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Dogs' Best Friend

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When she was 8 years old, Michelle Ingram, owner of Zeus' Place (4601 Freret St., 304-4718), was asked on a questionnaire what she wanted to do with her life. She wrote a simple declarative sentence: "I want to take care of pets."

Ingram is living her dream with her new pet boarding and grooming shop housed in the former Eve's Market. It all began this past February when she was driving down Freret Street with her husband and saw the building for sale.

"How would you like to invest all of our life savings in a pet-boarding shop?" Ingram asked. Her husband agreed and Ingram's shop, named after her late chocolate Labrador Retriever, Zeus, soon opened. As an animal lover and rescuer of abandoned and abused animals, Ingram provides skillful and compassionate care for pets.

Dogs are walked at least five times a day in the backyard, which is a half a block long. Two of Ingram's assistants spend most of the day taking the dogs out back, giving them belly rubs and constantly playing fetch.

For safety's sake, cages and kennels are routinely disinfected, water and food bowls aren't shared, floors are mopped three times a day, and all animals must have up-to-date vaccination records.

Ingram accommodates pets' owners as much as possible. There's the contractor's special for people who need to have their animals elsewhere while their house is being repaired. If you board more than one pet, Ingram charges half price for the second animal. She also has a full-time dog groomer on site. You want to check on Fido, but you can't get away from the office? Log on to www.zeusplace.com and watch your pet on a Web cam.

Ingram knew opening the shop was a gamble, but the bet has paid off; Zeus' Place has been a howling success. Pet owners are happy and, most important, the canine boarders give the shop four paws up.

New Old Market The
French Market is undergoing a facelift aimed at making it more attractive and competitive in the marketplace, while at the same time retaining its authenticity as what some claim is America's oldest public market. The French Market Revitalization Project will include physical improvements that will benefit both vendors and visitors; it should be completed by October 2007.

Kent Lee waits to play catch and get a belly rub at Zeus' - Place. - DAVID WINKLER-SCHMIT

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