Just in case you need an escape from living in paradise, there's The Inn at Lake Joseph in Sullivan County, an old-fashioned resort that welcomes you and your dogs with open arms. Located in resplendent (and aptly named) Forestburgh, there's access to a 2,000-acre forest preserve, and the inn sits on a 250-acre lake: it's a doggie paradise, and dogs are welcome to stay with you in one of the roomy cabins and cottages. Check the website for human charges; the pet charge, cleverly put, is $6.25 per leg per night.
Heading on a vacay without the dog? Don't feel guilty: send them on their own. Pet n Play Resort in Newburgh offers luxury packages for your dog and cat, as well as a Splash n Play doggy water park—serious fun for the summer. Puppies get special lodging in a safe puppy nursery, and among the many amenities are private rooms with doggie cams (so you can keep an eye on you pet), grooming, tooth brushing, and transportation for your pet—even all the way to New York City. Owned by a vet, it's adjacent to Middlehope Veterinary Hospital, just in case. Nightly rates start at $28 for cats as well as dogs.
A kennel you can count on
Countless dog and cat owners in the area rely on Club Pet in Lake Katrine. This traditional style kennel has a huge heart and comforts galore. Dogs get indoor-outdoor runs, central air conditioning, plenty of access to the outdoors, as well as regular hand walks, bedtime treats, and playtime. Cats have a quiet private dog-free space, treats and cuddle time. The kennel (and top-shelf groomer too) has a dog and cat-obsessed staff that can cater to all your pet's needs, and gives special attention to older dogs. Nightly rates start at $15 for cats, $24 for dogs.
B&B for felines
Board your kitties in a home away from home at Pussyfoot Lodge B&B and Pet Sitting Service in Stone Ridge, where life is stress-free (no cages!). The atmosphere is feline-friendly: quiet, peaceful, with plenty of room and lots of things to climb, with tantalizing views of gardens and wildlife, and plenty of love and attention. Stays range from a minimum of four days to several months, and there's door-to-door transportation: they'll pick up and drop off your felines (one less thing to worry about). From $20 a night.
Woodstock's own Woofstock Companion Animal Supply swears by this stuff, and so do its fans: Anti-Icky-Poo is made out of a concentrate of protein-devouring bacterial enzymes, originally developed for mortuaries. Whatever kind of mess your critter has just expunged, it works efficiently and effectively—including tomcat pee, dog barf, and worse. How long it lasts depends on entirely on how many critters you've got, and what exactly they're doing, but a little bit goes a long way. 32 ounces $19.95; one gallon, $42.95.
Groomer makes house calls
Does Scruffy hate going to the groomer? Then bring the groomer to you. Roaming Mobile Dog Groomer, based in Wallkill, serves Orange, southern Ulster, and central Dutchess Counties, and hauls its fully outfitted grooming salon to you. Basic services include shampoo, nails, ears, blowouts, external anal gland expression, and a blueberry facial. Extras include special cuts and emergency de-skunking. The owner's been involved in making dogs beautiful for years—your dog will be in capable hands. $75 and up for a full groom.
You're helping a whole shelter's full of dogs, cats, farm animals, and exotic pets when you head into Happy Paws Thrift Store in Saugerties. Clean, well-lit, with a friendly staff, there's a bit of everything here at low, low, low prices: vintage and lightly used clothing and accessories; housewares (including collectible green glass at last visit); bookcases filled with great books; lots of toys and kid stuff; sewing notions; and even furniture and décor. The shop's proceeds benefit the Ulster County SPCA, an entirely privately funded nonprofit devoted to doing right by our furred and feathered friends. Speaking of which, if you don't have a dog or cat yet and you're reading this column, consider adopting or fostering from this great shelter. They've got so many sweet souls just hoping for a chance to show their love.
Most dog fun ever (wet)
For some some rip-roaring, splashy excitement, bring your dog to Hudson Valley Dock Dogs (HVDD) in Millerton, and see if you two have got what it takes. Dock diving involves a dock, a swimming pool, a toy hurled into the air, and a dog raring to go. It's extreme sports for canines—and great for fetch-obsessed, water-loving pups. Of course there's more to it, but the only way to find out, as a dog would say, is to give it a shot.
Most dog fun ever (dry)
Channel that four-legged bundle of energy with agility classes at Nancy Banask's Hi-Top dog training in Hurley, Kingston, and Rhinebeck. Running a course that's a veritable doggie playground (weave poles, tunnel, seesaw, jumps) requires some obedience, to be sure. But it's also a great workout, and the bond you form as you make your dog-and-handler dash is forged on pure fun. All breeds can have a blast, from wee to giant. Agility classes from basic to competition level, $125-$130.
The nose knows
Two things about dogs: their sense of smell is at least a thousand times stronger than ours, and they love to use their nose. A new sport called Canine Nose Work capitalizes on that very canine asset, and gives your dog the ultimate mental and physical fix. The scent and search game is easy to learn and a joy to practice. You start with a game of hide and go seek, with a treat or toy hidden in one of several boxes. The dog naturally seeks it out and the activity builds from there. Try it out in Rhinebeck at Sirius Play Dogs, where trainer Polly Kaplan is the only certified Canine Nose Work instructor in Dutchess County. Introductory classes series, $150.
They are what they eat
Forget those industrial mysteries molded into the shape of bones. These healthy treats are actually made of food (and according to my taste-testers they’re delicious).
Chicken and organic sweet potato treats are yummy, especially served in the eco-awesome paper bag packaging of Meaty Mugs dog treats. Human-grade, untainted, preservative-free, and simply made in small batches, these are treats you can feel good about. Plus the Hyde Park company’s also developed a repurposed fire hose tug toy — great for getting your dog’s ya-yas out, and super durable. Treats, $19.99 a bag; fire hose tugs, medium $19.99, large, $25.99
Yes: ice cream for dogs, only really for dogs: grain free, low calorie, creamy-delicious Puppy Scoops come ready to mix and freeze right in the container. Pooch-appealing flavors include Maple Bacon, $9.50. Get it at Red Hook’s Pause Dog Boutique, which also stocks everything from great pet food to toys to a huge selection of leashes and collars, ritzy to rugged. There are also clever pet-themed gifts, like the hand-and-paw “Together We’re Better” stickers and magnets, $5. Beauty and health items include ever-useful Rescue Remedy for pets, $24.00; and specialty items like Earthbath Eye Wipes, $12.50.