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Beast of the Bay 2018: Celebrating the Best in All Things Dog With 111 Winners

Welcome to the tail-wagging 10th anniversary of Bay Woof’s Beast of the Bay awards. For a dog-tastic decade, we’ve been tallying up your votes and delivering the winners for a special edition dedicated to honoring the animal advocates, goods, and services that make the Bay Area a barking success — for dogs and owners.

For the contest, Bay Woof issued an open call for nominees in seven categories — Community, Web, Food & Drink, Shopping, Health & Wellness, Canine Services, and Shelter & Rescue — then counted votes to determine top vote-getters. Those top picks faced off against one another in a runoff to select a winner.

Readers went wild for their favorite long-standing businesses and brought howling praise for newcomers in multiple fields. The end result is a comprehensive list of what makes our perfect pets so happy to live in this Northern California haven. Plus, it presents a plentiful array of everything we can look forward to exploring alongside them as devoted dog parents. Enjoy reading the accolades for your time-honored choices and discovering the many amazing services, people, and products that round out 2018’s Beast of the Bay winners. Your dogs will thank you. And so do we.


Steve Linder/TasteTV


Best Dog Play Group/Event

World Dog Surfing Championships

The World Dog Surfing Championships, which takes place on Linda Mar Beach, finds dogs off the leash and on the beach, catching waves, and shredding the gnar. The wild concept, which originated in the Bay Area, pits dogs and their owners in a variety of competitions, such as dog surfing and tandem human and dog surfing. The success of this competition has spawned similar events around the world, from Southern California and Florida to the United Kingdom and Australia. This year’s World Dog Surfing Championships take place on Aug. 4, with proceeds benefiting the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA and Rocket Dog Rescue. Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica.

Runners-up: Bay Area Pet Con; Corgi Con; San Francisco Chihuahua Meetup.


Best Thing to Happen to Bay Area Dogs in the Last Year

GGNRA Regulations Abandoned

In a win for Bay Area dog parents, the National Park Service abandoned proposed Golden Gate National Recreation Area regulations to reduce or limit dog access following public outcry over their draconian scope. The argument was that the presence of dogs was harming local habitats and wildlife. A Freedom of Information Act request and fierce battle from dog owners’ advocacy groups thwarted the plans.

The National Park Service scrapped the proposed regulations, which would have banned dogs from 90 miles of trail, up from the current 63 miles of access. Dog access to the beach would also have been restricted to just 2.8 miles of the recreation area’s 8.8 miles. Bay Area dogs can continue to enjoy the beauty of Muir Beach, Rodeo Beach, Ocean Beach, Crissy Beach, Fort Funston and the Marin Headlands, thanks to the support of passionate dog lovers like you and the work of tenacious dog advocacy groups.

Runners-up: Bad Rap Nut Truck; Jake’s Wish; Jiminy’s; Project Open Paw.


Best Dog-Friendly Politician

Gov. Jerry Brown

A back-to-back winner of the Best Dog-Friendly Politician category. Gov. Jerry Brown is 2018’s top pol. His love for dogs is well catalogued, and his website features a section on “first dogs” Colusa and Cali Brown. When both dogs are not busy exploring the Brown family ranch, the website says, they are busy herding staff members at the State Capitol and guarding the governor’s office.

Brown’s love for furry companions extends to his legislative record. The governor recently signed Assembly Bill 485, which bans pet stores from selling dogs and cats raised in puppy mills and cat factories. Stores will feature instead rescued pets from area shelters and groups.

Runners-up: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; Rep. Jackie Speier; Rep. Mark DeSaulnier; State Sen. Scott Wiener.


Best Dog-Friendly Workplace

Pet Food Express

A Bay Area institution as Bay Area pet owners’ go-to pet store for all their pet needs, Pet Food Express, voters say, is a great place to work, too. The Bay Area chain not only hosts an abundant supply of treats, kibble, and supplies for pets, but it also helps many pet shelters find their pets forever homes by bringing those animals in house or on site for adoptions. The chain was founded 20 years ago by Michael Levy and Mark Witriol, who have had long love affairs with pets of all kinds. Their heartwarming commitment to animals and their generous and ongoing community outreach programs through Pet Food Express have won national accolades.

Runners-up: Bishop Ranch, Veterinary Center and Urgent Care; Clif Bar; East Bay SPCA; Furry Friends Food Relief; Google.


Best Dog Park

Fort Funston

With a sublime view of windswept beaches and sheer cliffs, Fort Funston is a unique pleasure for Bay Area dog owners who can take their dogs off their leash as they trek the miles of trails that snake through the recreation area down to the beach. You also might encounter the odd horse or two in this park. Fort Funston Road, San Francisco.

Runners-up: Alameda Dog Park; Drigon Dog Park, Union City; Hap Magee Ranch Park, Danville; Point Isabel Regional Shoreline.


Best Hiking Trail

Fort Funston

The unique appeal of Fort Funston is in its off-leash hiking trails, an option not available at many Golden Gate National Recreation Area trails and spaces. Just make sure your dog is under voice control when off-leash. Exploring here is liberating, for sure, but don’t forget to bring a jacket to this reliably windy area. Fort Funston Road, San Francisco.

Runners-up: Briones Regional Park; Redwood Regional Park; Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.


Best View With a Dog

Crissy Field, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

A former U.S. Army airfield, Crissy Field offers a flat and beautiful perch for taking in the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. Enjoy some nice snuggle time with your happy hound against this perfect backdrop where the sand meets the sea. Looking for more to do on your outing? Check out the Native Plant Nursery, which grows over 400 species of plants native to the Golden Gate National Parks area. Crissy Field, San Francisco.

Runners-up: Fort Funston; Mount Tamalpais; Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Richmond.


Best Canine Sports Event

Bark at the Park, Oakland

The Oakland Athletics’ annual Bark at the Park lets dog owners bring their canine companions to the Oakland Alameda Coliseum for the game. The event includes a pregame party, to which all dog owners and their dogs are invited, as well as a Pup Parade on the field where your dog can really strut his or her stuff. Proceeds from this event are also donated to Dogs4Diabetics and the Animal Rescue Foundation. Bark at the Park lets you have fun with your dog, for other dogs. Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland.

Runners-up: Bay Racers Flyball Club; Dog Days of Summer, San Francisco Giants; Doggone Dirty Dog Sports; K9RatPack Barn Hunt.


Best Dog-Friendly Lodging

The Stanford Inn by the Sea — Mendocino

Nestled in forests and pastures by the sea, The Stanford Inn by the Sea affords the hospitality of royalty for not only you, but your pets as well. The inn has been a fan favorite in the Beast of the Bay for years, and it is no surprise why. The website details the extent of nonhuman visitors the inn has hosted over the years, from cats and dogs to iguanas and Vietnamese pot belly pigs. The Stanford Inn by the Sea is pleasure for the whole family, and that means everyone. 44850 Comptche Ukiah Road, Mendocino.

Runners-up: Bardessono, Napa Valley; Cedar House Sport Hotel, Truckee; Kimpton Hotels, San Francisco; Sheep Dung Properties, Boonville.


Carmel Beach by Sarah and Jason/flickr 

Best Day Trip with Dog


The now-defunct San Francisco Call reported in 1910 that 60 percent of houses in Carmel-by-the-Sea were built by individuals who dedicated their lives to work related to the aesthetic arts. This artistic town on the shores of Carmel Bay is also famed for its dog-friendly businesses, ranging from restaurants to hotels. Carmel-by-the-Sea entertains as a great day trip for you and your canine companion, whether you are exploring the town’s art galleries or lounging on Carmel’s long, wind-swept white sand beach. Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Runners-up: Half Moon Bay; Santa Cruz; Stinson Beach.


Best Dog-Friendly Campground

Anthony Chabot Regional Park

Want to get away with your dog without really going away? Go camping at the Anthony Chabot Family Campground. Tucked into the lush foliage enveloping Lake Chabot, the campground is full of serene vistas plus 53 drive-to tent campsites, 10 walk-to campsites, and 12 RV/trailer campsites. The 3,314-acre offers a wide range of walking, riding, and bicycling trails. The best part about this natural escape? It is only 25 minutes or so away from Uptown Oakland. Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Anthony Chabot Family Campground, 9999 Redwood Road, Castro Valley.

Runners-up: Casini Ranch Family Campground, Duncan Mills; Manchester Beach/Mendocino Coast KOA; Mount Madonna County Park, Watsonville; Pantoll Campground, Mount, Tamalpais State Park.

Woman and Her Pet Dog Outside Shaking Hands Silhouette



Best Online Adoption Site

Rocket Dog Rescue takes back-to-back accolades for this year’s Best Online Adoption Site. Its website gives pet lovers innumerable ways to adopt a new companion, donate to a worthy nonprofit, or volunteer with the organization. Rocket Dog Rescue’s biggest accomplishment has been the creation of an urban sanctuary and adoption center in Oakland. That brick-and-mortar center not only allows Rocket Dog Rescue to save more dogs each year, but it also serves as a space where Rocket Dog Rescue can host training and community events. Rocket Dog Rescue, 3561 Foothill Blvd, Oakland.



Best Dog-Friendly Travel Website

Another back-to-back champion for this year’s Beast of the Bay contest, has a comprehensive list of just about everything, from the most exciting attractions throughout Northern California to dog-friendly lodging in the area. For those dog owners looking to get the most out of hard-earned vacations, check the website’s special offers section. The website promulgates’s “4-paw promise” to “deliver local and accurate listings, provide engaging and actionable content and focus on social commitment to the communities they serve.”



Best Dog Blog

Looking for online dog-centric info? Find it at, which is dedicated not only to planning a great trip for you and your pet, but also to other issues surfacing in the dog community. The Rescue/Adoption tab on the website gives readers up-to-date information on different shelters, as well as stories on dog rescues, while the Vet Buzz tab provides tips and pointers on navigating various medical problems that may arise with your pet. It’s all just a mouse click away.



Best Dog Social Networking Site

DogTrekker puts dogs and their people in touch with one another. If, say, you’re curious about dog-friendly events scheduled in Northern California, chances are will have them listed under its searchable Events tab, which also allows users to submit events. touts its content as being generated by dog owners for dog owners. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Best Online Dog Boutique

Wow, talk about shopping options. has an overwhelming abundance of them, a testament to its commitment to satisfying pet owners. Have a question or can’t find just what you’re looking for? has a 24/7 customer service hotline and representatives who can help you navigate the website and find the exact treat, toy, or food you desire for your pet.



Best Online Vet Advice has been Bay Area pet owners’ vet advice website of choice for many years, and was also the Beast of the Bay winner of this category last year. More than just an online forum to diagnose and tackle your pets’ ailments, provides up-to-date coverage on pet issues in the news as well as great videos on many topics related to pet health.



Best Online Adoption Site

Rocket Dog Rescue takes back-to-back accolades for this year’s Best Online Adoption Site. Its website gives pet lovers innumerable ways to adopt a new companion, donate to a worthy nonprofit, or volunteer with the organization. Rocket Dog Rescue’s biggest accomplishment has been the creation of an urban sanctuary and adoption center in Oakland. That brick-and-mortar center not only allows Rocket Dog Rescue to save more dogs each year, but it also serves as a space where Rocket Dog Rescue can host training and community events. Rocket Dog Rescue, 3561 Foothill Blvd, Oakland.



Best Overall Website for Dog Lovers

No surprise that wins it all as the Best Overall Website for Dog Lovers. The site makes it easy for dog owners to do it all, from planning road trips and finding dog-friendly lodging to bringing a new dog into the family. You can also download’s free mobile app to access these resources from the convenience of your smartphone. Bark on!



Courtesy Holistic Hound

Food & Drink

Best Free Treats — East Bay

Holistic Hound, Berkeley

Like many things Berkeley, Holistic Hound presents a natural take on pet supplies and care. Trained homeopath Heidi Hill founded the store to focus on nutrition, complementary therapies, and pet education. Holistic Hound’s unique phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil and beneficial mushrooms, which are reported to help normal emotional balance and calmness and maintain a healthy intestinal tract, among other things in pets, and have gotten rave reviews from dog owners. If you’re looking for a new take on caring for your hound, Holistic Hound has you covered, and your visiting pup can taste a treat — or two — just for walking in. 1510 Walnut St., #A, Berkeley.

Runners-up: Furry Friends Food Relief Program, Brentwood; Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland; Paws & Claws, Oakland; Sideboard, Danville.


Best Dog Happy Hour — East Bay

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Concord

As you can tell by the name, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is famous for its dog-friendly hospitality. Not only does the restaurant have an exhaustive menu for owners, but it also has a dog menu for your beloved furry companion. Dogs can enjoy a grilled hamburger or chicken breast, with a side of brown rice and a complimentary bowl of water. The menu also contains simple guidelines for dogs to follow, like don’t let them sit “on the table, in your lap or on a chair,” because, as Lazy Dog puts it, “the health department says so.” 1961 Diamond Blvd., Concord.

Runners-up: Paws & Claws, Oakland.


Best Dog Happy (Yappy) Hour — San Francisco

Yappy Hour @ SF SPCA Pop Up

This year’s Yappy Hour, hosted by the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SF SPCA, takes the bone as the best dog-friendly happy hour in San Francisco. Celebrating the Year of the Dog in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, Yappy Hour brought together some serious cuteness in the “EmBARKadero” this year. While that event occurred in February, be on the lookout for next year’s iteration. It’s a great event that supports a class-act organization. 201 Alabama St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: BareBottle Brew Co.; Bender’s Bar & Grill; El Rio; Puppy Socials, SF Puppy Prep.


Best Dog Happy Hour — South Bay/Peninsula

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay Brewery brings a wide selection of locally crafted beers to an incredible view of Half Moon Bay. This brewery has an airy patio area for you and Fido to take in the ocean breeze. The brewery is a friend to the community, too, hosting the Dog Days of Summer in June, an onsite pet adoption event and fundraiser for the Peninsula Humane Society. 390 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay.

Runners-up: 7 Mile House, Brisbane; Golden State Brewery, Santa Clara; Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Cupertino; Waterdog Tavern, Belmont.


Best Fresh Water Bowl — East Bay

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Dublin and Concord

Another award goes to Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in Dublin and Concord, where a complimentary water bowl is always sparkling fresh. This chain offers a seasonal menu for people plus a dog menu that lets humans order from a selection of high-quality foods for their paw-some pooches. 1961 Diamond Blvd, Concord.

Runners-up: Holistic Hound, Berkeley; Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland; Mud Puppy’s at Point Isabel Dog Park, Richmond; Paws & Claws, Oakland.


Best Fresh Water Bowl — San Francisco


This is where “Pets Take Their People.” Or that’s how Pawtrero puts it. The store is full of pet supplies, from foods and treats to supplements and cleanup supplies. Pawtrero also gets involved with the community. In November, Pawtrero will be involved with the 11th annual Dog Day Afternoon, the largest adoption street fair in San Francisco. 199 Brannan St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Fog City Dogs; Green Pawz SF; SF RAW.


Best Fresh Water Bowl — South Bay/Peninsula

Pet Food Express, Saratoga

A local favorite among Bay Area pet parents, Pet Food Express takes the award for Best Water Bowl in this year’s Beast of the Bay contest. Sure, Pet Food Express offers a big selection of pet goods, but Pet Food Express also gives patrons an affordable way to care for their pets with its on-premises Community Veterinary Clinic hosted by VIP PetCare every weekend. The menu of care plans are available on Pet Food Express’ website. 12900 Saratoga Road, Saratoga.

Runners-up: 7 Mile House, Brisbane; Pet’s Delight, Los Altos.


Best Free Treats — San Francisco

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods uses locally sourced ingredients to make its yummy, high-quality, natural pet foods and treats, which are produced daily in Jeffrey’s kitchen. The raw food retains more nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria than commercially produced counterparts. Tempting dried or dehydrated treats — often available for sampling — range from jerky, tendons, and gizzards to turkey patties and hot dog bites. Pet owners unsure about a nutritious diet plan for pets can schedule a consultation with an expert at Jeffrey’s. 284 Noe St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Cal’s Pet Supplies; SF RAW; The Animal House.


Best Free Treats — South Bay/Peninsula

Pet Food Express, Daly City

No surprises here as Pet Food Express sweeps another award in this year’s Beast of the Bay contest. This Bay Area-based chain has satisfied pet owners for nearly 20 years, and continues to do so with the wide selection in pet foods, treats, and resources. Stop in and the likelihood of your well-behaved pooch getting a biscuit, snack, or treat for looking cute or being extra good is pretty high. 6925 Mission Street, Daly City.

Runners-up: 7 Mile House, Brisbane; Pet People, Los Gatos; Pet’s Delight, Los Altos.


Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant — East Bay

Lazy Dog Bar & Restaurant, Concord and Dublin

Adorned with a beautiful patio area to take your husky hound or precious Pomeranian, the Lazy Dog Bar & Restaurants in Concord and Dublin are great spots to enjoy a delicious meal and quality time with your dog. While Lazy Dog got its start here in the Golden State, it now has locations in Nevada, Colorado, and Texas. 1961 Diamond Blvd., Concord, California.

Runners-up: Brotzeit Lokal Boathaus Biergarten, Oakland; Drake’s Dealership, Oakland.


Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant — San Francisco


Not only is Zazie a dog-friendly bistro, but the restaurant also has dedicated an entire evening of the week to its patrons’ dogs. Monday nights are for the dogs, so bring yours to dinner with you. Humans get 10 dollars off any bottle of wine on the wine list, and the Zazie staff will indulge your priceless puppy with treats, too. 941 Cole St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Skool; The Willows.

Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant — South Bay/Peninsula

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Half Moon Bay

Waves breaking on the shoreline with the scent of ocean breeze in the air set the tone of an afternoon at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. This brewery not only offers a savory selection of dishes for two-legged types; it also caters to quadrupeds. The menu for four-legged friends includes Doggie Mavericks Bones, Doggie Grilled Burger, and Grilled Doggie Chicken Breast, mmmm. 390 Capistrano Road, Half Moon Bay.

Runners-up: 7 Mile House, Brisbane; Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Cupertino.


Best Dog-Friendly Bar — East Bay

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Concord and Dublin

On top of a great seasonal menu and sumptuous patio seating, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar also boasts an excellent selection of drinks. Its happy hours go from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 p.m. to close on weekends. 1961 Diamond Blvd., Concord, 4805 Hacienda Drive, Dublin.

Runners-up: Fieldwork Brewing Company, Berkeley; Heart and Dagger Saloon, Oakland; Mad Oak, Oakland.


Best Dog-Friendly Bar — San Francisco

El Rio

This year’s best dog-friendly bar in San Francisco got its start as a Leather Brazilian Gay Bar. The joint has fiercely retained its identity, acting as a LGBTQ+ that invests in the local community to create a safe space for all patrons. Dogs are allowed at this bar at anytime, besides peak operating hours during weekend day events and Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re looking to explore the progressive side of San Francisco with your four-legged companion, this is just the spot for you. 3158 Mission St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Bare Bottle Brewing Co.; Lucky 13; Wild Side West.

Best Dog-Friendly Bar — South Bay/Peninsula

7 Mile House, Brisbane

Not only does this dog-friendly bar in Brisbane offer a great selection of drinks for doggie owners, but 7 Mile House also has its own dog-friendly beer and cigars. The dog menu includes many of the Italian and Filipino influences that populate the menu for the two-legged parents. After a pleasurable afternoon here, check out any of the numerous dog parks near this watering hole, such as McLaren Park, which has some of the best dog play areas in San Francisco. 2800 Bayshore Blvd., Brisbane.

Runners-up: Hapa’s Brewing Company, San Jose; Santa Clara Valley Brewing, San Jose; St. James Gate Restaurant and Bar, Belmont.


Best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse — East Bay

Timeless Coffee, Oakland

Timeless Coffee, the all-vegan coffee roastery, bakery, and chocolatier, gets the first place for being Best Dog Friendly Coffeehouse, since it welcomes dogs to the coffeehouse mix. It’s not unusual to see dogs, lots of them, parked on the front sidewalk or leashed to the bike racks. There’s a new a Berkeley location, too, so if you’re in the mood for coffee and chillaxing with your BFF, consider Timeless Coffee. 4252 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 2965 College Ave., Berkeley.

Runners-up: Catahoula Coffee Company, Richmond; Cole Coffee, Oakland; Luckyduck Coffee, Oakland; Subrosa Coffee, Oakland.


Best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse — San Francisco

Duboce Park Cafe

This family-owned business takes the bone this year as the best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse in San Francisco. In the Duboce Triangle neighborhood near the Castro, Haight, and Mission neighborhoods, Duboce Park Cafe has a running dog, its leash flying behind, in the logo and painted on an exterior wall, so what’s not to love? Enjoy the fresh, locally sourced ingredients with your furry love muffin by your side. 2 Sanchez St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Flywheel Coffee Roasters; Precita Park Cafe; The Mill.


Best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse — South Bay/Peninsula

Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Campbell

Dog-welcoming Barefoot Coffee Roasters gives customers the usual cafe experience of different kinds of coffees and cold brews as well as a unique draw: a class offered through Lab408 where caffeine fiends can learn about latte art, home-brew methods, barista training, and other topics. You might see Barefoot out and about, thanks to the roaster’s mobile truck that frequents other parts of the area. 1819 S Bascom Ave., Campbell.

Runners-up: Crema Coffee Roasting Company, San Jose; Kaffee Haus, San Mateo; Madhouse Coffee, Brisbane.


Best Dog-Friendly Winery — East Bay

Wente Vineyards, Livermore

The guiding philosophy of Wente Vineyards is to #MakeTime and enjoy one another’s company. And the winery does exactly that with its dog-friendly hospitality and broad selection of wine. This is a great place to take your dog and some friends to enjoy the scenic landscape of Livermore. The winery also bears the distinction as one of the oldest, continuously operating, family-owned wineries in the United States. 5565 Tesla Road, Livermore.

Runners-up: Brooklyn West Winery, Oakland; Riggers Loft Wine Company, Richmond; Rock Wall Wine Company, Alameda; Rosenblum Cellars, Oakland.


Best Dog-Friendly Winery — South Bay/Peninsula

Testarossa Winery, Los Gatos

Nestled in the mountains of Los Gatos, Testarossa Winery is a scenic, must-visit stop for visitors who long to enjoy an afternoon with a glass wine and their dog at their feet. Weekends are more festive, thrumming with live music. Just what the doctor ordered. 300-A College Ave., Los Gatos.

Runners-up: Big Dog Vineyards, Milpitas; Loma Prieta Winery, Los Gatos.

Beautiful Golden Retriever dog holding green shopping bag in teeth



Best Pet Boutique — South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, Burlingame

The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA has a big reputation for doing a lot of work in the local community to support pets with an army of volunteers handling everything from adoptions and grooming to event planning and pet training to ensure four-legged companions receive the treatment they deserve. It also operates two Furchandise stores, at the Lantos Center and Coyote Point Shelter, and South Bay/Peninsula dwellers love the stores for their novelties and supplies. Proceeds from the stores help support the animal programs and services at PHS/SPCA. 12 Airport Blvd., San Mateo.

Runners-up: For Other Living Things, Sunnyvale; Gussied Up Dog Boutique, San Jose; Pet’s Delight, Los Altos; The Pet Place, Menlo Park.


Best Dog-Friendly Bakery

Paw Patch Pastries, San Francisco

Paw Patch Pastries is a thriving hobby-turned-business venture in which natural and organic ingredients are turned into amazing pet treats. They are beautiful works or art and delicious, too, possibly in part because the main Paw Patch Pastries baker started her cooking career at culinary school for people. She switched to baking treats for pets upon realizing the number of needless additives going into commerical treats. Need a special cake for a certain canine’s birthday party? Pick one up, along with some “puppetizers” as party favors for the invited furry party guests. 701 Pennsylvania Ave., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Bella & Daisy’s Dog Bakery and Boutique, San Francisco; Le Marcel, San Francisco; Waggin Tails Pet Supplies, Union City.

Editor’s note: In print, the address of Paw Patch Pastries was listed in correctly. The business has moved to the Portrero Hill/Dog Patch neighborhood, and the address is correct above.

Best Pet Superstore

Pet Food Express

Pet Food Express wins the honors as the Best Pet Superstore. It’s a one-stop shop for everything pet-related, such as treats, toys, food, supplies, products, veterinary services, and training classes.

Runners-up: Pet Club; PetCo; PetSmart.


Best Pet Boutique — East Bay

Paws & Claws, Oakland

This Oakland pet boutique business believes in natural pet products and services. The founders, Diane Pfile and Ruth Villasenor, believe those natural products and treats on their shelves are healthier for the animals, humans, and the planet. Head here for natural, homeopathic, and herbal remedies for your pets. This is the store for consumers who are looking to make conscious decisions about their consumption habits. 3436 Diamond Ave., Oakland.

Runners-up: Furry Friends Food Relief Program, Brentwood; Holistic Hound, Berkeley; Leading the Pack, Oakland; Waggin Tails Pet Supplies, Union City.


Best Pet Boutique — San Francisco

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Natural, local, and healthy are the operative words of Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods’ core operating mission and philosophy, so it’s no wonder Jeffrey’s wins the Best Pet Boutique category. Its solid reputation in canine and feline meal nutrition and treats carries over into whatever it has in stock, from natural flea-control products, supplements, grooming tools, and apparel to toys, collars, leashes, and other products and supplies. 284 Noe St.

Runners-up: Best in Show; George; Green Pawz; Animal House.


Best Doggie Birthday Presents — East Bay

George, Berkeley

You want your dog to have the best on his or her birthday, right? George has you covered, from doggie quilts and beds to comfortable harnesses and travel cases and lots in between. There’s a definite luxe level to the items here, so go ahead — go for it. Let the pampering begin. 1824 Fourth St., Berkeley.

Runners-up: Alpha Pet Supply, Albany; Waggin Tails Pet Supplies.


Best Doggie Birthday Presents — San Francisco

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Yes, count on Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods to have exactly what your dog will want, like, and need, from food and treats to toys and accoutrements. Oh, and if you need to get that present as soon as possible and if you are pressed for time, you can order online and have the present delivered to your doorstep — just don’t let your dog does scare off the mail carrier. 284 Noe St.t, San Francisco.

Runners-up: Best in Show; George; Green Pawz; The Animal House.

Best Doggie Birthday Presents — South Bay/Peninsula

For Other Living Things, Sunnyvale

The inspiration behind For Other Living Things is that it is a community of support for animal lovers rather than a mere store for commerce. This philosophy has influenced the types of products the store carries, from earth-friendly cat litter to pet treats free of by-products and “mystery meats.” These guys put care and thought into the products on offer — and can help you make your pup’s special day that much more special. 1261 S. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale.

Runners-up: 7 Mile House, Brisbane; Pet’s Delight, Los Altos.


Best Locally Made Dog Stuff

Paco Collars

The folks at Paco Collars are passionate about many things. “But here’s the shortlist: dogs, leather, craft, and community.” Every collar created here is a lovely work of art and made locally to last a lifetime. Order a custom collar or choose one from some already made. The material is Latigo leather, also used in horse tack. Fashionable and functional. 2905 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley.

Runners-up: All Hounds Apparel; Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods; Jiminy’s; Molly Mutt.


Best Dog-Friendly General Retail Store

Home Depot

There’s something fun, rewarding, and civilized about being able to go shopping at a national chain — and a one-stop shop at that —to pick up everything and anything related to home improvement with your dog at your side. No need to leave your pooch at home or in the car. Bring her to trot behind your shopping car.

Runners-up: Cole Hardware, Oakland; Sports Basement; Stanford Mall.

Shelah and Bunny

Kira Stackhouse, Nuena Photography 

Health and Wellness

Best Canine Massage Therapist — San Francisco

Shelah Barr, C.M.T., Happy Hounds Massage

Whether your sweet senior pooch needs some much-deserved attention or your beloved fur baby is suffering from sore muscles, Shelah Barr is on hand to offer a nurturing touch that is as healthful as it is healing. She has taken top honors year after year from readers who cannot stop singing (or barking) her praises. The benefits of pet massage include injury prevention and reduced pain as well as extended mobility and increased comfort. Barr offers massage for maintenance, performance, and post-surgical or injury-related needs and is an expert at each style. Her clients are unabashed in their appreciation, maybe because she’s been in health care and corrective bodywork for 25 years and just keeps getting better. San Francisco.

Runner-up: Carla Campbell, E.B.W., E.S.M.T., Quadrussage.


Best Veterinary Clinic — East Bay

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, San Ramon

San Ramon residents can count on Bishop Ranch 24/7 for premium pet care. A high level of professionalism carries through all aspects of this state-of-the-art veterinary practice that delivers compassionate, dignified, personal modern medical care to pets and adheres to strict ethical standards. Even though it’s a big operation, with about 100 employees, Bishop Ranch still feels warm and friendly while offering cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment modalities. 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon.

Runners-up: Amador Valley Veterinary Clinic, Pleasanton; Creature Comfort, Oakland; Grand Lake Veterinary Care, Oakland; Theodore B. Travers Family Veterinary Clinic, East Bay SPCA, Oakland.


Best Veterinary Clinic — San Francisco

Mission Pet Hospital

Mission Pet Hospital uses a “coordinated approach” to veterinary medicine, meaning its veterinarians examine the whole patient to see what undetected ailments might be impacting the immediate illness of the animal. This veterinary clinic has been serving the San Francisco community for decades and has compiled throughout the years a vast number of Animal All-Stars, or memorable patients with great stories. Warm, fuzzy feelings guaranteed.
720 Valencia St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Arguello Pet Hospital; Urban Pet Hospital.


Best Veterinary Clinic — South Bay/Peninsula

SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Redwood City

Looking for reassurance about and guidance on the health of your dog? SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care provides it not only on the hard stuff, but also on routine care. This Redwood City facility uses state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to ensure pets receive the best. Besides, who can argue with the SAGE motto: Improving the lives of pets and their people. 934 Charter St., Redwood City.

Runners-up: A Well Adjusted Pet, Pacifica; Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos; Linda Mar Veterinary Clinic, Pacifica; Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic, Sunnyvale.


Best Veterinarian — East Bay

James Pogrel, D.V.M., Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, San Ramon

It is no surprise the East Bay’s veterinary clinic of choice employs the winner of this year’s Best Veterinarian in the East Bay. Pogrel, who became a partner at the clinic in 2005, specializes in ultrasound, endoscopy, laparoscopy, internal medicine, oncology, and emergency and critical care. 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon.

Runners-up: April Ervin, D.V.M., Furry Friends Food Relief Program, Brentwood; Gary Richter, D.V.M., Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland; Jenny Taylor, D.V.M., Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland; Larry Gillman, D.V.M., Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, San Ramon.


Best Veterinarian — San Francisco

David Gordon, D.V.M., Mission Pet Hospital

This Bay Area-native used to be an organic farmer and environmental educator before he returned to school, University of California, Davis, to become a veterinarian. His specialties are surgery, ultrasound, and the realm of alternative therapy. 720 Valencia St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Araba Oglesby, D.V.M., Blue Sparrow Holistic Veterinary Hospital House Calls; Lea M. Del Rosso, D.V.M., Balboa Pet Hospital; Virendra Garg, D.V.M., Urban Pet Hospital.

Editor’s note: Dr. Del Rosso’s  and Dr Garg’s names were misspelled in print and have been corrected above.


Best Veterinarian — South Bay/Peninsula

Ilana Strubel, D.V.M., A Well Adjusted Pet, Pacifica

Dr. Ilana Strubel of A Well Adjusted Pet is attentive to your pet’s emotional language and individual needs and uses proactive medicine to ensure she handles your pet’s problems before they fester into something larger — and worse. She’s an expert in new and alternative therapies that complement traditional vet care and has a gift for rehab. 1040 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica.

Runners-up: Allison Moore, D.V.M., Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic, Sunnyvale; Erica Kozki, D.V.M., Pets Friend Animal Clinic, Sunnyvale; Julie Miller, D.V.M., Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic, Sunnyvale.


Best Mobile Veterinary Practice

Dog and Cat House Calls

Dr. Tracey Williams, D.V.M., runs this East Bay mobile veterinary practice that offers the gamut of veterinary services: hospice care, house calls, vaccinations, wellness exams and in-home euthanasia. Her services generate rave reviews, thanks to her ability to develop harmonious relationships between owners and their pets while offering high-quality animal care.

Runners-up: A Gentle Rest; Blue Sparrow Holistic Veterinary House Calls; Companion Animal Mobile Veterinary Clinic.


Best Canine Chiropractor — East Bay

Margaret Holiday, D.C., Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland

Beloved, dedicated, and respected by her community of clients, Margaret Holiday is the true picture of nurturing animal care. She is an experienced chiropractor who has thrived in treating both two- and four-legged clients for over 20 years. Today she specializes in craniosacral and trigger-point therapies and devotes her time to healing furry patients at Creature Comfort and other alternative care veterinary clinics throughout the Bay Area. 2501 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland.

Runners-up: Betsey Carpenter, C.A.C., The Canine Rehabilitation Center, Walnut Creek; Lisa Koenig, D.C., Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland; Susan West, D.C., Bollinger Canyon Animal Hospital, San Ramon.


Best Canine Chiropractor — South Bay/Peninsula

Deb Sell, D.C., Next Level Animal Chiropractic, San Jose

Since childhood, Deb Sell knew that animals would be central to her life. She spent years working in vet clinics before earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a doctorate in chiropractic medicine. After running a successful human practice, she opted to devote her knowledge to care for the creatures that touch her heart and opened the doors to Next Level, which, as its name implies, provides natural techniques that are truly above the rest. 408-460-9960, San Jose.

Runners-up: Illana Strubel, D.V.M., A Well Adjusted Pet, Pacifica; Karl De Leeuw, D.V.M., Coastal Holistic Veterinary Services, Pacifica.


Best Canine Massage Therapist — East Bay

Victoria Tugwell, R.V.N., C.A.P., Grand Lake All About Pets, Oakland

When extremely accomplished Victoria Tugwell isn’t at the park playing with her two pooches, Ziggy and Poppy, she can be found providing five-star massage services to lucky Bay Area canines. With expertise in both Western and Eastern techniques, she is well equipped to offer rehabilitation and care, including acupressure and reiki, to a variety of animals. 3335 Grand Lake Ave, Oakland.

Runners-up: Marsha Converse, C.M.T., Good K9 Karma; Tammy Young, R.V.T., C.C.B.W., Tranquil Tales Canine Massage, Oakland; Tracy Pavon, C.B.W., Muller.


Best Alternative Medicine Provider — East Bay

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care , San Ramon

The accolades keep rolling in for this remarkable agency that has previously taken home the titles of the East Bay’s Best Emergency Care, Best Vet Clinic, and even Best Veterinarian. This year is no exception and we’re delighted to honor the team’s dedication to providing top-tier holistic care services along with traditional treatments. Offering acupuncture and homeopathic remedies, Bishop Ranch’s Integrative and Holistic Medicine department works to heal pooch patients with techniques designed to restore the body using methods outside conventional norms. 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon.

Runners-up: All Paws Holistic Veterinary Clinic, Richmond; Amador Valley Veterinary Clinic, Pleasanton; Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland, Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland.


Best Alternative Medicine Provider — San Francisco

Lotus Veterinary House Calls

For precious pets who prefer to receive holistic care in their homes, Lotus Veterinary is an ideal option, offering a wide range of services that combine techniques from both Eastern and Western fields of study. Using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cold laser therapy, nutritious diets, and natural supplements, among other treatments, the team here is all about compassion and collaboration. The goal is to blend the science of conventional medicine with holistic techniques to achieve ultimate health. 415-484-5842.

Runner-up: Blue Sparrow Holistic Veterinary House Calls, 415-202-6313.


Best Alternative Medicine Provider — South Bay/Peninsula

The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center, Los Gatos

Herbs and supplements, canine massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, and nutritional counseling are all part of the comprehensive care given at The Whole Pet Vet Hospital & Wellness Center. Tail-wagging clients adore the integrative, noninvasive methods used to treat pain, inspire relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve overall pet wellness. Whether your perfect pug needs to jumpstart a new healthy diet or your marvelous malamute could use a hand (or paw) treating her arthritis, this is the place to go. 325 Los Gatos Saratoga Road, Los Gatos.

Runners-up: A Well Adjusted Pet, Pacifica; Coastal Holistic, Pacifica; The Western Dragon, San Jose.


Best Canine Therapy Facility — East Bay

The Canine Rehabilitation Center, Walnut Creek

All-star, top-of-the-line, and state-of-the-art are the only ways to describe this two-time winning care center that boasts hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, pulsed-signal and low-level laser therapies, massage, and other treatments to serve the beloved canine community. Votes poured in last year, and the love came strong again for 2018, with readers loving the exceptional range of modalities available and the devotion and skill of the staff. When your East Bay pup needs the expertise of professionals, look no further. This is the go-to spot for Spot. 2735 N. Main St, Walnut Creek.

Runners-up: Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland.


Best Canine Therapy Facility — South Bay/Peninsula

SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Campbell and Redwood City

Every South Bay resident that can claim a SAGE Center on his home turf knows pets are in good hands with SAGE. For Redwood City, it’s because this elite agency is equipped to provide everything from neuromuscular stimulation to balance training to heal furry ones ailing after surgery, injury, or through aging. SAGE has built a reputation of being unsurpassed in excellence. 934 Charter St., Redwood City.

Runners-up: A Well Adjusted Pet, Pacifica; Scout’s House, Menlo Park; The Rex Center, Pacifica.


Best Dog-Friendly Pool, East Bay

The Canine Rehabilitation Center — Walnut Creek

Using temperature, movement, and high-end technology, the hydrotherapy pool at The Canine Rehabilitation Center makes for tail-wagging, bark-inciting success. Boasting an underwater treadmill that can be adjusted for speed and other variables, this facility is able to help dogs strengthen muscles, lose weight, and build self-confidence. It’s not just a dip in the pool; it’s a swim through rehabilitative luxury. 2735 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.

Runner-up: Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland.


Best Dog-Friendly Pool — South Bay/Peninsula

The Rex Center, Pacifica

Going for a swim alongside your pooch is always a joyous activity, but at The Rex Center, everything is elevated to spectacular because not only is your dog invited, he is also a treasured VIP guest. Choose between an assisted dive (read: dogpaddle) with a canine coach, hit the water for gametime during an open swim, or even host a personal swim soiree at home with the guidance of a training professional. The benefits are plentiful and so is the fun. 1040 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica.

Runners-up: Doggone Dirty Dog Sports, Hollister; The Pawington, South San Francisco.


Best Emergency Care — East Bay

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, San Ramon

When emergencies strike, the best friend at hand is one who can offer support and solutions. The renowned team at Bishop Ranch understands the importance of your furry family member’s safety and has the expertise to respond with professionalism and compassion. Readers have voted it No. 1 two years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon.

Runners-up: Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital; PETS Referral Center, Berkeley; SAGE Centers Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Dublin; VCA Bay Area Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Hospital, San Leandro.


Best Emergency Care — San Francisco

San Francisco SPCA

With “state-of-the-heart” facilities, San Francisco SPCA has everything necessary to respond in a pet emergency. It is dedicated to offering compassionate, knowledgeable care for any urgent situations when an adored animal is in need. No matter what hour of the day or night, this team of professionals is prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure your fur baby is in the best of hands. 2343 Fillmore St., Pacifica.

Runners-up: Urban Pet Hospital; VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.


Best Emergency Care — South Bay/Peninsula

SAGE Center for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Campbell

There’s nothing more frightening than seeing a beloved pet in need, and when it comes to handling emergencies, there’s no better South Bay/Peninsula organization than SAGE. These are the people who know just what to do when critical care situations arise, and this clinic doesn’t just offer medical support; it also provides TLC to give precious pets all the nurturing, healing support they need. 907 Dell Ave., Campbell.

Runners-up: Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos; United Veterinary Specialty & Emergency, Mountain View.


Courtesy Wag Hotels

Canine Services

Best Place to Board Your Dog — San Francisco

Wag Hotels

Plush king-size bed? Yup. Before bed belly scratch and bedtime story? Done. 24-hour room service, all-day play, and a 42-inch screen TV with custom movie and music selection? Oh, yeah. This is the doggie destination that will have tails wagging the moment they hop out the door. During daylight hours, they can take a stroll down Wag Kiki Beach, snag a “pawdicure” at the on-site grooming salon, or just hang with all their new bourgeois buddies. After a long afternoon frolicking indoors and outside, your pooch can fall asleep in extravagance (after getting a virtual kiss from you, of course, via a nightly two-way video chat), and you can relax knowing there’s no digs more deluxe for your best friend. Really, it’s worth watching the Slumber at Wags video to understand fully the utter cuteness. 25 14th St, San Francisco.

Runners-up: Black Nose Trading Company; HighTail Hotel; Pet Camp; The Pawington.


Best Dog Groomer — East Bay

Leading the Pack, Oakland

A family-owned business, Leading the Pack does exactly as its name implies: leads the industry with custom grooming appointments tailored to the unique needs of each dog (or cat) that strolls through the doors. Grooming takes skin and coat condition, temperament,
weight, and height into consideration. This wife-husband team styles pets to A-list caliber and does so with a gentle touch. Want to try a new hair color on your pooch? These groomers can help with that, too. 4801 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

Runners-up: Doggie Depot, Brentwood; Oksana Elegant Grooming, San Ramon; ShamPooches, San Ramon; What the Fluff?, San Ramon.


Best Dog Groomer — San Francisco


In a word, WAGS is amazing. And unique. And reliably excellent. You can watch from the main window as dogs are bathed and pampered, giving you a front-row seat to see the tail-wagging and puppy-smiling that ensue as groomers treat their four-legged clients to top-tier treatments. Dogs are never in crates; they are free to play before and after their appointments, ensuring that the experience is one they’ll look forward to again. 1840 Polk St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Doggie Bath-O-Matt, 415-661-6950; Green Pawz; Kosita’s Pet Grooming, 415-643-3650; The Pawbershop.


Best Dog Groomer — South Bay/Peninsula

The Groomery, San Jose

Bows and cologne with every appointment? Sounds perfect. From basic baths to specialty cuts, The Groomery does it all and will have your happy hound smiling from one floppy ear to the other. This experienced team also offers “peticures” along with brush-outs and ear cleaning. It’s a full-service salon guaranteed to give canine clients the gold standard. 4480 Pearl Ave., San Jose.

Runners-up: Blvd Dog Salon, Los Gatos, 408-356-2583; Critter Clippers, Mountain View; Le Pooch Grooming & Boutique, Morgan Hill; Spa for Pets, Los Gatos; The Canine Showcase, Sunnyvale.


Best Self-Serve Dog Wash — East Bay

Pet Food Express

Fresh towels, specialty shampoos, aprons, and the convenience of raised bathtubs await pup parents at Pet Food Express. At an affordable price, these do-it-yourself washes allow you to bathe your furry four-legger in an individual tub and then fluff them up with a warming blow dry. Friendly staff will give you a token to get started, and then it’s all about lathering up your furry one. Next thing you know, you’ll be walking back outside in prime—and super-clean—fashion.

Runners-up: LaunderMutt, Concord, 925-685-1690; Mudpuppy’s, Point Isabel; Unleashed by Petco.


Best Self-Serve Dog Wash — San Francisco

Pet Food Express

Wash, rinse, dry, and presto. Your doting dog is squeaky clean, and it only took one token and a matter of minutes. At Pet Food Express you can give your pooch a bath in a raised tub complete with a tie-down that will keep her safe while you bring on the suds. Once she’s lathered up, turn on the warm water, and then finish with a soothing blow dry. It’s easy and affordable, and best of all, the staff handles all the mess that’s left behind.

Runners-up: Black Nose Trading Company; Pawtrero Bathhouse & Feed Co.; VIP Scrub Club.


Best Dog Walker — East Bay

Doggy Llama Pet Care, Oakland

When you and your remarkable retriever (or any beautiful breed) find your way to Doggy Llama, you know there’s no need to trek anywhere else. The veteran team at this Oakland organization prides itself on not just taking dogs for walks, but on bestowing them with an adventurous off-leash experience along the lush trails of Redwood Regional Park, Anthony Chabot Regional Park, and Strawberry Canyon (to name a few locales). With safety always at the forefront, these walks are provided to groups of six, and every tail-wagging, four-legged hiker comes back well-exercised and well-traveled. 3312 Loma Vista Way, Oakland.

Runners-up: Get Out of Town! Professional Pet Care, Richmond; Pit Stop Pet Services, Antioch; Walks with Vet Techs, Oakley.


Best Dog Walker — San Francisco

Citizen Hound, San Francisco

Toting a reputation as the “canine concierge,” Citizen Hound is a solidly spectacular choice for anyone looking to ensure his or her pets get plenty of exercise and time with fellow furry friends. Off-leash group walks, individual hikes, and puppy-specific treks are all available throughout the city from Crissy Field to Bakers Beach to Lafayette Park. Votes poured in last year, too, for Citizen Hound to take the SF dog-walking title, and it’s still the leader of the pack this year.

Runners-up: Bay Area Canine Club; Dog Walks; Sunny Day Dog Walks.


Best Self-Serve Dog Wash — South Bay/Peninsula

Pet Food Express

What’s cuter than your favorite pet? Your favorite pet fresh out of the bath. Fido will be wagging his tail in hound-dog happiness when you set him up in a raised tub and hand-select a natural shampoo he’ll love. Turn onthe blow dryer for a calming finish, and in a blink, your pup will be styled like an A-lister at the premiere of the new Paw-llywood blockbuster.

Runners-up: Scrub A Pup, San Mateo; Suzie’s Pet Salon, Campbell, 408-379-9274.


Best Dog Walker — South Bay/Peninsula

Tails-on-Trails Pet Care, San Jose

Oh, doggy! Sign up your pooch for a hike through the great outdoors or a two-hour beach adventure along the lapping shores of the ocean with Tails-on-Trails for a guaranteed exercise extravaganza rolled into a socialization soiree. Dogs chase balls, run free, and play in the sand at Fort Funston and gain valuable behavioral skills while having more fun than a box full of chew toys. Tails-on-Trails also offers calm city walks for those pups that could use a more relaxing and peaceful stroll.

Runners-up: For Sniffs and Giggles, San Carlos; Pawfection Pet Care, Mountain View.


Best Dog Sitter — East Bay

Pit Stop Pet Services, Antioch

For the discerning pet parent, Pit Stop offers visits and overnight stays in the comfort of a pet’s own home. While tending to the needs of your dog, this team of professionals also waters plants, brings in the mail, and keeps the house in order when you’re putting in long hours at the office or driving a long commute. It offers private walks in residential neighborhoods and terrific trips to local dog parks. If another canine client is also looking for an afternoon excursion on the same day, the staff will arrange for a two-pooch play date so the furry ones can socialize in their own neighborhood and pick up some much-deserved exercise time. 2730 W. Tregallas, #2483, Antioch.

Runners-up: Get Out of Town! Professional Pet Care, Richmond; Walks with Vet Techs, Oakley.


Best Dog Sitter — San Francisco

Bay Area Canine Club, San Francisco

It’s time to play. Look no further than Bay Area Canine Club for a reliable, devoted crew to give your pooch a day filled with exploration, exercise, and excitement. Pickup and drop-off are included in the daycare services, which also boast an hour-long, off-leash walk with friends. At the five-star facility, pups enjoy supervised free time and an opportunity to romp around in all their doggy glory. Plus, overnight boarding is available in a cage-free space. 230 Trumbull St., San Francisco.

Runner-up: The Fairy Dogfather

Editor’s note: The runner-up name was incorrect in print. The above item has been altered to reflect the correct runner-up.  

Best Dog Sitter — South Bay/Peninsula

For Sniffs and Giggles, San Carlos

Like the adorable name implies, For Sniffs and Giggles is all about creating a fun, friendly, and safe environment for pups. While you’re away from home, you can leave your furry friend in the dedicated hands of trained staff for a small playgroup, a group walk, or a one-on-one adventure. When on the trail, Fido will be getting stimulation not only from the friends he’s making, but also from the multitude of smells and sounds he encounters at every turn. Ideal for a busy professional or anyone who needs the assurance that their pup will be reveling in the care of a nurturing team, Sniffs and Giggles is the place to be. 1017 Montgomery St., San Carlos.

Runners-up: Dog Duty Inc., San Jose; Dog Gone Pet Sitting & Home Services, Sunnyvale.


Best Doggie Day Care — East Bay

Good Dog Day Care, Hayward

They’ve done it again. For the second year in a row, Good Dog! has taken home top honors for its exceptional daycare services. Readers rate this service provider No. 1 for its attention to detail (from the symphony music played during naptime to the games of tag held every morning on the sports field) and devotion to pet care. The facility includes state-of-the-art cleanliness and safety features such as rubber flooring and indoor play turf that give pets the ability to romp and frolic no matter the weather. 2427 Pratt Ave., Hayward.

Runners-up: Citizen Canine, Oakland; Delta Dog Camp, Oakland and Antioch; Happy Hound, Oakland.


Best Doggie Daycare — San Francisco

Wag Hotels

The premier in dog luxury is right here. Valet pickup and drop-off service, all-day play parties (some themed for festive holidays), expansive outdoor recreation areas, and guaranteed professional supervision are only the beginning at this posh pet hotel tucked between the Mission and SOMA. No expense is spared to make sure every canine guest is pampered with affection, exercise opportunities, and unique options like weeklong seasonal camps that include craft days, splash days, and sports days. This is where pups thrive and live like the heroes they truly are. When you want your best friend to be valued like a king, there’s nowhere like Wag Hotels to bring on the royal treatment. 25 14th St., San Francisco,

Runners-up: Hound Lounge; Pet Camp; The Grateful Dog.


Best Doggie Daycare — South Bay/Peninsula

K9 Keep Fit, San Jose

This doggie daycare leads the pack with group walks, treadmills, a minipool for splashing and gametime, and social hours to ensure pooches are treated to fun, exercise, and days filled with love from the loyal staff. Readers adore the agility play and one-on-one handler time designed for fetch, Frisbee, and chase. For more low-key pups, there’s plenty of space to relax in the sun to enjoy the beauty of just being safe and happy. 451 Meridian Ave., San Jose.

Runners-up: For Sniffs and Giggles, San Carlos; Klub K9 Play Center, Sunnyvale; Sweet Doggies, Sunnyvale; Wag Hotels, Redwood City and Santa Clara.


Best Place to Board Your Dog — East Bay

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care, San Ramon

Luxury boarding suites set the stage at Bishop Ranch, a facility that not only houses overnight guests, but also provides 24-hour emergency care, behavior training, holistic treatments, and so much more. Spacious kennels can be air-conditioned or heated and are roomy enough for sibling pups to board together comfortably while enjoying views of the outdoor campus. Absolutely ideal for furry friends who may need round-the-clock care, Bishop Ranch has it all. 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon.

Runners-up: Citizen Canine, Oakland; Delta Dog Camp, Oakland and Antioch; Good Dog Day Care, Hayward; Wag Hotels, Oakland.


Best Place to Board Your Dog — South Bay/Peninsula

K9 Keep Fit, San Jose

Before curling up for a good night’s sleep, your fur baby has options on how to spend her precious time. Whether your pup prefers to romp in the super energetic daycare program where she’ll have access to an outdoor yard and covered social area, treadmills, a minipool, and neighborhood pack walks or she’s more apt to relax on her own, she’ll be living it up in prime style at K9 Keep Fit. For pooches that aren’t jazzed on big groups, they can play in one-on-one play-and-affection sessions to keep them spirited and soothed. The staff members are known for their dedication and ensure each canine client receives the perfectly suited type of exercise and stimulation. 451 Meridian Ave., San Jose.

Runners-up: Klub K9, Sunnyvale; Pooch Hotel, Sunnyvale; Wag Hotels, Redwood City and Santa Clara.


Best Training Class — East Bay

Bravo! Pup, Oakland

The motto here is “train, play, love” and that’s just what you can expect from a Bravo!Pup course. Equipped with plenty of tiny treats, you teach your dog basic obedience skills and manners while reinforcing your bond as parent and pooch. Two different sessions are available: one is tailored to first-time trainees of any age; the other is designed for seasoned students who are ready to practice more complex lessons like recall drills and placement work. This talented team also offers specialty trainings for “Jumpers and Pullers” and four-leggers with leash aggression, as well as fun classes such as Scent Detection for Dogs. Smells like a winner.

Runners-up: Good Dog Day Care, Hayward; Koru K9; Refined K9; SIRIUS Puppy and Dog Training.


Best Training Class — San Francisco

Refined K9

This is dog training re-defined. The approach is centered on psychological rehabilitation and involves conventional methods as well as more new age techniques to help canines and their parents build meaningful, healthy relationships. The founder believes that “every dog can improve” and work with clients, both two-legged and four, to create communication systems that decrease aggression and reactivity and inspire calm behavior. For those seeking a way to understand better and support their pup, Refined K9 offers a unique program that benefits the whole family.

Runners-up: Koru K9; SF Puppy Prep; SIRIUS Puppy and Dog Training.


Best Training Class — South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

We all love a cozy afternoon stroll with our K9 companion, but when a simple walk turns into a pulling match or a struggle to keep focus on the abundance of smells around, it may be time for a little training. That’s where this multifaceted organization comes into play with options spanning from traditional classes to consultations to minisessions and seminars. Courses are geared toward specific ages, temperaments, and needs, such as basic manners for dogs, preschool for puppies, or workshops for shy or reactive pups. As a nonprofit, it’s affordable, keeping dogs at the forefront of its mission. Plus, it’s got a remarkable reputation as a go-to place for animal affection. 12 Airport Blvd., San Mateo.

Runners-up: Koru K9; Refined K9; SIRIUS Puppy and Dog Training.


Best Private Trainer — East Bay

Rusty Barnes, Pawgress Dog Training

Beginning with a complimentary meet-and-greet at your home, the one-on-one training offered by 15-year dog-industry veteran Rusty Barnes soon transforms into a customized package of lessons that will improve communication, responses, and understanding between pets and parents. He seeks to “train for both sides of the leash,” with a focus on teaching owners why their dog acts in a certain way and how to work together to achieve shared goals of happiness and confidence. His style allows for practice in real-world situations so that you can build mutual trust with your pooch and pawgress to the next level in your best friendship.

Runners-up: Bonnie Brown-Cali, Dog Dynamics; Courtney Briggs, Devoted Dog Training; Jose Moreno, Refined K9.


Best Private Trainer — San Francisco

Carlie Seelig Miller, SIRIUS

If you asked her beloved fur babies, Tawny and Soda Pop, whether their mom knows how to build strong, lifelong canine bonds, they’d howl with approval. And if you asked any of her human clients, the votes of confidence would come in just as sure-fire. She’s an experienced trainer who has an incredible balance of know-how and charisma to help pup parents navigate the road of raising a young four-legger. Whether it’s puppy kindergarten or basic skills, Miller provides skills and knowledge for a pathway to doggie delight.

Runners-up: Dan Perata Training; Jose Moreno, Refined K9; Theo Brassard, Refined K9.

Editor’s note: In print, we had Carlie Seelig Miller’s name spelled incorrectly. It is a correct above.

Best Private Trainer — South Bay/Peninsula

Sybl Saisselin, K9 Keep Fit

It’s easy to see why readers flooded the polls with votes for manager and lead dog trainer Sybl Saisselin. An avid advocate for canines and their people, Saisselin has worked for years to turn troubled dogs into success stories. She volunteers her time at shelters and with foster home families and offers her vast experience professionally to South Bay clients with expertise in behavior coaching that builds meaningful communication and leads to positive parent-pet relationships. 451 Meridian Ave., San Jose.

Runners-up: Beverly Ulbrich, The Pooch Coach; Stacy Braslau Schneck, Stays Wag N Train; Trish Wamsat, Home Schooled Hounds.


Best Dog Photographer — East Bay

Lori A. Cheung, The Pet Photographer

You know that moment when you see your dog smiling and it suddenly feels like everything is perfectly in place? What about when he’s gliding through the sky, mere seconds from securing that flying Frisbee? The beauty of The Pet Photographer comes from seeing those joyful events captured forever in time, framed or bound in albums as treasures you can return to again and again. Cheung has a penchant for snapping that one image that transports pet parents back to a glorious day on the beach, at a winery, or anywhere that feels like home and love.

Runners-up: Barbara Brady-Smith, Share the Joy Photography; Kathy Kinner, Bad Rap; Tonya Perme, Photographer; Yellow Neener Photography.


Best Dog Photographer — San Francisco

Josh Norem, San Francisco

Even Grumpy Cat will tell you that Josh Norem, aka The Furrtographer, can make a frown turn upside down. (Sure, he kept on his grouch face, but Grumpy displayed an inner glee that was obvious at their photo shoot). Norem has an amazing ability to snag spectacular images of pups as they prance in the grass as the Golden Gate Bridge disappears in the background or when pets give those impossibly adorable expressions that might as well equal gold. For those of us lucky enough to have his images on our walls, they’re priceless.

Runners-up: Anne Mary Schafer; Mark Rogers, Mark Rogers Photography; The Labs & Co.


Best Dog Photographer — South Bay/Peninsula

Suszi McFadden, Fuzzy Beastie Photography

Kisses, cuddles, poses, and smiles all fit the bill for photography from this talented photographer who specializes in all things genuine and beautiful. Her images of people and pets, alongside portraits of dogs owning the camera, gain her No. 1 status as an artist with bragging rights. While she is busy juggling her time between volunteer work for local senior dog rescues and booking appointments for her loyal following, McFadden’s many admirers are diligently doing their best to spread the word about her distinctive style and ability to capture unforgettable moments that last a lifetime.

Runners-up: Diane Costello, Fog Dog Studios; Renee Scott.


Best Pet Artist

Kathleen Hill

Impeccable and heartfelt, the art of Kathleen Hill brings together the mastery of drawing or painting with the passion of animal devotion. Her works manage to bring photographs to life with an original flare that beckons a calm day out in the country. With a background in horses, and a love for all animals that pulses just as strong, Hill’s pet portraits are a balance in presenting outward beauty and offering a picture of why we truly cherish our fur family members without end.

Runners-up: Beth Bourland; Janice Serilla; Rosanna Lyons.


Courtesy Maddie’s Fund

Shelter and Rescue

Best Canine Cause — East Bay

Maddie’s Fund

A foundation with a goal of building a “no-kill nation,” Maddie’s Fund is a one-stop-hub for all things relating to animal welfare and pet rescue. Inspired by their adorable miniature schnauzer, Maddie, husband-and-wife team Dave and Cheryl Duffield endowed the foundation with $300 million, and to date, more than $208 million has been awarded to shelters for the purpose of saving lives and connecting families with adoptable animals. Maddie’s Fund also offers grants for pet education programs and apprenticeships for those seeking work in the rescue or animal health field. To connect with other dedicated dog lovers, go to the website and join the online forum, where you’ll find a wide range of animal advocates sharing knowledge, trends, and ideas. If you know a rescue in need of funding, this is the foundation with the heart, backing, and know-how to turn dog dreams into tail-wagging realities. 6150 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 125, Pleasanton.

Runners-up: Bad Rap Nut Truck; Furry Friends Food Relief Program; PALS East Bay, Paw Fund.


Best Rescue Group — East Bay

Rocket Dog Rescue, Oakland

Giving dogs a second chance to find forever homes is at the heart of Rocket Dog. This Bay Area organization has thrived for close to 20 years, running entirely on volunteer hours and donations, to connect homeless or abandoned dogs with foster families and permanent parents. The organization recently expanded facilities to include an urban sanctuary and adoption center that enables Rocket Dog to save even more doggy darlings from an otherwise uncertain future. With hard work and a dedication to providing much-needed shelter, this nonprofit ranks leader of the pack.

Runners-up: Bad Rap; Furry Friends Pet Relief; Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation.


Best Rescue Group — San Francisco

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

The golden years truly sparkle at this unparalleled organization that is dedicated to finding forever families for pooches in their prime. Rescuing close to 1,000 dogs a year, Muttville is known for being a haven for furry ones looking to join a household in their elder, more elegant years. Muttville took the title last year and has done it again with a commitment to ensuring that every canine companion has a lap to lounge on and a place to call home as they age. 255 Alabama St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Family Dog Rescue; Grateful Dogs Rescue; Rocket Dog Rescue; Wonder Dog Rescue.

Best Rescue Group — South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, Burlingame

Four-leggers rejoice at Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA knowing they are finally in the good hands of a trusted team who will find them a forever home. When you are looking for a new and perfect member to add to the family, go no further than this renowned organization that has been making dog dreams come true for decades. This place is founded in compassion. 1450 Rollins Road, Burlingame.

Runners-up: CARE (Companion Animal Rescue Effort), San Jose; Every Pet’s Dream, Santa Clara; Jake’s Wish Dog Rescue, San Jose; Nike Animal Rescue, San Jose.


Best Humane Organization — East Bay

Rocket Dog Rescue, Oakland

Their motto says it all: “Leave no dog behind.” At Rocket Dog, volunteers work around the clock to find loving homes for abused or abandoned pups with nowhere to turn. Every Sunday, you’ll find this devoted team holding mobile adoptions, and introducing precious pooches to potential parents throughout the Bay Area. When the staff and volunteers are not busy connecting fur babies to families, the Rocket Dog crew is caring for animals at the new Urban Sanctuary & Adoption Center where homeless hounds relax until their forever home is found.

Runners-up: Berkeley Animal Care Services; Berkeley Humane Society; East Bay SPCA, Dublin and Oakland; Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, Walnut Creek.


Best Humane Organization — San Francisco

Rocket Dog Rescue

Readers have nothing but love and pawsitive reviews for this five-star rescue that has racked up top honors for the best humane organization in both the East Bay and The City. That might be because this do-gooder dog facility devotes its time to furry four-leggers with nowhere to call home. Between mobile adoptions, events, the new Urban Sanctuary, and a host of foster families, Rocket Dog has been benefiting the pup community for two decades. No wonder the votes rolled in. That’s doggone amazing.

Runners-up: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue; SF Animal Care and Control, San Francisco SPCA.

Best Canine Cause — San Francisco

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, San Francisco

You won’t find a cage anywhere at Muttville because this award-winning organization believes in letting the canine pals roam free with the volunteer staff and take naps on the doggy loft as they please. But this place is not only incredible for the way it treats its furry friends; it also has amazing programs like Seniors for Seniors, which gives humans over 62 the chance to bring home a lovable little one without paying the adoption fee. Plus, Muttville throws in a starter kit and a month’s worth of food and supplies. Good for dogs, great for the community. 255 Alabama St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support); Project Open Paw.

Best Humane Organization — South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, San Mateo

If you find a homeless or abandoned animal, this wondrous organization is the place to go. It will take in the dog (or cat or wildlife creature) and nurture the animal with kindness and care until a permanent family is found. When you’re ready to adopt your own furry companion, stop by their Center for Compassion to meet all the adorable animals that can’t wait to steal your heart. 12 Airplane Blvd., San Mateo.

Runners-up: Humane Society Silicon Valley, Milpitas.


Best Canine Cause — South Bay/Peninsula

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

Everything about this South Bay agency is as awesome for pet parents as chew toys are for pups. From adoptions and behavior training to pet loss support groups and onsite vet clinics, you will have access to the super important resources you need. This outfit even offers free temporary shelter to pets whose owners are victims of domestic abuse. These benefits are far-reaching and fabulous. 12 Airplane Blvd., San Mateo.

Runners-up: Jake’s Wish Dog Rescue; Love & Second Chances.


Best Fundraising Event — East Bay

Pints for Paws, Berkeley Humane

Oh, the dog days of summer. The only way to improve a day in the sunshine with a cold beer and a group of friends is to add in some dogs and make it an event that benefits animal rescue. That’s what happens every year when this brew-tastic barkfest kicks off. Proceeds support the Humane Society’s work and directly save the lives of pooches that urgently need human help. Throw back a few, snap pics of adorable fur babies, and give back all at the same time. 2700 Ninth St, Berkeley.

Runners-up: Growl, Meow & Wine, East Bay SPCA; Hot Rods 4 Paws, Furry Friends Food Relief; Pet Mayor Contest, Montclair Pet & Wildlife Fund.


Best Fundraising Event — San Francisco

Muttville’s Senior Prom, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

It’s time to celebrate: An annual fundraiser that supports the organization’s work finding forever homes for canines experienced in age, the Muttville Senior Prom is a fun-filled night that includes a festive auction, rotating themes ranging from Pooches of the Caribbean to this year’s ’70s-inspired Summer of Mutts. Get your tickets, get dressed up, and get to the party that’s won back-to-back honors. 255 Alabama St., San Francisco.

Runners-up: Petchitecture, Shanti; The Bummer’s Ball, Rocket Dog Rescue.

Best Fundraising Event — South Bay/Peninsula

Bark n’ Brewfetst, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

The howls of delight could be heard throughout the park at the first Bark n’ Brewfest where guests sipped local beers and ciders and soaked up the South Beach sunshine. Fur babies frolicked in the grass and, best of all, ticket sales directly supported this all-star agency and the vast array of services they provide. Let’s drink to that. 12 Airplane Blvd., San Mateo.

Runners-up: Aloha Dog Hawaiian Luau, Furry Friends Rescue; Bark in the Park, San Jose; Jake’s Fest, Jake’s Wish Dog Rescue.

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Main article photo by: Illustration by Minnie Phan