Beast of the Bay Awards 2013

Planning and implementing the Bay Area’s one and only annual survey of dog-friendly people, places, and things is no walk in the (dog) park – but it’s always a real pleasure to announce the winners. So here’s our official salute to some of the fabulous folks who make this rare and special place on the planet such a happy home for dogs and their people.

Of course none of it could happen without you, our wonderful readers, who took time out of your busy lives to deliver your opinions in a host of categories. Now the ballots have been tallied, the Winners’ Issue is in your hands, and it’s time to celebrate! So mark your calendar and plan to attend our wonderful, Beast of the Bay Awards Party, Saturday, April 13, at El Rio in San Francisco’s Mission District. Live entertainment, tasty grub, a raffle, and a no-host bar will keep the party rolling for hours. See the April calendar for full details. Hope you and your well-behaved dogs can make it!

1. Best Thing to Happen to Bay Area Dogs in 2012
The Pet Food Express Bay Area Pet Fair and Adoptathon
Since Pet Food Express took control of the Bay Area Pet Fair two years ago, folks all ‘round the Bay – including this year’s BOBA voters – have been singing its praises. In partnership with the Marin Humane Society, this year’s event was the best ever, with almost 600 pets finding new homes in one festive weekend – not just 333 dogs, but also 157 cats, 9 rabbits, 4 hamsters, 33 rats, 1 turtle, 1 cockatiel, 3 chickens, 1 rooster, and 24 guinea pigs. Pet Food Express has long been the leader in charitable giving for pets in need, donating ALL of the food for the animals at SFACC and SFSPCA, for example. The folks at PFE are also longtime advertisers and supporters of Bay Woof, so we’re especially thrilled to bestow on their annual extravaganza the award for “Best Thing to Happen in the Bay Area” in 2012, courtesy of our devoted dog-loving readers.
Muttville/Muttville moving into a new home
Opening of Pinnacle Animal Hospital (San Jose)
Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) taking over the Alameda City Shelter in January 2012


2. Best Dog Park
Point Isabel (East Bay Regional Park District-EBRPD), Richmond
Point Isabel, a dog-friendly mecca on the Richmond shoreline, is more than just a picturesque spot where people can walk and talk while their pups dash and splash. Just a bone’s throw away from Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub and the Sit and Stay Café, Point Isabel is a dog’s dream destination. Apparently our fur-less readers love it, too, as it appears regularly in various BOBA categories, year after year. Give it a visit and you’ll understand why.
Fort Funston (Golden Gate National Recreation Area-GGNRA), SF
Crissy Field (GGNRA), SF
Alameda Small Dog Park, Alameda

3. Best Hiking Trail
Fort Funston (Golden Gate National Recreation Area-GGNRA), SF
Bay Woof readers continue to shower love on the glorious trails, beaches, and views at Fort Funston. And we’re relieved to report that Fort Funston continues to share its myriad resources with off-leash dogs, at least for now. Let’s help keep it that way! The Fort Funston Dog Walkers Association urges park visitors to monitor their dogs, carry leashes and pick-up bags, and respect everyone who uses this priceless park. Want to help more? Stay on top of GGNRA dog management issues at Its revised Dog Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement is due out this month.
Land’s End (GGNRA), SF
Redwood Regional Park (EBRPD), Oakland
Marin Headlands (GGNRA)

4. Best View with a Dog
Fort Funston (Golden Gate National Recreation Area-GGNRA), SF
With its gorgeous views of sky, land, and sea – not to mention relics of its bygone days as a military post – Ft. Funston is this year’s pick for most picturesque place to hang out with your canine pals. You may even catch sight of the odd hang-glider and horse. (Plus, everyone knows that balls are more fun to chase if there’s a little sand stuck to them.)
Land’s End (GGNRA), SF
Tilden Park, (EBRPD), Oakland
Los Gatos Creek Trail, Campbell

5. Best Canine Sports Event
Oakland A’s Dog Days at the Park
On July 19, 2012, the Oakland A’s hosted their 7th Annual Dog Day at the Park and beat the Yankees 4-3. Exactly 718 dogs showed up to establish a new world record for canines at a sporting event. Many fans decked out their dogs for the pre-game “pup rally.”  Sponsored by AvoDerm Natural, Adams, and Nylabone – quality products for dogs with corporate offices in Walnut Creek – Dog Days at the Park continues to be a fantastic, local event you and your dog don’t want to miss.
San Francisco Giants’ Dog Days of Summer at AT&T Park, SF
Splash Dogs (various events)
Wiggle, Waggle, Walk; Alameda Animal Shelter, Alameda

6. Best Adult Dog Play Group/Event
Golden State Greyhound Adoption, Playdates at ARF
Golden State Greyhound Adoption (GSGA) is devoted to improving the lives of retired racing greyhounds by finding them loving forever homes. It hosts regular meet-and-greets with potential adopters throughout the greater Bay Area, which are open to the public (see the website for upcoming dates). On Saturdays in spring, weather permitting, it invites members/adopters only to grab their greyhounds and come out to play at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. Our BOBA voters gave top woofs to these fun social hours with a very special breed.
SF Chihuahua Meet Up Group, SF
Bark in the Park, San Jose
Dog Day Mornings/Dog Day Evenings, Peninsula Humane Society, Burlingame

7. Best Puppy Play Group/Event
SIRIUS Puppy Training (various locations), 800-419-8748
The Bay Area’s savvy dog guardians know that well-socialized puppies have the best chance of growing up to be well-mannered adult dogs. Our voters are fans of many fantastic puppy play groups, but when the votes were counted it was SIRIUS Puppy Training, with 24 locations throughout the Bay Area, that leapt to the top. What’s new at SIRIUS, where they’ve been perfecting off-leash puppy training for 27 years? A 12-week Complete SIRIUS Puppy Course, for one. We’re proud that SIRIUS founders Dr. Ian Dunbar and Kelly Gorman Dunbar, have contributed terrific Monthly Woof columns to this humble rag since our launch six years ago. Thanks and congrats!
SF Puppy Prep, SF
Peninsula Humane Society Puppy Play Group, Burlingame
Bravo Pup, East Bay


8. Best Dog Happy (Yappy) Hour
Doc’s Clock, 2575 Mission St. at 22nd, SF
Doc’s Clock is a dog-friendly neighborhood bar in the Mission with the right amount of “edge” and a whole lot of dog-loving heart. Both you and your dog can slake your thirst for a good cause on the first Saturday of every month, when 50% of bar proceeds and 100% of silent auction dollars go to a local animal rescue organization. Doc’s also won this year in the Best Dog-Friendly Bar category – make that a double!
Yappy Hour at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Wags & Wine at Wag Hotel, SF
SF Puppy Prep Friday Wine & Cheese Socials, SF

9. Best Fresh Water Bowl
Dog Bone Alley, 1432 Park St., Alameda
Dog Bone Alley, a sweet boutique located on beautiful Park Street in Alameda, is our readers’ pick for freshest water bowl in the Bay Area. It also offers a wide selection of holistic pet foods, gifts galore, and more! Founded in 2004, Dog Bone Alley has led the island in quality pet products.
Mudpuppy’s, SF
Holistic Hound Natural Pet Store, Berkeley
K9 Scrub Club, SF

10. Best Free Treats
Pet Food Express (various locations)
Pet Food Express shows its generosity to the local dog community in myriad ways – check its website for details about pet adoption events at the stores and corporate sponsorship of humane causes. All of that is wonderful and worthy of our praise. Yet one simple gift stands out above all others in the eyes of your dog: those yummy little morsels in the big jars he can’t stop staring at while you’re meandering the aisles. On behalf of their pups, our voters have spoken: Yum!
Jeffery’s Natural Pet Foods, SF
Pawtrero Bath and Feed, SF
Dog Bone Alley, Alameda

11. Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, 390 Capistrano Rd., Half Moon Bay; 650-728-BREW (2739)
You know the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company serves up great food and beer, great entertainment and events, a great patio, and a great attitude toward dogs – otherwise, you wouldn’t have voted it #1 two years in a row. But here’s something you may not know: notorious nearby big wave surfing site, Mavericks, got its name from a white German Shepherd who hit the beach with one of the first crews ever to test those gnarly waves crashing off Pillar Point. The cowabunga spirit of Mavericks is still going strong, on the boards and at this canine-friendly hangout in Half Moon Bay.
Park Chow, SF
Moss Beach Distillery, Moss Beach
Chow, Lafayette

12. Best Dog-Friendly Bar
Doc’s Clock, 2575 Mission St. at 22nd, SF
Bring your beast and stroll down to Doc’s Clock, a great Mission neighborhood joint with an open door to dogs. This popular dive features locally produced beer and wines, green energy, lots of dog-rescue and animal-shelter fundraisers, and a general, all-around good vibe. Bring cash and leave the plastic at home. Doc’s Clock also won this year in the Best Dog Happy (Yappy) Hour category. Check the website or Facebook page for details about this and events.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay
El Rio, SF
Beer Revolution, Oakland

13. Best Dog-Friendly Coffeehouse
Sit and Stay Café, Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Richmond
The Sit and Stay Cafe, located adjacent to (and run by) Mudpuppy’s at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, has won in this category four times – proof that our readers know where to find a good cup of dog-friendly java. After you pamper Fifi next door at Mudpuppy’s bath house, you can both settle in at the Sit and Stay for some tasty treats while enjoying a beautiful view of the Bay and some of the best dog-watching anywhere.
Peets Coffee and Tea (various locations)
Spikes Coffee, SF
Four Barrel, SF

14. Best Dog-Friendly Winery
Mutt Lynch Winery, Healdsburg
Sometimes the reward of a country drive is in the journey itself. When it comes to Mutt Lynch Winery, however, our voters and their dogs can’t wait to get there. The bucolic setting and off-leash policy are part of the draw, of course, but the canine-centricity evident throughout the wine catalog really makes it fun. Note the great dog-themed images on the labels (there’s an annual contest for artists) and the names of the wines themselves – Unleashed Chardonnay and Chateau D’Og, for example. A great time to visit would be during the upcoming Wag & Bag Barrell Tasting. To top it all off, Brenda and Chris Lynch are generous supporters of local animal charities. Good people, good wine, good dog!
Treasure Island Wines, Treasure Island
Frenchie Winery, Napa
Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda

15. Best Dog-Friendly Bakery
MaSnax, 707-293-9676
Founded by professional chefs and inspired by a pup (of course!), MaSnax whips up a tongue-wagging array of organic whole-grain, grain-free, and handcrafted confections and biscuits. The newest varieties incorporate botanicals, nutritional supplements, and whole fruits, seeds, and nuts. These treats look so tempting, your canine won’t be the only one licking her chops! MaSnax products are available online and in pet stores throughout the Bay Area.
Three Dog Bakery, Sonoma
Le Marcel, SF
Paw Patch Pastries, online only


16. Best Pet Superstore
Pet Food Express (various locations)
Our perennial winner in this category, Pet Food Express supports 47 local communities from Napa to Carmel with clean, well-stocked stores, a commitment to healthy food and lead-free toys, and a passion for adoption and rescue work. Look for mobile adoption fairs, vaccination clinics, all kinds of fundraisers, and donations to rescue programs, including regular shipments of food and supplies to local shelters. Great community citizens, they also won this year in the Best Thing to Happen to Dogs in the Bay Area and Best Wash – Self Serve categories.
PetSmart, various locations
PetCo, various locations
PetClub, various locations

17. Best Pet Boutique
Holistic Hound, 1510 Walnut St., Berkeley, 510-843-2133
Holistic Hound not only talks the talk but walks the walk and Bay Woof readers know all about it. At Heidi Hill’s trend-setting holistic boutique in Berkeley, you can find the best of natural foods, supplements, and treats for your dog or cat. Hill is a certified nutritionist and homeopath who takes her mission to heart – to improve the health, wellness, and longevity of our pets. Check the website to learn about upcoming educational talks on topics such as “Traditional Chinese Medicine for Animals” and “Integrative Approaches to Treating Cancer in Animals.”
Dog Bone Alley, Alameda
Pawtrero Bath and Feed, SF
Paws and Claws, Oakland

18. Best Doggie Birthday Present
A Paco collar, Paco Collars, Berkeley
Yes, your dog needs a collar for displaying his ID tag and attaching his leash. But does it have to be a dull and boring mass-produced collar? Especially for his birthday? Not at all. Our voters in-the-know call on Paco Collars for the finest in hand-crafted beauties featuring studs, gems, skulls, etching, and pretty much any kind of decoration that meets your mutt’s fancy.
Massage from Happy Hounds Massage
Pawsitively Gourmet Cookies, online only
Beef Bones from your butcher

19. Best Locally-Made Dog Stuff
SFRAW, 250 Napoleon St., SF, 415-225-0589
The San Francisco Raw Feeders Buyer’s Group, or SFRAW, is a member-supported, volunteer-run organization formed to supply the Bay Area’s growing pack of raw and home-cooked dog food aficionados with high quality ingredients at near wholesale prices. Membership is available at different fee levels and all members are subject to an annual volunteer requirement. SFRAW’s central warehouse is in San Francisco with regional pick-up/delivery locations throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. Not sure if SFRAW is for you? Check out its open-to-the-public freezer sale events at the warehouse, held each week.
Paco Collars, Berkeley
Fidos Fondue Gourmet Dog Biscuits, Oakland
P.L.A.Y. dog beds, SF

20. Best Pet Clothing Designs/Designer
Scutte, SF
“Sigh, woof, what’s a dog to wear?” According to our voters, this age-old question is finally answered at Scutte, a pet apparel and accessories company specializing in one-of-a-kind t-shirts and necktie collars for dogs up-cycled from vintage, closeout, and American-made materials. Need a great look for a special event? A big-attitude t-shirt for your petite Chihuahua? Some fan fashion for the next big game? Scutte has you covered!
Mijo & Bambi, SF
Waghearted, SF
The Modern Canine, SF


21. Best Veterinary Clinic
Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, 2501 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, (510) 530-1373
Over the years, Creature Comforts has won multiple BOBA awards in different vet-related categories and it continues to lead the pack with holistic, compassionate care for your pet. Dr Jenny Taylor runs a great clinic, which blends the best of Eastern and Western medicine to offer your sick pet the best and widest range of healing therapies.
Mission Pet Hospital, SF
Healthy Pets Vet Hospital, SF
Bishop Ranch Vet Center, San Ramon

22. Best Veterinarian
Dr. Gary Richter, Montclair Vet Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland
Gary Richter led the veterinary pack this year, as he has in the past, impressing our voters with his experience, empathy, and holistic approach to caring for canines. 2012 saw the opening of Richter’s new clinic, Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center (HVC) on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland, which puts “alternative” therapies front and center while not neglecting mainstream treatment options. HVC took top honors in two categories, Best Alternative Medicine Provider (#25), and Best Canine Therapy Facility (#26). Hearty woofs and wags!
Dr. Jenny Taylor, Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland
Dr. Ilana Struebel, A Well Adjusted Pet, SF
Dr. Michelle Forgy, Pinnacle Animal Hospital, San Jose

23. Best Canine Chiropractor
Dr. Ilana Struebel, A Well Adjusted Pet, SF
Local animal hero (and Bay Woof contributor) Ilana Strubel owns and operates A Well Adjusted Pet veterinary housecall practice specializing in chiropractic care, behavior consultation, and nutrition assessments. She is also in general practice at Healthy Pets Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco, where she treats each patient’s entire being – body, mind, and quality of life. The frosting on the biscuit: She has donated countless hours to treating the pets of San Francisco’s homeless population. Grateful woofs, Ilana! 415-967-3861.
Margaret Holiday, Alternatives for Animals, East Bay & Marin County
Deb Sell, Next Level Animal Choropractic, Central California
Betsey Carpenter, From Healing to Wellness, SF & Oakland

24. Best Canine Massage Therapist
Shelah Barr, Happy Hounds Massage, SF
San Francisco-based Shelah Barr started as a massage therapist for humans, but when dogs started leaning on her, all but pointing to where they were stiff or sore, she started to treat them, as well. She now focuses on canines, offering recovery and rehabilitation massage, performance support massage, maintenance massage, and massage for senior and special needs dogs. Shelah gives special love to the Muttville woofers and also runs the Pet Program for San Francisco’s Sunday Streets. Is she good at what she does? You’ll be amazed at how mellow your dog can be.
Heather Sanders, Wags n’ Wellness, Bay Area
Melissa Brooks, Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland
Deborah Ellen, Spirited Paws, Berkeley

25. Best Alternative Medicine Provider
Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitaion Center, 4282 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, 510-339-2600
With his shiny new clinic and on-site, state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility, owner/practitioner Gary Richter and his staff take top honors this year in this hotly contested category. Offering acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic care, rehab therapy, nutritional counseling, and more, Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland is a steadfast source of compassionate and comprehensive care for your canines.
Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland
Healthy Pets Vet Hospital, SF
The Whole Pet Vet Hospital and Wellness Center, Los Gatos

26. Best Canine Therapy Facility
Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitaion Center, 4282 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, 510-339-2600
This tail-biter category finally tipped in favor of the Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Gary Richter’s new clinic in the Piedmont district of Oakland. In the eyes of our readers, Dr. Richter’s wisdom on canine wellness is second to none – he won as Best Veterinarian and the clinic also topped the list as Best Alternative Medical Provider. Chiropractic, acupuncture, signal pulse therapy, nutrition counseling, and the other cutting-edge modalities offered here are sure to get your mutt on the mend.
Muller Canine Rehabilitation Center, Walnut Creek
SAGE Centers for Veterinary and Emergency Care, East Bay
Scout’s House, Menlo Park

27. Best Emergency Care
VCA SF Veterinary Specialists, 600 Alabama St., SF, 415-401-9200
This full-service Mission district hospital now provides 24/7 urgent care and emergency services every day of the week. During normal office hours, the docs at VCA SF Veterinary Specialists practice all aspects of internal medicine, often combining complementary and conventional approaches.
Berkeley Dog and Cat Hospital, Berkeley
PETS Referral Center, Berkeley
SAGE Centers for Veterinary and Emergency Care, East Bay


28. Best Dog-Friendly Pool
The Rex Center, 1040 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica, 415-578-5735
Think of The Rex Center as a spa and health club for canines: warm water swimming, Reiki, massage, aromatherapy, puppy socials… everything required for a day of doggy bliss. Even more important, the services offered by Cathy Chen-Rennie and her staff – warm water swimming, low-impact exercise, and massage – can be just the ticket for older dogs, arthritic dogs, and dogs recovering from many kinds of injuries and surgeries. Non-swimmers welcome, water skills are taught here as needed. See the Wall Street Journal’s rave about Rex in their article, “See Spot Swim.”
Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland
The Swimming Dog, San Rafael
Pet Camp, SF

29. Best Dog Groomer
Bernie’s Grooming, 1200 15th St., SF, 415-550-2323
At Bernie’s Grooming, located inside San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the mission statement reads: “To help each pet feel and look their best for their new life and adopted family.” Compassionately grooming the multitudes of rescues that enter the doors of the city’s shelter, Bernie’s also offers excellent care and service to the dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs of private clients. With a new second location near the Embarcadero, Bernie’s can pretty-up even more beasts who will make their people proud.
Under One Woof, Alameda
VIP Grooming, SF
Kate’s Dog and Cat Salon, SF

30. Best Self-Serve Dog Wash
Pet Food Express (various locations)
Clean, convenient, and easy to use, the self-serve dog wash facilities at Pet Food Express stores take the most of the trouble out of a wet and sloppy task. Our voters love PFE for a whole lot of good reasons – see Best Free Treats, Best Pet Superstore, and Best Thing to Happen to Bay Area Dogs in 2012. We couldn’t agree more that our locally-owned pet products chain is a doglover’s dream.
Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, in SF and at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Richmond
K9 Scrub Club, SF
Doggie Bath-o-Matt, SF

31. Best Dog Walker
Doggy Lama, Oakland/East Bay, 510-434-1974
This year marks the fourth straight BOBA win for Molly Kenefick’s Doggy Lama Pet Care, which serves the East Bay’s Oakland/Berkeley/Montclair “triangle.” Pooch lovers everywhere seem to agree with our readers, and Doggy Lama has racked up an impressive collection of “bests.” Molly’s recipe for success? Start with rigorous training, add an aptitude for fun and adventure, and top with a dollop of sweetness. Example: Doggy Lama posts photos of your playing pups on Flickr and Facebook so you don’t get too lonesome for your special canine’s smile.
Pawsitive Tails, SF
Small Club, SF
The Fairy Dogfather, SF

32. Best Dog Sitter
Dog Tales Walking & Sitting, serving parts of SF and nearby environs
Bay Woof readers give owner Deborah Deegan and her crew top honors for the best in dog walking (in groups or solo), play groups, and training walks, as well as dog (and cat) sitting in her home or yours. “Compassionate,” “communicative,” “professional,” “reliable,” “flexible,” and “Always alert to the dogs’ changing needs” are some of the ways voters described her services. Dogs come home from Dog Tales feeling happy and well-exercised.
Small Club, SF
GET OUT OF TOWN! Pet Care, Pinole
Pawsitive Tails, SF

33. Best Doggie Daycare
Wag Hotels, 25 14th St., SF, 415-876-0700
With “Frequent Wagger Packages” and optional amenities like “splash pool sessions” and “buddy time,” it’s no wonder Wag Hotels earned top honors with BOBA voters and their pups. Private rooms, a rooftop play space, and a la carte treats like stuffed kongs and doggie ice cream make it a favorite with our readers and their woofers.
Citizen Canine, Oakland
Woofgang’s Doggie Daycare, South San Francisco
Doggie Style Day Care, Silicon Valley/Morgan Hill 

34. Best Overnight Boarder
Camp Lisa, Moraga
Camp Lisa led the pack in this category based on years of experience with satisfied voters, who describe owner Lisa Gillett as exceptionally trustworthy and skilled. Dogs who stay here aren’t kept in separate crates, but allowed to roam and intermingle with other canine “guests” in spacious indoor and outdoor areas. There are admission requirements and rules to ensure that your dog will be a good fit. If it all works out, you can join the ranks of local dog owners who agree that Camp Lisa is, as it claims, “a safe, fun, and happy place for your dog to stay time and time again.”
Wag Hotels, SF
Muttley Crew, SF
High Tail Hotel, SF

35. Best Training Class
SIRIUS Dog Training (various locations), 800-419-8748
The Bay Area boasts a plethora of excellent trainers and behaviorists, so we all have the luxury of selecting trainers and training classes perfectly suited to our dogs. The vast majority of these folks use the positive-reinforcement training techniques pioneered decades ago by SIRIUS founder Dr. Ian Dunbar. Given Dunbar’s pack-leader reputation and the availability of SIRIUS classes throughout the Bay Area, it’s no surprise that it remains our readers’ overall favorite in this important category.
Pawsitive Tails, SF
SF Puppy Prep, SF
Bravo Pup, East Bay

36. Best Private Trainer
Lisa Gunter, Pawsitive Tails, 415-834-5140
Lisa Gunter brings many years of experience and training to bear when working with dogs, both one-on-one and in Pawsitive Tails’ small classes. She is particularly renowned for her results with “Drama Queens and Diva Dogs,” recently rescued dogs, and other challenged canines. She helps us humans understand how to help and support our dogs so they can blossom into ever-more-fabulous furry companions.
Sandra Rogers, Ace Dog Sports, SF
Trish King, Positively Trained, Lafayette
Mike Wombacher, Dog Gone Good, Berkeley

37. Best Dog Photographer
Kira Stackhouse, Nuena Photography, SF
The SF Bay Area is blessed to have so many talented dog artists and photographers, which of course makes it really hard to choose! Our voters, however, had no problem selecting Nuena Photography as top dog in this category. Owner Kira Stackhouse’s recently released hard-cover book, Project-DOG, features fab photos of 170 dog breeds living in the Bay Area. Her pro bono work at local shelters and rescues has helped many animals find new homes via captivating shots where their unique personalities shine.
Jesse Freidin, Jesse Freidin Photography, SF
Barbara Brady-Smith, Share the Joy Photography, Lafayette
Diane K. Costello, Fog Dog Studio, SF

38. Best Pet Artist
Samuel Price,
There are loads of local folks inspired by dogs to create marvelous art in a variety of disciplines, from painting to sculpture to cutting up magazine pages into tiny colorful squares and gluing them down in a pattern that actually amazingly resembles your particular pet. What? Wow! Samuel Price has mastered the latter creative process and makes custom portraits for folks who love their dogs and great art. Check out his online portfolio and prepare to be astounded by his gift.
Alina Kremer,
Tim Racer,
Eileen Goldenberg,


39. Best Dog-Friendly Lodgings
Stanford Inn, Coast Highway at Comptche Ukiah Rd., Mendocino, 800-331-8884
Imagine you, your best furry friend, and some of the most beautiful views on earth – you’re day-dreaming about Stanford Inn by the Sea! Miles of wind-swept trails, wild beaches, and one of California’s most canine-conscious small towns, all await your exploration. Then relax and enjoy fine vegan dining at The Ravens, where Fido can join you in the restaurant’s lobby. All amenities reflect the Inn’s commitment to both your and your dog’s well-being and enjoyment.
Cypress Inn, Carmel
Sheep Dung Ranch, Boonville
3 Springs Ranch, Lake County

40. Best Day Trip with a Dog
Bay Woof readers have spoken: dogs dig Carmel! Tree-lined streets lead to wide sandy beaches where they can romp and run with abandon. Shops (and even bankers) keep doggie treats at hand, water bowls are everywhere, and most restaurants with patios welcome dogs and their human companions. More dog-friendly details available at Catering to Canines
Half Moon Bay
Pt. Reyes
Fort Funston

41. Best Dog-Friendly Campground
Big Sur Camping and Campgrounds, 831-667-2322
The gorgeous Big Sur coastline offers many options for dog-friendly camping. Big Sur Camping and Campgrounds welcomes dogs at many of its locations. The more fully equipped cabins are not canine-friendly (we asked), but other possibilities abound in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Leash-free Pfeiffer Beach is where you can let your leash and hair down. As with any vacation destination, be sure to call before making any reservations to double check the dog policy. (P.S. Most state parks allow dogs as long as they’re on six-foot leashes.)
Russian River, various locations
Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley
Mono Hot Springs, Lakeshore (about 70 miles east of Fresno)


42. Best Rescue Group
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, SF
Oh, Muttville, how Bay Woof readers love you! You won top honors for Best Rescue Group again this year, and you were praised to the skies in the feedback area on many ballots. Founder Sherri Franklin deserves great kudos for taking up the cause of abandoned senior dogs. She and her dedicated crew work hard to find them loving homes where they can live out their years enjoying comfort, companionship, and TLC.
Furry Friends Rescue, SF Bay Area
Rocket Dog Rescue, SF
, Oakland

43. Best Humane Organization
San Francisco SPCA, 201 Alabama St., SF, 415-554-3000
The SF SPCA is not just a a local animal welfare pioneer, it’s one of the most ground-breaking humane organizations in the country. Grateful for the no-kill movement? Glad to see adoptable animals showcased in attractive, welcoming environments? Thank the SF SPCA, which led the way in these and other important shelter trends. In collaboration with San Francisco Animal Care and Control (this year’s winner for Best Municipal Shelter) and a host of rescue groups, SF SPCA has made San Francisco one of the nation’s most compassionate cities for homeless cats and dogs.
Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society, Berkeley
Contra Costa Humane Society, Pleasant Hill
East Bay SPCA, Oakland and Dublin

44. Best Canine Cause
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, SF

Muttville is dedicated to changing the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs. Its wonderful volunteers create better lives for canine senior citizens who find themselves without homes, offering rescue, foster, adoption, and hospice services as needed. Check the website for a calendar of events, volunteer opportunities, and to learn about great programs like Seniors for Seniors, which provides special care and support for human oldsters who adopt senior dogs.
East Bay SPCA’s Chihuahua Palooza, Oakland
PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), pet support for humans in need, SF
Golden Gate Greyhound Rescue, Walnut Creek

45. Best Fundraising Event
Moolah for Mutts, Muttville, SF
Muttville’s Moolah for Mutts takes the prize with Bay Woof readers for best fundraising event. 2012’s French-themed moolah event, Joie de Mutt – where founder Sherrie Franklin played hostess to hordes of local celebrities, volunteers, and party goers – raised major funds for the Bay Area’s venerable canines. Who wouldn’t want to support the great canine cause (also voted #1) of helping senior dogs find great forever homes?
Bark & Whine Ball, SF SPCA, SF
Petchitecture, PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), SF
Growl, Meow and Wine, East Bay SPCA, Oakland

46. Best Municipal Shelter
San Francisco Animal Care and Control, SF
San Francisco’s only open-door shelter has a mind-boggling job on its hands – dealing with any and every animal surrendered at its doors, found wandering the streets, or taken into custody due to neglect, abuse, fights/bites, and other critical situations. Thanks to dedicated leadership and staff, SF ACC tackles it all with compassion and a steadfast commitment to doing right by dogs and people alike. Of course we’d love for all shelters to be strictly “no-kill,” but until that’s possible we’ll give credit where it’s due. With the help and support of local humane organizations and rescue groups, SF ACC has greatly increased its live-release rate in recent years, and our readers say that’s something to woof about.
Berkeley Animal Care Services/Control, Berkeley
Oakland Animal Services, Oakland
Peninsula Humane Society, Burlingame


47. Best Dog Blog
So many cool people are sharing interesting dog stuff on the Internet these days that it’s hard to keep up! Blogger Sharon Castellanos is a long-time advocate of all things canine who also happens to write with sensitivity and flair. And despite its title, this year’s winning BOBA blog is decidedly non-grouchy. In fact, Grouchy Puppy has a passion for positivity. Start reading now and you’ll get in on the ground floor of the “52 Weeks of Cleo Project!”
BADRAP Barn Blog

48. Best Dog Social Networking Site
Dog Connect Bay Area
Number 1 with Bay Woof readers, Dog Connect is a SF-Bay Area networking site for dog owners, trainers, fosters, rescues, and other dog lovers who use positive reinforcement in working with their dogs. Everyone interested in non-violent and non-confrontational training methods is welcome.
East Bay SPCA on Facebook
Dogbook on Facebook

49. Best Online Dog Boutique
With just the right blend of retro styling, contemporary attitude, and high-tech products, came out on top in this coveted category. Offering stylish beds, quilts, tags, and attire for dogs, cats, and humans, George proves that an animal-friendly home and its inhabitants can be chic and stylish. With three stores in the Bay Area in addition to our readers’ favorite website, uber cool canine goods are right at your pawtips.
Mijo & Bambi

50. Best Online Vet Advice
When our dogs are sick, we are too – with worry and dismay over what’s wrong and how to make it better. We turn to our real-life veterinarians when a health crisis looms, of course, but sometimes we need more comprehensive info than a typical office visit provides. Or we need advice on what we can do for our furry friends right NOW. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true Internet sources for canine health advice, and is our reader’s #1 choice. Loads of articles, breed-specific info, a symptom checker, nutrition guidelines, and much more make this website a grrrrrrrr-eat resource for keeping your pet in the pink.
Dr. Karen Becker

51. Best Online Adoption Site
PetFinder returns as BOBA’s most popular online resource for adopting new canine family members. This national database of pets, available from shelters and rescue groups throughout the country, allows you to search by location, breed, age, and gender. Much more than just a with fur (not to mention scales and feathers), the site features fun stories and pet profiles, animal news, and a heap of useful info. Howls of gratitude to PetFinder and to everyone everywhere who works to find every dog a loving home.

52. Best Overall Website for Dog Lovers
Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls started out as a Bay Area resource for Pits and their people, raising awareness about the issues that affect this often misunderstood breed. Now it’s a national sensation, thanks to founder Donna Reynolds and her corps of volunteers. Look to for training tips, owner support, disaster relief services, and animal welfare program models to help dogs everywhere.


Great Ideas for New BOBA Categories

In addition to casting votes in our established categories, our cool and creative BOBA voters filled in the designated blank on the ballot to send us their ideas for new categories we might include in the future. We sure won’t have space for them all, but here’s our Top Ten list of possibilities. Thanks for the brainstorms!

  • Best Animal Acupuncturist
  • Best Animal Rights Advocate/Activist
  • Best Dog Facebook Page
  • Best Dog-friendly Politician
  • Best Dog-friendly Shopping Area/Mall
  • Best Humane Education Program for Kids
  • Best Mobile Vet
  • Best Pet Adoption Event
  • Best Place to Volunteer
  • Best Therapy Pet Program

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Main article photo by: Michael Wertz,