Beast of the Bay 2011

More than 3,600 ballots were submitted in this year’s contest and we learned as much about great Bay Area dog stuff from our voters as they said they learned from us.

Of course there are MANY local dog people, places, and products worthy of mention – enough to fill several editions of this paper. We hope the non-winners know that they too are appreciated for helping to make the San Francisco Bay Area a dream locale for dog lovers. The list of winners starts below; also see the bottom of the Wag column on page 4 for some of the comments made by voters. Now that the voting is over, let’s celebrate!


Best thing to happen to SF / Bay Area dogs in 2010:

Obama is still President17.5%
Meg Whitman lost 30.8%
Upper Douglass Park enclosure 18.2%
Bay Area weather 33.4%


Best Dog Park:

Duboce Park, SF Recreation & Parks—6.2%
Bernal Hill, SF Recreation & Parks—7.1%
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, East Bay Regional Parks District—41.4%

Fort Funston, Golden Gate National Recreation Area—45.3%
500 Skyline Blvd., San Francisco


Best Hiking Trail:

Ft. Funston, GGNRA—37.0%
Dunn Trail, EBRPD—5.9%
Bernal Hill, SF Recreation & Parks—10.3%

Redwood Regional Park Trail, EBRPD—46.8%
7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland


Best View with a Dog:

Stinson Beach, GGNRA—31.9%
Dolores Park, SF Recreation & Parks—12.9%
Buena Vista Park, SF Recreation & Parks—14.2%

Crissy Field, GGNRA—41.0%
603 Mason Street at Hwy. 101, Marina District, San Francisco

No wonder our readers gave Crissy Field innumerable thumbs up. Offering one of the most iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, it is the ultimate recreation spot for hounds and humans. This paradise for pups is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is proposing to ban off-leash use (see page 6), but for now it is still available for excellent frolics with Fideaux. Learn how you can help keep the area off-leash at


Best Canine Sports Event:

Rally / Obedience—17.5%
Canine Disc—19.2%

For the third year running (pun fully intended), Agility handily won as Best Canine Sport. It’s no wonder – what could be more fun than watching a bunch of smart, fast, motivated dogs dash around an obstacle/challenge course, all the while being encouraged and cajoled by their people? Well, come to think of it, doing it could be more fun than watching. If you think your high-energy pooch might have the focus and drive to dig this sport, visit and find out about local agility trials and trainers.


Best Adult Dog Play Group/Event:

Bay Area Beagles, SF Bay Area—18.5%
Chihuahua Meetup, Stern Grove, San Francisco—20.5%
Oodles of Poodles, Emeryville—13.2%

Alameda Small Dog Park, Washington Park—47.8%
Lower Washington Park at 8th St. & Portola Ave., Alameda

Alameda Small Dog Park has a gated entry, and is therefore the perfect play destination great for your not-quite ready for prime-recall pup, as it’s entirely fenced in. The park provides fresh water, seating, and abundant waste bags, and is home to an annual Halloween costume contest. You and your pup will be welcomed by the friendly regulars, who scared up lots of votes for their favorite dog-friendly haunt.


Best Puppy Social:

Hazel & Gertie’s Happy Hour, San Francisco—21.2%
The Rex Center Puppy Socials, Pacifica—14.0%
SIRIUS® Puppy Classes, SF Bay Area—31.6%

SF Puppy Prep Puppy Socials—33.2%
251 6th St., San Francisco,

A five-star rating based on 124 Yelp reviews – way to go, SF Puppy Prep! Our voters obviously agree, at least as far as the puppy socials are concerned, where the little ones get to run themselves ragged for an hour with others of their size and temperament. Experts agree that dogs need plenty of socialization, and these energetic events provide it. Fun for people, too – watching the goofy antics of a pack of playful pups is guaranteed to make your day.


Best Dog Happy (Yappy) Hour:

Doc’s Clock, San Francisco—17.5%
SF Puppy Prep Friday Night Social—24.0%
Stray Bar, San Francisco—20.6%

Paws & Claws, Oakland—37.8%
2023 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland

This popular Oakland shop caters to the local four-leggeds with natural pet food, nutritional supplements, apparel, toys, and training aids. Owners Diane Pfile & Ruth Villasenor choose their products wisely so you can, too. P&W groomers have great cred with scores of happy pet parents and our voters obviously love the yappy hour, too. Within the next few months, Paws & Claws will be relocating to a bigger building around the corner at 3436 Dimond Ave. where employees, customers, and visiting canines can enjoy a roomier store and easier parking, yay!  (As of press time, Paws & Claws had put their yappy hour on hold until after the move. Stay tuned to the website for news of both.)


Best Fresh Water Bowl:

Holistic Hound, Berkeley—25.2%
Mudpuppy’s, Pt. Isabel, Albany—24.9%
Paws & Claws, Oakland—21.0%

Best in Show, Castro District—28.9%
545 Castro St., San Francisco


Best Free Treats:

Red Hound, Oakland—13.8%
Dogbone Alley, Alameda—15.4%
Holistic Hound, Berkeley—32.7%

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods, two locations—38.2%
Dolores Park, 3809 18th St. @ Church, SF
North Beach, 1841 Powell St @ Greenwich, SF

The folks at Jeffrey’s make their own natural foods and treats and always have an abundant supply, according to the many Bay Woof readers who voted it number one. Those in the know say the freeze-dried chicken livers are da bomb. Other favorites include the frozen buffalo bones and the hand-crafted raw foods for both dogs and cats. Owner/manager Lynnet supports the adoption community by fostering and adopting animals – double kudos for that!


Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant:

Aqui Cal-Mex, Campbell—8.3%
Liberty Cafe, San Francisco—21.0%
Park Chow, San Francisco—28.9%

Sit & Stay Café, Pt. Isabel, Albany—41.8%
1 Isabel St. at Pt. Isabel, west end of Central Ave., Richmond


Best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse:

Atlas Café, San Francisco—16.1%
Dolores Park Café, San Francisco—31.5%
Rooz Café, Oakland—12.8%

Sit & Stay Café, Pt. Isabel, Albany—39.6%
1 Isabel St. at Pt. Isabel, west end of Central Ave., Richmond


Best Dog-Friendly Winery:

Navarro Vineyards & Winery, Philo—20.5%
Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda—31.4%

Mutt Lynch—48.1%
602 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg 

Plenty of wineries have resident pooches who greet visitors and lend the joint a friendly feeling, and some allow you to bring your dogs along. They will find uncommon welcome, however, at Mutt Lynch. Resident pooch Parker will probably be on hand to keep them company while you sip and savor some mighty fine wines. Wonderful dog art adorns the bottles and the Mutt Lynch motto is a line borrowed from inspirational writer SARK: “Apply dog logic to life: Eat well, be loved, get petted, sleep a lot, dream of a leash-free world.” Most important reason to support Mutt Lynch: the owners donate generously to humane organizations large and small. Cheers to that!


Best Pet Superstore:

Pet Club—12.0%

Pet Food Express—55.8%


Best Pet Boutique:

Paws & Claws, Oakland—26.7%,
George, Berkeley—14.5%
Hazel & Gertie’s, San Francisco—28.8%,

Holistic Hound—30.1%
1510 Walnut St., Berkeley,

When Heidi Hill decided to open a shop dedicated to canine wellness, she was a pioneer in the field. Since then, holistic healthcare and specialty boutiques for dogs are everywhere, but Holistic Hound Natural Pet Care remains our readers’ favorite place to shop for natural meds and other essential supplies for pets. The product selection is high-quality, the staff friendly and knowledgeable, and the location in North Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto” just a couple of doors down from the original Peet’s Coffee at Oxford and Vine. Speaking of pioneers…


Best Doggie Birthday Present:

Molly Mutt Dog Duvets—20.2%
SIRIUS® Nose Work Classes—17.3%

A Paco Collar—35.4%
2905 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, (510) 848-PACO,


Best Locally-Made Dog Stuff:

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods, San Francisco—29.5%
Molly Mutt, Emeryville—15.3%

Paco Collars—37.6%
2905 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, (510) 848-PACO,


Best Veterinary Clinic:

Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos—17.3%
Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland—33.1%
Montclair Vet Hospital, Oakland—16.1%

Mission Pet Hospital—33.5%
720 Valencia St., San Francisco,

Located on a busy section of Valencia in the Mission District, Mission Pet Hospital is an unassuming clinic with state-of-the-art medicine as its highest priority. MPH offers a wide range of dental, surgical, ultrasound, and other diagnostic technologies to address your animal’s medical necessities. The doctors and staff are devoted to building a strong relationship with their patients and families, and thus have been working with many folks for generations. Bay Woof readers rewarded all this by voting Mission Pet #1.


Best Veterinarian:

David Bjork, Geary Veterinary Hospital, Walnut Creek—9.2%
Dave Gordon, Mission Pet Hospital, San Francisco—28.8%
Lee Morris, San Francisco Pet Hospital—12.9%

Jenny Taylor, Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center—49.1%
2501 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland,


Best Alternative Medicine Provider:

David Fong, San Francisco Veterinary Specialists—23.3%
Ann Reed, All Paws Holistic Veterinary Clinic, Pt. Richmond—15.9%
Molly Rice, Coastal Holistic Complementary Veterinary Services, Pacifica—17.2%

Jenny Taylor, Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center—43.6%
2501 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland,


Best Canine Rehab Facility:

The Rex Center, Pacifica—25.9%
The Sams Clinic, Mill Valley—24.7%
Scout’s House, Menlo Park—20.4%

The Canine Rehabilitation Center (Muller Veterinary Hospital)—29.0%
2735 North Main St., Walnut Creek,


Best Dog Groomer:

Lena Swann, All About the DOGue, Emeryville—23.4%
Vanessa Padron, Pride and Pedigree, Oakland—23.2%
Dogs by Dianne, Richmond—18.8%

Kate’s Cat & Dog Salon—34.6%
333 Fulton St., San Francisco, 415-563-5283

Kate’s in the Western Addition is a popular neighborhood destination for every aspect of grooming the furry family members. From shampoos, combouts, and blow-dries to trimming the most challenging paws around, Kate shows great care and compassion for even the most slovenly of pets.  The big window out front allows mom and dad to view the proceedings, and our voters say both the service and the prices are hard to beat.


Best Dog Walker:

Courtney Gunter, The Whole Pet, San Francisco—21.1%
Chris Matthews, Pawalkers, East Bay—21.6%
Dogwalks, San Francisco—25.6%

Molly Kenefick, Doggy Lama—31.7%
3312 Loma Vista Way, Oakland,


Best Dog Sitter:

North Beach Petsitter, San Francisco—21.0%
Victor Sepulveda, San Francisco—14.4%
Courtney Gunter, The Whole Pet, San Francisco—29.5%

Erin Graves, East Bay—35.1%, 925-360-5052


Best Doggie Daycare:

Pride and Pedigree, Oakland—23.6%
Every Dog Has It’s Daycare, Emeryville—21.6%
Happy Hound, Oakland—20.9%

Muttley Crew—33.9%
495 Carolina St., San Francisco,


Best Overnight Boarder:

Metro Dog, Richmond—17.4%
High Tail Hotel, San Francisco—28.6%
SF Hound Lounge, San Francisco—19.3%

Citizen Canine—34.7%
420 Hegenberger Rd., Oakland,


Best Training Class:

Berkeley East Bay Humane Society, Berkeley—27.5%
OUR PACK Pit Bull Training Classes, San Jose—21.9%
Bravo!Pup, East Bay—15.7%

SIRIUS® Puppy and Dog Training, SF Bay Area—34.9%

All the dogs in Bay Woof’s house have started their socialization/early training at Sirius puppy classes, so we’re not at all surprised that Sirius is once again the top vote-getter in this category. Sirius was founded by the renowned Ian Dunbar – famous for his compassionate, pos-reinforcement training techniques – who also happens to write a very entertaining monthly column for this humble paper. Sirius is staffed by professional behaviorists who can teach even the most stubborn customer how to be a better citizen, and their training success with dogs isn’t bad, either.


Best Private Trainer:

Bob Gutierez, A Better Way Dog Training, Brisbane—20.3%
Aishe Berger, SF Puppy Prep, San Francisco—27.2%
Francis Metcalf, Friends of the Family, Emeryville—23.7%

Kelly Filson, AmiGO DOG Training, San Francisco—28.7%


Best Dog Photographer:

Kendra Luck,—26.7%
Lori Cheung,—24.4%
Kira Stackhouse, Nuena Photography,—19.7%

Jesse Freidin,—29.3%


Best Pet Artist:

Delaine Hackney,—19.0%
Amy Jo Karn,—29.8%
Alina Kremer, Michi Design,—16.7%

Jim Dewitt,—34.4%

In a little town called Pt. Richmond lives a man whose art career was forever altered by a dog. Jim DeWitt used to paint mostly sailboats, quite natural for a life-long sailer and one-time sail maker. Then Amber the Cockapoo came on the scene. DeWitt thought he was too busy to have a dog, but Amber soon became the painter’s constant companion. Nowadays, DeWitt’s main muse is the canine. When he’s not working on a dog portrait for a client, he says, “I just go find a dog to paint.” He is currently at work on a coffee table book: his favorite canine works accompanied by pithy dog-related quotations. Visit for more art and info.


Best Dog-Friendly Lodgings:

Andiron Seaside Inn & Cabins, Little River—12.6%
Russian River Getaways, Sonoma County—31.6%
Sheep Dung Estates, Boonville—21.1%

Cypress Inn, Carmel—34.7%
Lincoln & 7th, Carmel-by-the-sea,


Best Day Trip with Dog:

Fort Funston—22.3%
Half Moon Bay—25.9%

Point Reyes—27.1%

Lots of our readers love visiting Pt. Reyes National Seashore with their furry friends, but we’re not so sure the destination deserves to be called dog-friendly. There are only a few beaches and trails where dogs are allowed, and even then they must be on short leashes. Not exactly your pup’s favorite way to play. It’s hard to beat the scenery, of course. A walk with your leashed companion on Limantour Beach will likely lift your spirits, even if he goes half mad with wanting to frolic freely in the surf.  For full details about Pt. Reyes dog rules, visit


Best Dog-Friendly Campground:

Please call ahead to check current dog policies

Anthony Chabot Campground, Castro Valley—15.9%
Kirby Cove Campground, Sausalito—19.0%
MacKerricher State Park, Ft. Bragg—17.1%

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur—48.0%
Hwy. 1, Big Sur,


Best Rescue Group:

Grateful Dogs Rescue—15.1%
Wonder Dog Rescue—10.7%



Best Humane Organization:

Marin Humane Society, Novato—20.5%
San Francisco Animal Care & Control—14.1%
San Francisco SPCA—31.9%

Berkeley East Bay Humane Society—33.5%

Needless to say, we love every single humane organization in existence. So, why ask our readers to pick out just one? Because whichever organization it turns out to be is sure to deserve the special recognition. This year voters once again chose BEBHS, a venerable animal welfare institution that has saved thousands of canine lies in its 84-year history. After a fire that destroyed much of its 9th Street facility last May, BEBHS is still getting back on its feet, thanks to a deluge of support from the community. If you want to play a part in the final rebuilding phase, visit to find out how.


Best Canine Cause:

Petchitecture/PAWS: Support for companion animals of low-income persons with disabling HIV/AIDS—11.0%
Give A Dog A Bone: Support for long-term shelter dogs—20.3%
BADRAP: Pit Bull Rescue—28.6%

Muttville: Senior Dog Rescue—40.1%

Winner in both the Best Cause and Best Rescue Group categories, Muttville does exceptional work for an oft-overlooked class of homeless dogs. Sherri Franklin started Muttville four years ago to help canine senior citizens enjoy loving companionship and comfortable surroundings right up to the end of their lives. As of press time, the result of her efforts (now aided by others) is almost 1,000 dogs rescued from shelter trauma and possible euthanasia. Virtually every weekend, Muttville holds an adoption fair somewhere in the Bay Area. Check the schedule at


Best Fundraising Event:

Petchitecture: PAWS—21.7%
Bark & Whine Ball: SF/SPCA—24.8%
Woofstock: Marin Humane Society—21.6%

Bay to Barkers: Berkeley EB Humane Society—31.9%



Best Dog Social Networking Site:—10.1%—9.9%
dogbook (via—37.8%—42.2%


Best Online Dog Boutique:—15.3%—23.5%—15.7%—45.5%


Best Online Vet Advice:—10.7%—11.9%—20.9%—56.5%


Best Overall Website for Dog Lovers:—12.1%—26.3%—20.0%—41.5%




Join us for the Beast of the Bay Awards party on March 19; details on page 2. Big thanks to our sponsors, voters, and all who participated. Let’s do it again next year, shall we?



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