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Meet the four-legged BFFs of the humans who care for your pets

Charlie of Crunchies

Charlie’s Story

Crunchies Natural Pet Foods

by Julia Brewer, Crunchies owner

     In 2008 our lives changed forever. We were house hunting in South Anne Arundel County when a small beagle came out of the woods and started walking down the deserted road. We both saw him at the same time, looked at each other and knew immediately.

         We pulled over. He stopped walking and sat down. We ran down the road and picked him up. He was covered in fleas and ticks and looked so worn down it broke our hearts.

         He went back to Crunchies with us, and we called the vet. After trying to clean him up we put him in a crate on a bed until his appointment. When it was time to go and we pulled him out, he didn’t wake up. We thought he had passed away. He was just exhausted from his travels and probably had never had a soft spot to sleep.

         Turns out he was quite sick with many health problems including Lyme disease, heartworm and lots of buckshot throughout his body. From eating whatever he could find, his stomach was filled with bones that tore up his whole digestive tract. The vet was not sure he was going to survive and warned us not to get too attached.

         Yet in a few weeks of lots of love, lots of medications and good food, he was healthy enough to be neutered, helping control the pre-cancerous prostate cells that showed up.

         Charlie had very bad separation anxiety at first. For a few years, he never left our side. So he came with us to work, trade shows, business events, all family events and many stores. When we got married, he walked me down the aisle and was the belle of the ball for the whole weekend.

         At Crunchies, people have gotten to know Charlie. Every time someone came in and asked about him — too many times a day — he would come out of my office, where he would sleep, to visit and get a treat.

         He has been with us for nine years. Now that he knows that we would never abandon him, his separation anxiety is much better. I work from home most days, and he is semi-retired.

         His gray hair may show his age (around 15), but you would never know it. He has a holistic vet, Dr. Alison Key, who gives him acupuncture every month, and he also sees a chiropractor. Some months he has a cold laser and massage treatment. He sleeps on a memory foam bed and likes to have clean sheets and his bed made up every day. His grandmother even bought him a silk pillow to lay his head on.

         From a hunting dog shot and left in the woods to die to silk pillows and clean sheets: His life has changed quite a bit.

         As it turns out, that trip to South County was the best thing that ever happened to us.

Crunchies Natural Pet Foods: Guiding to good food choices for your pets based on weight, age, preferences and routine. 2421 Crofton Ln., Suite 11, Crofton; 410-721-5432; www.crunchies.com


In Business for Dogs … and Cats

Puppylicious Gourmet

by Joyce Amigo, owner

     Four years ago I took my seven-year-old Yorkie, Mya, to the vet after her daily behavior and habits changed. Based on non-stop water drinking and urinating, I assumed she had a urinary tract infection. We learned she was diabetic and that her diet was in need of an immediate change. No longer could she be given just any store-bought treats, particularly those not made in the U.S.A. So we began daily insulin injections and to watch her diet, including treats.

         Last year, after my family welcomed mini-goldendoodles puppies into our lives, I wanted to make sure we started them out eating healthier. On a whim came the idea of making healthy treats. I fell in love with the idea and have since moved full force ahead, continuing to come up with and create a variety of healthy all-natural homemade dog treats.

         All of the treats are all natural and homemade, with no added sugars, salts or any preservatives. Because all treats are made-to-order when the order is placed, I have the flexibility to change the size of treats for small fur-babies to large dogs, as well as able to change any flour or ingredient for those who need grain or gluten free. I do my best to incorporate organic and fresh local Maryland grown products when available. I am beginning to work on cat treats for the purr-babies.

Puppylicious Gourmet: All-natural homemade made-to-order dog and cat treats with no sugars or preservatives added. Located locally in Anne Arundel County serving all surrounding counties. Free shipping and delivery.  www.puppyliciousgourmet.com


To Good Listeners, the Animals Speak

Dog-Gone Groomers

by Trish Klasson, owner

      Pets are amazing. Those who are fortunate to have had one know what I am talking about. They speak to you with their eyes, the tilt of the head and a wag of their tails.

         Bianca, a Maltese, stared intently at me after I clipped the tiny hairs around her lips.

         “I got them,” I said.

         She licked her lips and pushed her face at me.

         “What?”

         She moved right in front of me and did it again.

         So I lifted up her lip, and there I found the tiny hair I had missed. I quickly shaved it.

         She stepped back, fluffed herself up, licked her lip and looked at me as if to say finally!

         I laughed and shook my head.

         When the dog lets you know you missed something, well that is why I love my job so much. To me it’s not work. It’s just another day of making a pet look his or her best.

         Since I was six years old, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Animals were my love, and I had a way with them. A misguided college counselor advised me to follow another path as veterinarian medicine was predominately a male career back in the 1970s. A friend suggested becoming a groomer, but my parents pushed college, fearing I couldn’t make a living as a pet groomer.

         Years later, married and living in Annapolis, I found myself looking for a new job. I wanted work that would be fun and tap into my creative side. In 1990, I began my new entrepreneur career as owner of Dog-Gone Groomers, Inc. a mobile pet grooming salon.

         At the time, there was only one, perhaps two, mobile groomers in the area, so I decided to go to Montgomery County to start up my business, with areas of Anne Arundel County as my secondary location. Equipped with a customized van, I drove to my client’s home, plugged into an outlet and professionally groomed their dog or cat in the driveway of their home in approximately one hour.

         Within six months I had a waiting list. That was 27 years ago. My mother eats her words now.

         I have met some wonderful pets and their owners. Many of my clients are like close friends and it is never easy when they move or their pets pass away. For me, it is like losing a family member.

Dog-Gone Groomers: Mobile pet-grooming salon specializing in small breeds of dogs and cats. 410-757-5676; 301-858-7220; http://doggonegroomersmobile.com


The Lucky Duck Pack

Lucky Duck Pet Stuff

by Carla Wynn,

Pack Leader and Shop Owner

      Lucky Duck Pet Stuff is stuffed with pets, all rescued and adopted. Taking turns in the shop are dogs — in order of size — Kemie, the great Dane, our Danish Diva; Charlie, the blind Italian greyhound; Taffy, the Chug (Chihuahua & pug mix); and Pocket the Chihuahua. Two cats, Athena and Stripes, come to the shop too.

         This large pack, including the cats, snuggles together when they sleep. Charlie curls under the covers and is a foot warmer, Pocket gargles and coos like a baby, Taffy tucks under Carla’s arm, one cat takes each the pillow and the 180-pound great Dane blends in with the rest. All know when it is bedtime.

Lucky Duck Pet Stuff: Products include foods and treats, supplies, grooming supplies gifts for animal lovers, animal jewelry, artwork and fun stuff. Services include grooming and pet sitting. 3723 Chesapeake Beach Rd., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-5080


I Make Your Pets Feel at Home When You’re Away

Anchors Away Pet Sitting

by Kayla Zinn, principal

      Animals are part of my life. I make my home with Rocky, a black-and-tan coonhound mix, Rory, a black Labrador retriever, and Boatswain (not pictured).

         My business began by chance back in 2011. Working as a vet tech, I was asked to watch a client’s dog, a German shepherd. People and animals bonded. We became such good friends that they were in my wedding. With such a good start, I continued pet sitting at owners’ homes. Since buying my own house, I typically bring pets into my home, though I have some availability for sitting in owner’s homes.

         My passion is orthopedics and rehabilitation, so my goal is to be a rehab technician for an orthopedic veterinarian.

Anchors Away Pet Sitting: We provide a home away from home for your pets — plus pictures to keep you in touch while you’re away. 443-608-9306; www.facebook.com/anchorsawaypetsitting


Love Lets a Pet Flourish

Perfect Pet Resort

By Elizabeth Chaney, owner

     Grammy, the spirited American Staffordshire terrier, is Perfect Pet Resort’s resident office pet. Her origin is a bit of a mystery, but she has come to call Perfect Pet Resort home over the years. Grammy has captured the heart of every employee as well as clients who see her day in and day out, observing from her suite. At almost 14 years old, Grammy spends her days lounging in her suite or in the offices, soaking up sun and enjoying being spoiled by everyone. Cuddle time is certainly her most favorite time of day. Watching Grammy zoom around the office in an excitement-fueled frenzy is a memory we will treasure forever.

         Our fondest memories amongst guests are watching them flourish. Seeing a shy dog or a young puppy walk through the doors timid and leave happy and confident warms our hearts. Each guest becomes like family and we are excited and thrilled to see them grow.

Perfect Pet Resort: At Perfect Pet Resort, we pair an attentive and professional staff with safe, resort-like surroundings to create happiness for pets and their people. Here, furry friends find a caring team who love to interact with them, treating them to structured days filled with plenty of healthy exercise and rest. 840 West Bay Front Rd., Lothian; 410-741-0000; ­www.perfectpetresort.com


We Followed a Dog to Our Destiny

Pepper’s Pet Pantry

by Mary Beth Gates, owner

        Abandoned animals brought me where I am today.

         Pepper, a terrier mix dumped in the high desert of southern California, found her way to me in 2001 when I was having a serious bout of depression. She changed my life forever. I started baking organic dog biscuits for her, as I have always found baking to be therapeutic. After many trials and errors, she finally gave me four paws up on the recipes I created and registered.

         We lost Pepper in 2007, but she was there to see the opening of our first store. This business has evolved to much more than I would have ever expected, all because of this sweet dog no one wanted.

         Shy-Anne, our friendly store kitty, was also dumped. At our first store, she survived among the feral cat colony. She has been our wonderful companion cat and the perfect store pet for over 10 years. When she doesn’t want to be around people, she climbs onto high shelves and sleeps on the most expensive dog beds. Often, you will find her sleeping in the front windows warming herself in the sun.

Pepper’s Pet Pantry: Our friendly, knowledgeable staff helps you choose the right quality pet foods and supplies for your pet. We also offer a self-service dog wash.13372 HG Truman Rd., Solomons; 410-326-4006; www.pepperspetpantry.com


How Mocha Joined Our Staff

Muddy Creek Animal Hospital

by Katelyn Bergstrom

      Last summer my fiancé and I started looking for a pet in need of a good and loving home. In an online adoption/rescue ad, we saw pictures of Mocha (aka Mo), who was the breed that we wanted and very cute.

         Her owner, a single mother and police officer with an unpredictable schedule, did not have the schedule or finances to raise a seven-month-old pup.

         I called that very afternoon, joining a list of seven callers interested in the little shih-tzu/Yorkie mix. Having made the decision, Mocha’s owner wanted to be done with it.

         We needed to act fast.

         Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, Mike and I met Mocha’s owner at a Starbucks near her house in Capital Heights.

         Competition was high, and we were anxious. So I played my best cards. I said her pup would join me on the staff of the animal hospital where I worked so she would be loved by not only us but the entire staff.

         That advantage got us past the first hurdle.

         When Mocha jumped out of the car full of excited energy, I was won over by her loving spirit. “I can’t leave without her,” I told Mike. “I love her already.”

         That must have been what her previous owner was waiting to hear because just like that, Mocha was ours — along with proof of her rabies, bags of food, water bowls, her bed and her two favorite toys.

         Her first visit to Muddy Creek Animal Hospital was two days later for examination, spaying and vaccines. In the months since then, everyone at the hospital has fallen in love with her.

         Mocha’s personality has blossomed since we got her. When she isn’t working with me at Muddy Creek Animal Hospital, she enjoys taking road trips and boat rides, playing Frisbee, fetching tennis balls, pushing a basketball, playing hide and seek and sleeping. She brings happiness to everyone she meets.

         Mo came into our lives at the perfect time.

      Muddy Creek Animal Hospital: The kind of place where every animal is treated as if it were our own pet.

         We practice high quality medicine and surgery. Appointments are 30 minutes long so the doctor can take a complete medical history and answer all owners’ questions about their pets. A doctor and technician are always present for surgery and dental patients. Temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, Co2 levels, O2 saturation are constantly monitored. We provide the most current methods of pain management for our patients, including acupuncture and cold laser therapy. Muddy Creek Animal Hospital is AAHA accredited. Based on some 900 standards of veterinary excellence, that’s a standing shared by only 12 percent of animal hospitals in the U.S. 5558 Muddy Creek Rd., West River; 410-867-0770; www.muddycreekanimalhospital.com


We Cater to Pets with ­Personality

Kevertin Pet Resort

by Kay Clear, Manager and Day Care Supervisor

     Three office pets help us run ­Kevertin Pet Resort. Flo the toy poodle handles the meet-and-greet job. Mona, a 13-year-old Akita, keeps our tempers sweet. Pita, a beagle mix, supplies attitude.

Kevertin Pet Resort: Situated on 30 acres of land on the picturesque Eastern Shore, Kevertin Pet Resort is a dog’s paradise serving all-natural meals. Friendly, experienced staff makes sure all guests get plenty of exercise and TLC, including a daily walk, several fun outings in the play yards and Yappy Hour. Groomers are trained in all breeds and both have over 10 years experience. Grooming equipment includes hydraulic tables, walk-in tub and a clipper vac system for even haircuts. 8623 Mullet Branch Rd., Easton; 410-822-8161; www.kevertinpetresort.com


Pets Make Our Business Fun

Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat

by Audrey Reichardt, owner

      The day our puppy pool opened is one of our best memories. At our big grand opening Yappy Hour, the day was filled with joyful pups running and splashing around the yard and through the pool. Seeing the dogs enjoy a bone-shaped swimming pool created just for them was awesome. Owners and staff at Dogwood Acres enjoyed the day as much as the dogs.

         We have people who come to Dogwood because of our puppy pool and people who rent it out for their dog’s birthday party. It is such a fun part of what we do.

         Pets keep our business fun. We have lots of pets that visit while their owners are working or away. Our in-house office pet, Billy Bob the cat, is known for his loving, friendly nature and predictable attendance at every company meeting.

Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat: Offering premium pet lodging, doggie daycare bathing, and in-house dog training for both individual pets and groups. We are best known for customized amenities and activities, including a bone-shaped dog pool and acres of serene wooded land available for nature trails and playtimes. There is plenty of outdoor space for each guest to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine outside as well as top-of the-line guest accommodations inside. 439 West Central Ave., Davidsonville; 410-798-4776; www.dogwoodacres.com


Catwoman Is the Boss

SPCA of Anne Arundel County

by Kelly Brown, president

       Among our several office cats, Catwoman is known to every visitor to the administration building.

         Years ago, she was surrendered to the SPCA. Terrified, thin and nursing a litter of six kittens, she needed some extra attention. Board president Kelly Brown opened up her office to this sweet little cat, and for months, Catwoman hid under the furniture. Eventually after being coaxed out with the promise of cat treats and loving attention, Catwoman regained her trust in people. No longer timid, she greets every visitor to the office, and is affectionately referred to as the boss.

The SPCA of Anne Arundel County: Provideing compassionate care to the thousands of homeless animals that enter the shelter each year. 1815 Bay Ridge Ave., Annapolis; 410-268-4388; ­www.aacspca.org


Nothing ­Succeeds Like Success

Mobile Pet Vet

by Robin Hennick, head technician

        We have so many stories after 14 years in practice …

         A success story I specifically remember features a pit bull terrier mix. We had been seeing her off and on for mild arthritis for several years when we got a call that she was unable to move her back legs or walk. As an added complication, her family was away on vacation out of state.

         The dog’s initial home visit and subsequent MRI revealed that she had ruptured a disc in her spine. The poor thing was paralyzed and could not feel anything from her waist down. Prognosis without major surgery was poor.

         Dr. Beagan treated her with electroacupuncture, a treatment that involves stimulating acupuncture points with electric pulses. She had success treating this type of injury in the past. After just two acupuncture treatments, we started to see improvement. The first thing we saw was that the dog was able to wag her tail and feel her feet. By the time her family came home from their vacation, she was up and walking.

         A year later she is living a normal and active life. Being able to treat her at home when her family wasn’t even in town was key to her recovery.

Mobile Pet Vet: A full-service house-call veterinary practice, we offer all traditional veterinary services such as routine check ups and vaccinations, as well as senior pet care, sick patient visits, in-home medical treatments and hospice care, laboratory testing and consultations. Dr. Lisa Beagan is a licensed veterinary acupuncturist, and we also offer acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy and nutrition consultations.  410-544-8300; www.MobilePetVet.com


From Homeless to Puppy Bowl

Chesapeake Paws

by Gwen Rogers Jones, owner

       I’ve dedicated almost my entire life to animals of all kinds, as my parents will tell you. Being a fosterer for over seven years (approximately 200 fosters through Operation Paws for Home Dog Rescue) was a key factor in my opening Chesapeake Paws.

         We’ve had many pets come through our door since opening Chesapeake Paws. Most recently we had two abandoned kittens needing help. How could I say no? Karma, who was trapped on a farm, recently was adopted locally. Come in and you will be greeted by Lettie, who is seeking a home. She’s got a lot of personality, so you won’t miss her.

         Two of my litter of 12 foster dogs were selected for Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s Super Bowl-themed television pet adoption show, and we traveled together to New York City for filming.

Chesapeake Paws: Celebrating its second year in business, Chesapeake Paws pet boutique prides itself on keeping up with the highest quality foods and treats for your fur kids as well as highest quality and locally sourced products, including grain free and raw. Profits from the new Warsh House go directly to local pet charities. Leashed pets are always welcome. 5504 Muddy Creek Rd., West River; 443-223-2532; www.facebook.com/Chesapeake-Paws-395360203989356