-5289, www.katzanddogz.com.]
Marie Cargill Aching animals and owners alike head to Marie Cargill's Copley Square alternative-therapy clinic. Every patient gets a nutrition consultation and physical exam before undergoing treatments from acupuncture and homeopathy to herbal remedies. Cargill covers every level of the animal kingdom; for people, she has authored Acupuncture: A Viable Medical Alternative, while for pets she is consulting specialist for the Windhover Veterinary Center in Walpole and Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. [441 Stuart St. Ste. 715, Boston, 617-247-1446.]
New England Physical Therapy for Animals Jumping into the deep end could be good for your dog's health. That is, if we're talking about the new heated indoor hydrotherapy pool at New England Physical Therapy for Animals. Licensed physical therapist Julie Stuart treats dogs struggling with obesity, arthritis, hip dysplasia, sprains, surgery rehabilitation, and even paralysis with stress-free swimming exercises. [16 Patriot Way, Uxbridge, 508-278-7097, www.pt4animals.com.]
New England Veterinary Behavior Associates Naughty dogs, cats, and birds (not to mention their owners, who are often the source of the problem) undergo extensive consultation with Dr. Amy Marder and her staff of animal trainers and behaviorists. The group makes house calls, too — especially for cats — and structures a personalized therapy plan to correct chronic misbehavior. [8-A Camellia Pl., Lexington, 781-862-5060, www.petbehaviorproblems.com.]
Paws for Reiki The life force Reiki practitioners use to heal people's aches and pains extends to your four-legged friend, according to Reiki master Caroline Nudelman. To prove it, she visits pets in their homes, using her hands to channel healing energy into her patients. She says it can help overly anxious, stressed pets as well as those with the need for physical healing. [Belmont, 617-719-9174, www.pawsforreiki.homestead.com.]
Susan A. Deren, animal Communicator Go ahead and titter. Susan Deren's intuitive sense of what's ailing cats and dogs (or horses, boaconstrictors, and cockatiels) is hard to deny, given her track record of healing. While she specializes in older pets, Deren will also work with puppies or kittens, and claims to be able to predict their personalities and propensity to illnesses. She also teaches owners the fundamentals of communication. [64 Auburn St., Haverhill, 978-373-5977, www.susanderen.com.]
At the end of their lives, your pets deserve a resting place worthy of the companionship they provided while they were alive. Here are some places that promise to give them just that.
Angel View Pet Cemetery and crematory At this grassy Middleborough park, your pet will be laid to rest in a 25-acre space with flower beds, shade trees, and a heart-shaped pond. A black marble wall circles the front of the park, designating memorial sites for visiting owners of cremated pets. Angel View also offers burials with private memorial services that let you share one final moment with your animal companion. [471 Wareham St., Middleborough, 508-947-4103, www.angelview.com.]
Hillside Acre animal Cemetery Part of MSPCA's Nevins Farm, Hillside Acre has buried or cremated more than 18,000 animals in its park.
All types and sizes of pets can be buried here, including deer, monkeys, snakes, and ferrets. If your pet needs to be put to sleep, Hillside also offers witnessed euthanasia. Its staff is available to help owners deal with losing a beloved pet. [400 Broadway, Methuen, 978-687-7453, www.mspca.org.]
Pet Memorial Park Some of New England's most modern equipment for animal cremation can be found here, in a 17-acre park of rolling hills. It's also the site of a bird sanctuary — home to robins, goldfinches, cardinals, and orioles. [400 South St., Foxborough, 508-543-0331, www.petmempark.com.]
Pine Ridge Cemetery for Animals The oldest continuously run pet cemetery in the country, the 27-acre Pine Ridge is home to the pets of such celebrities as Lizzie Borden, George Arliss, and Admiral Richard Byrd. Horses from the Boston Police Department's mounted unit are buried here, too. [55 Anna's Place at 238 Pine St., Dedham, 781-326-0729.]
Pleasant Mountain Pet Rest and Crematorium Prompt service so your family can find closure is what Pleasant Mountain is all about. The staff provides next-day pickup at the veterinarian's and will return your pet's cremated remains to the clinic within four days (excluding weekends). Burials are also performed promptly, and a poem, “The Rainbow Bridge,” is read during graveside memorial services. [76 Liberty St., Plymouth, 508-746-5550, www.petrestofplymouth.com.]
For pet owners who have, well, a little trouble letting go, taxidermy has emerged as an alternative to burial or cremation. Most Massachusetts taxidermists won't work on pets, or will jack up their prices to discourage extreme requests. (One local taxidermist tells us he was once asked to turn a tabby into a weighted doorstop; another confides that a customer wanted his dog's head mounted on a wall.) But for a select few pet owners, the process is one way to keep their best friends around — forever.
10 Point Taxidermy This taxidermist won't work on most domestic animals but has handled smaller critters such as ferrets. [222 Main St., Gloucester, 978-282-1979.] All Points Taxidermy studio Wild animals are the specialty here, but this company also mounts parakeets, iguanas, guinea pigs, and cats. Prices vary according to the animal's size and condition. [117 Littleton Rd., Acton, 978-772-6333.]