Downtown Miami Pet Sitter Spotlight: Susan Eskamani

Downtown Miami pet sitter

Downtown/Brickell Pet Sitter Spotlight: Susan Eskamani

At Equipaws, we have been dreaming about expanding our business in the Downtown Miami area for months. We have had many inquiries, but did not have the sufficient help in the area. That is where the newest member of our team Susan Eskamani comes in! Susan has gladly taken on the challenge of developing our business and caring for all new Downtown Miami and Brickell pets. This is an exciting step for our company and we couldn’t do it without her support and knowledge.

Susan’s Origin Story

Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Susan headed to Miami after graduating from the University of Alabama, where she majored in International Studies. She has always had a passion for animals  and has worked with them throughout her life; at a kennel, veterinary office and even Jungle Island right here in Miami.

Susan was looking for a new career in the animal world, stumbled upon Equipaws Pet Services, and began to research.  “I was impressed by their great reviews, earned rewards, and volunteer work for animals in Miami.  I was also intrigued by dog walkers and pet sitters being a part of a team and employees versus independent contractors.”  Susan was touched by the company’s mission and knew she would be a great fit for Equipaws as we share the same passion for animal care.

Why Susan loves to pet sit:

The best part of Susan’s day is walking into a smiling face and wagging tail greeting her at the door. Creating happiness and excitement for pets is the most rewarding part of her job. Her goal is to improve the wellbeing of all of our clients and expand her insight on cats and dogs.

Susan’s feathered family: Not only did Equipaws find a star Downtown Miami pet sitter, but Susan got a pet sitting service of her own! Currently, her babies are three Indian Ring Necks: Blue, Greenie, and Zima (which means “white” in Russian), whom she hand-raised from hatchlings. As a protective pet parent she has never traveled away from her feathered babies. Now, that she has Equipaws at her fingertips, she feels confident she can fly the coop and explore!

For any bird lovers, Susan recommends rubber toys and anything made of wood material that they can tear. Birds enoy any sort of fruit and nuts, and she keeps her birds stocked with these healthy treats!

When she’s not taking care of your pets in Brickell, Downtown Miami, and Coconut Grove, she is a veteran runner, spending most of her spare time jogging or cycling through the beautiful city of Miami.

Expert bird and small animal pet sitter:  In addition to her 30 years of bird care experience, she is highly educated with small fur babies, such as rabbits and guinea pigs! Susan can’t wait to expand her knowledge of working with all shapes and sizes of dogs, cats and other critters. We welcome her expertise and loving personality!  Her eager attitude to grow the company and work with animals was compelling, we couldn’t say no!

Dishes for Dogs: Local Small Biz Spotlight

Dishes for Dogs Miami

Dishes for Dogs: Canine Kitchen Spotlight Blog

While attending a local Dog Event held in Coconut Grove, The Equipaws team stumbled upon an up-and-coming company named Dishes For Dogs: Canine Kitchen. The business is based in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood and is committed to creating pet-friendly meals with local and fresh ingredients while providing a balanced diet for your pup. We know that nutrition is just as important as exercise and companionship are in keeping your pups fit, healthy, and happy- we’re excited to have such a healthy, local option to give our pets!

Who is Dishes for Dogs: Canine Kitchen?

Michael O’Rourke is the mastermind behind this concept and leading the local trend in healthy pup chow. We were fortunate enough to get the full story and his insight on Dishes for Dogs (or otherwise known as DFD).

The Inspiration: Ripley the Pomeranian


Ripley, Michael’s Pomeranian, is the star of the show and the reason Michael began this journey. He used to serve her the typical commercial dry and wet food as most pet parents do. “Over time I became concerned with some minor issues Ripley was exhibiting, such as poor coat and teary eyes. After a month of cooking for her, Ripley’s coat, eyes, and breath were 100% back to top standards.”

He couldn’t believe the difference in Ripley’s overall well-being and began to cook for friends and family who recognized similar symptoms with their pups. Michael now saw the correlation in cooking long term for dog’s and their health. Michael realized Miami didn’t have any healthy options for pet nutrition, so he took matters into his own hands, partnering with Dr. Justin Shmalberg, an animal nutritionist, and Dishes for Dogs was born. 

Animal Nutritionist on Board!

Dr. Shmalberg’s profile is impressive. He is a a board-certified specialist in both small animal clinical nutrition (DACVN) and canine rehabilitation and sports medicine (DACVSMR). “He was one of the first in the Midwest to own and operate a natural pet food store, and later received his veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” As if this wasn’t impressive enough, he has years of training at the University of Florida of Veterinary Medicine where he now is a faculty member specializing in nutrition, acupuncture, hyberbaric oxygen and rehabilitation.   

Who Runs the World- Dishes for Dogs? Mission and Philosophy

Dishes for Dogs Miami

Michael gave us a quick rundown of the structure behind his well-oiled machine. Michael and Mason Fox run the day-to-day business operations, who have been preparing their new store front. In addition, “Scott Oklin is in charge of marketing and sales. Wanda O’Rourke (Michael’s Mom!- editors) does most of the cooking with a bit of a helping hand from everyone.” Dr. Shmalberg is very involved in answering questions for clients, creating new recipes, and bouncing off new ideas with the team. “We pride ourselves on being a small but extremely dedicated team.” Michael says.

Everyone is very hands-on with understanding the needs of clients and are always open to questions and concerns. They stress the importance of portion control and educate clients on how much to feed their pup. Michael says, “One of the things we like to say is, “we aren’t making a product as much as we are providing a service.”

How to Choose the Right Diet for you Dog, DFD Style:

Dishes for dogs formulas


What is the right formula for your pooch? DFD offers delectable dishes such as Herb Roasted Turkey and Sweet Potato or Basil Beef with Peas, Pears, and Pearls. Those plates make my mouth water and are 100% human editable! As mentioned on their website, “Each meal is 100% free of preservatives, additives, artificial flavors, fillers or animal by-product.”  All dishes are made up of proteins and vegetables.

“In most cases, dogs are free to enjoy each of our standard meals! If a client’s dog has minor problems (allergies, skin issues, joint problems) we can either recommend one of our “Rx” meals or if it’s not as severe recommend a particular set of our standard meals.” If your pup needs specific care they encourage a consultation with Dr. Shmalberg.

Dishes for Dogs Success Stories!

We loved the proven results with Ripley and were intrigued on what other success stories DFD had experienced. Michael was happy to share! “One of our clients, who’s been with us from the very beginning is a little French Bulldog named Lola who was experiencing major skin issues. Her owner would take her to the vet a few times a month but couldn’t ever get the problem to cease consistently. While our Salmon and Lamb meals helped, it wasn’t until we released our Buffalo Bisque Rx Skin Support meal that Lola’s problems went away fully.” After report like this, the team is more driven to  improve health, brighten the lives of canines everywhere, and get the pups excited about food.

Dishes for Dogs delivers

Canine Kitchen under Construction:

Michael is focusing on their first store front in Wynwood with no plans on expansion…for now.  “While we have big dreams, it’s been such a process getting this one store open we can’t even begin to think of expanding right now.”

Does Dishes for Dogs Deliver?

Although they are not developing any other locations, they offer a handy delivery service. “We deliver within a 15 mile radius from our Canine Kitchen in Wynwood. The delivery charges are $5 within one mile from our store and $2 for each additional mile,” Michael explains.

We look forward to the success stories of more canine friends and clients who are benefiting from Dishes for Dogs. We wish them the best as they embark on the adventure of the next step of their business!


Meet the Brickell Bay Animal Hospital Family!

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital

Vet Spotlight: Brickell Bay Animal Hospital

The Brickell neighborhood in the heart of Miami is a thriving pet community. You can find pet parents and pups walking, running, playing fetch, and enjoying the city lifestyle almost all day. Who cares for the well-being of these pets? Our favorite local veterinarian, Dr. Greg Frishman, his wife Carla, and the dedicated team at Brickell Bay Animal Hospital (BBAH)!

Carla Frishman was kind enough to give Equipaws the inside scoop on this exceptional family-run veterinary practice. Their mission in opening their practice was to “own an animal hospital that had a true family feel with sincere, kind, and genuine doctors and staff members,” Carla tells us. They did just that in November 2012 when the hospital came to fruition.

Building Relationships, One Pet Parent at a Time

Dr. Frishman’s practice makes a major effort to stand out from the rest by making a personal connection with each client. Carla says, “His outstanding communication skills and ability to bond with pet owners while fully involving them in the decision-making process helps pet owners feel comfortable and confident with preventative care plans as well as treating their pets’ illnesses.” This way of thinking has given BBAH an incredible reputation in the community, and our own clients have only positive things to say.

Furthermore, “Building solid, sincere, and honest relationships with clients by fostering trust and mutual respect has helped solidify our hospital’s excellent reputation for enhancing the bond client’s share with their pets.” We love referring our clients to BBAH as they share our same core values of creating honest relationships and trust with the client, pet, and understanding everyone’s needs. They also maintain a consistent social media presence where they share tips on keeping your pup healthy, like in the image below! Check out their Facebook page for more tips.

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital Address and Services:

Conveniently located in The Plaza building on Brickell Bay Drive, this office cares for dogs and cats only. BBAH offers a variety of services to cater to your pets’ every need:

  • Wellness Services and Preventative Care
  • Hospitalization in the ICU
  • Surgeries
  • Dentals (including non-anesthetic dentals with Pet Friendly Dental Services)
  • Basic bathing services
  • Veterinary Supervised Boarding
  • Heartworm Prevention and Flea/Tick Control
  • Puppy and Kitten Vaccine Packages

Carla encourages clients to stop by and say hello. The staff always has a treat and extra TLC waiting for your pet. Also, they let pups hop on the lobby scale to ensure they keep a healthy weight.

A Boutique Experience

Not only can you receive wonderful services for your pet, but also stock up on any medication or health needs. “We have heartworm prevention, flea/tick control, dental care products, joint supplements and vitamins, and prescription foods and shampoos in stock. As a small, family-owned and operated business, we offer great prices on our products.”

Veterinarian Pro-Tip: Take Advantage of Rebates!

As a pro tip Carla suggest taking advantage of the rebates companies or vets offer. “What most people don’t know is that with the manufacturer’s rebates available to you only from your vet, our prices on heartworm prevention and flea/tick control are almost always lower than internet pharmacies. The sales of products allows us to keep our prices on veterinary services affordable and our families appreciate your business.”

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital staff

Who is Brickell Bay Animal Hospital?

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital has a great team that consists of three passionate and exceptional vets. Dr. Amanda DeCerce who specializes in internal medicine and dermatology, Dr. Amanda Walton who enjoys surgery and neurology, and Dr. Barbara Campos who is passionate about internal medicine and infectious disease. They strongly believe all doctors should work together. “Doctors collaborate on their cases and work well together to accomplish the ultimate goal of ensuring our patients receive the best health care.” Carla explains. Currently, BBAH has 15 fantastic employees and no plans of expansion.

How to Keep Your Brickell Pup Healthy?

As Brickell is a big happy animal community, spending time outdoors and coming into contact with many others is an everyday occurrence. Carla warns pet parents to watch out for, “the increased risk of exposure to disease (parasites, respiratory/skin/gastrointestinal infections).” She recommends regular exams by your veterinarian for ensuring that your pet remains healthy.

One pound of prevention…

Carla also added, “to keep dogs on monthly heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control, flea and tick control, as well as customizing a vaccine schedule that is tailored to your pet’s level of risk as dictated by their lifestyle.” Prevention of these issues is much better physically and emotionally for you and your pet.

Brickell Bay Animal Hospital team

How to Prepare for an Easy Vet Visit:

Carla has a great tip on preparing for a vet visit and that is to bring your pet in hungry! “We love to give lots of treats to make sure our patients have a positive and enjoyable visit with us. We love our cats, too and utilize special pheromone sprays, a soft towel on the exam table, and cat nip to minimize their anxiety.” Carla is spot on when she says “that vet visits for pets should be fun, easy, and stress free!”

Pet Health Insurance:

Insurance is not required by their office, but definitely recommended. Also, BBAH is happy to help set up clients with insurance companies. Carla says, “Visit our website ( or stop by our hospital for more information on some great companies that will help you protect your pet and give you peace of mind.”

How to Book Veterinary Care in Brickell:

Calling ahead and scheduling an appointment will ensure the best care for you and your pet. Of course emergency situations are not planned, but they ask for you to call ahead before rushing over. The doctors like to be as prepared as possible for your visit. You can reach BBAH by calling (786)-231-1111 or for general inquiries visit their website at

We love what Dr. Frishman and his team have done for the pet community and look forward to a what the future brings for this wonderful practice. Four paws up for these pet care professionals!