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Top Spots in Town for Four-Legged Friends

Top Spots in Town for Four-Legged Friends

Yard Bar, PAZ Veterinary and Taurus Academy make it easy to pamper your pup this summer

By Katerina Cotroneo
Photos by Weston Carls

There is no greater relief than knowing “man’s best friend” is in great hands. Just as you’d like for yourself, your dog deserves the highest quality of care — and these three favorite spots don’t disappoint. Whether you’re in need of  a vet, a daycare or even a leash-free bar for a puppy hour, head to one (or all) of the destinations below!

PAZ Veterinary Clinic

PAZ Veterinary Clinic was started on the principle that financial barriers and snooty white-coated veterinarians should not stand in the way of a healthy life for your furry friend. Today they have four stunning locations throughout Austin where their reputation for both Eastern and Western approaches to treatment are highly esteemed. Who doesn’t want to bring their pet to a friendly, collaborative and holistic environment? The medicine is excellent, and the client experience is very different — it doesn’t look like an animal hospital.

“We don’t wear the white coats — we hire a very diverse group of people, and our happiness in the office is off the charts which radiates to the clients,” says Nicki Johnston, COO of PAZ. “We never make anyone feel guilty, and our authenticity puts people and pets at ease,” says Nicki. Different modalities of medicine are available, so the client doesn’t have just one option to choose from. From acupuncture to antibiotics, your pet is in good care at PAZ.

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You can’t put a dollar sign on compassion, but you certainly get what you pay for and more when it comes to PAZ. The value system they live by is transparency — their rooms are designed so that the owners can see or be in the room while the pet is being examined and taken care of, which isn’t necessarily the case everywhere else. They also have a veterinary behaviorist, which is incredible since there are only 80 in the United States. The #1 reason pets get put down is behavior, and it’s great to have a behaviorist on staff to help that number go down. They will help as many pets be the best they can be, and that is what PAZ is all about.

Taurus Academy

Taurus Academy, established in 1994, was the first of its kind before doggy daycare was even really coined. Taurus offers structured play with reinforced boundaries and is ahead of the curve of most business models of “all-day play” with tools such as red light/green light doors. They even offer grooming options to complete the well-rounded dog care.

“There is a danger to free play with a higher probability of your dog being bit or severely hurt, and at Taurus, it’s more contained and more structured. With a max of ten dogs per yard that are constantly being monitored by a trained professional, your animal is in great care,” says Billy Graham who runs Taurus.

It is an extension of home life for your dog, not an anxiety-filled, scary, jaillike facility. Especially with so many rescue dogs in Austin with the possibility of trauma in their backgrounds, this environment won’t send them back to those memories. People trust Taurus because it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that goes out of its way to provide a homey, happy environment instead.

“We do everything we can; we are friends and neighbors, and every pet that comes in, we just want to give them and their owner’s the tools to improve their lives and behavior to ensure they stay out of the shelter for good.” Taurus Academy certainly lives up to the Academy name and standard.

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Awarded through the “Austin Chronicle” readers poll four years in a row (and hoping for five) as “best doggy daycare in Austin,” it’s no surprise that Taurus was chosen by the City of Austin to be paired with Austin-Bergstrom Airport to found Bark and Zoom! Bark and Zoom is every traveler’s saving grace. Picture Taurus but at the airport where you can take a shuttle to and from the actual boarding gate and directly to your pet. And if there is any layover, there is a particular area for your dog. You don’t have to worry about your furry friend! This multi-million dollar project subsidized by the city was meant to recognize how much Austinites love their pets and encompass the vibes of Austin. Your pet can enjoy a good grooming, brain games, enhanced training and anything the other Taurus locations have to offer. Plus, it’s 24/7, so you can get your pup as soon as your plane lands.

Yard Bar

Yard Bar is a beloved Austin hot spot equipped with a dog park, bar, restaurant and even fun events. There is no better feeling than looking down at your puppy when getting ready to head out the door for a happy hour and bringing them along with you for a change! They won’t just sit under the table, tied up. They’ll actually run around and have a happy hour of their own, which makes it even more special!

For the safety of pups, there are of course regulations. All dogs playing in the park must be spayed or neutered, up-to-date on all vaccinations, and at least four months old. Off-leash dog parks are an excellent way for dogs to get their energy out, lay beneath a shady umbrella, or play with new doggy friends. The possibilities are endless at Yard Bar for two-legged and four-legged clientele alike. Whether you want to be active throwing around the frisbee or relaxing with a cocktail and your cocker spaniel, any dog at any age will love it here.