It’s summer, and we all know what that means – we’re going to frolic outside. Kids get to spend the days playing tag (yes – I am showing my age), blowing bubbles, splashing in backyard pools or running through the sprinkler, chowing down on ice cream at the playground…and the evenings catching fireflies. Those higher on the age scale indulge in athletic pursuits or laze on the patio with a cool drink in a frost-dappled glass (or both). And what about those other members of the family? I’m speaking of the kind with fur and feathers…especially those whose first language is Bark. They love Outside too. Now’s as good a time as any to make sure they feel and look their best before those long summer trips and romps.
West Haven boasts professionals who love taking care of your pet. Angel Animal Hospital and Pet Hotel has been caring for our beloved beasts for the past 41 years. Dr. Adel Saleh was a member of the second graduating class of the veterinarian program at Cairo University, a program started there by Oxford University. Coming to Philadelphia in 1977, Dr. Saleh worked with a practice there and after passing the boards, learned that Connecticut needed veterinarians. He worked at a practice in Fairfield, then opened his own practice in 1981 right here on Elm Street near Campbell Avenue.
On any given day there’s a pile of felines, canines and sometimes other critters in the doctor’s waiting room, being entertained by the African Grey and several other loquacious parrots (one of whom seems to enjoy repeating “Hello” even if he gets an answer).Dr. Saleh’s son, who works at the practice along with his wife, explains that the place is popular because of the strong dedication to transparency. “We explain everything, we would never just say ‘give him this’ – we explain the entire situation so the client understands.” People also appreciate the fact that “we won’t do anything that’s not necessary” – e.g., those extras that might be nice, but aren’t needed, and add up. “Economical is a good way to put it,” he continues.
Economical doesn’t mean basic, however. Angel does it all, including wellness checks and vaccines, internal medicine (cardiology, digestive, respiratory and urology), orthopedics, bone and ligament reconstruction, cancer treatment and chemotherapy, dental, obesity management, dermatology, and behavioral therapy (for anxiety, fear, aggression, isolation and spraying). And of course there’s the Pet Hotel where your friend can be comfortably boarded if your summer fun takes you somewhere he or she can’t join you.
Dr. Saleh treats dogs, cats, and birds, along with ferrets and rabbits and other small animals (the only pets not treated there are reptiles and amphibians). And every one of those creatures will be treated professionally and greeted warmly with Dr. Saleh’s trademark “Hello my friend!” Oh, and of course, the hello from the resident parrot.
Taking a right onto Campbell from Angel Animal Hospital, and continuing almost to the shoreline, one arrives at DeTails Dog Grooming, where Heather LeClaire is putting the finishing touches on pooches large and small.
Heather has been grooming pups for 22 years. “I started after leaving art school,” she says. “My father told me I needed to figure out what I wanted to do, or get out of the house.” She laughs. “I was working at a mom and pop pet shop at the time.” The shop was considering adding grooming to their offerings, so Heather looked into it – and while the shop never added it to their repertoire, she certainly did.
As for why Heather chose West Haven as her base of operations, she explains that she was working at the West Haven Animal Clinic and she wanted to stay in town “near the water!” because she liked it so much. She’s been at her current Campbell Avenue location across from Biagetti’s for almost three years.
DeTails is a full service groomer; the basic package includes a bath with all-natural shampoos (including specialty shampoos for dermatological conditions if required), haircut (if applicable), ear cleaning, nail clipping, finishing spray…and a spiffy bandanna to boot. Unless a pup doesn’t care for it, all dogs are hand dried.
Explaining what makes DeTails different, LeClaire explains that the shop is “one on one…it has a living room feeling when you come in.” LeClaire only has one dog in the shop at a time (unless she is working with multiple dogs from the same household). She goes on to note that this is very unusual – “unless it’s a mobile groomer, you don’t see this often”. As a result, her shop is cage free. There is a small alcove with a dog bed if a dog wants to relax, but there are no dogs in cages awaiting their turn. This dials way down the anxiety factor some pups have about a strange place – especially one with a bath in the offing. LeClaire sums it all up succinctly: “It feels like the dog is at home,”
And to end, a word from your canine companion: Frisbee! Leash! Put the newspaper down and let’s go! Ah yes, these are truly the Dog Days.