At Zeus' Place (4601 Freret St., 504-304-4718; www.zeusplace.com), framed photos of pups line the tangerine-hued walls like family portraits brightening a home. This welcoming atmosphere is a subtle indicator of the business' threefold purpose: grooming and boarding pets, and rescuing animals that need a home.
Owner Michelle Ingram opened Zeus' Place in March 2006. She was eager to rehabilitate local animals throughout the city, which was in the early stages of recovery from Hurricane Katrina. "Rescuing animals is my true love," says Ingram, who has rescued animals since the late 1990s. "At that time, there was a real need for helping animals around New Orleans."
Ingram took on the store's first rescue case before the business opened. While the shop was undergoing remodeling, a man pulled up to the storefront with a litter of Rottweiler puppies yelping in his trunk. "He was looking to get rid of the dogs," Ingram says. "They were dehydrated and overheated." The team at Zeus' Place revived the dogs, named each one after a New Orleans Saints player and placed them in homes. Zeus' Place upholds that mission today, taking on both highly adoptable animals and more difficult cases from local shelters. The store currently has seven kittens, eight adult cats and four dogs available for adoption.
Zeus' Place provides boarding and doggie daycare services Monday through Friday, hosting an average of 60 to 70 animals at a time. The shop accommodates both short-term and long-term stays, and reservations are preferred. Though they usually take only dogs and cats, the store has served as a temporary pad for pigs, birds, rabbits, a rooster and a bearded dragon, among other critters. Anxious pet-owners can check on their furbabies online, viewing footage from the boarding area's 22 webcams. The spacious pet pens sport whimsical monikers like Palm Beach and Martha's Vineyard, so pets can experience a fun-filled retreat even if they can't go on vacation with their owners.
The shop also offers grooming. Groomers Randi Boudin and Jany Casillas have worked at Zeus' Place since 2009. Their services include baths, flea dips, nail trimming, haircuts and teeth cleaning. "They take their time, and they really love the animals," Ingram says.