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Beast of the Bay Awards 2014

To us dog people, it’s pretty obvious that the San Francisco Bay Area is a marvelous mutt habitat. Canine-friendly businesses, positive-methods trainers, and gorgeous hiking trails abound. Still, some people, places, and things go above and beyond – and that’s what our annual Beast of the Bay Awards is all about. Back in November, we started asking readers to tell us about their favorite canine resources by voting online. Voting ended on January 31 with almost 4,000 ballots having been cast! Winners and runners-up in all 57 categories appear in this issue for your browsing pleasure. No doubt you’ll find some new gems mixed in amongst old favorites. To celebrate the bounty, you (if you’re 21+) and your canine companion are invited attend the awards party scheduled for April 12 at El Rio in San Francisco. Full details appear in the ad on page 9. Many thanks to all participants and we look forward to seeing you there!


1. Best thing to happen to SF/Bay Area dogs in 2013
Dogs can still be off leash in GGNRA!
Well, at least for the time being. At press time for this issue, the period for public comment has just ended on the revised dog management plan proposed for lands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Revised but still oppressive, it bans off-leash access in most of the GGNRA, including such beloved locales as Fort Funston and Crissy Field. Naturally, local dog lovers are up in arms and will continue to advocate for a more rational arrangement. Stay tuned to the latest developments at and
More dog parks established in the Bay Area
Bay Area Pet Fair and Adoptathon
Moolah for Mutts fundraiser for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

2. Best Dog-friendly Politician
President Barak Obama
You’ve got to love a President who adopts not one, but two dogs while in office. It may be true that First Dog Bo was getting a little lonely, but the Prez struck a chord with many Bay Woof readers when he explained the real reason for Sunny’s adoption: “I think there is an element for Michelle and me…we see what’s coming [with the girls getting older] and we need to make sure that somebody greets us… when we get home.” We heartily agree. There’s nothing like an enthusiastic tail wag after a long day as leader of the free world.
SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, San Francisco
Governor Jerry Brown
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

3. Best Dog-friendly Workplace
Pet Food Express, multiple Bay Area locations
Not surprisingly, the Bay Area’s own Pet Food Express (PFE) – one of the country’s leading independent pet food and supply retailers – is a great place for employees and their dog companions. Workers as well as customers are welcome to bring their well-behaved pets to the stores. PFE deserves great kudos for its service to our dog community. The company sponsors the Bay Area Pet Fair & Adoptathon and donated $1.7 million in 2013 to over fifty police K-9 departments, a hundred rescues and shelters, and more than a hundred schools in Northern California.
Runners up:

Sports and Recreation

4. Best Dog Park
Ft. Funston, SF
What’s in a name, right? Fort Funston has it all: views, trails, sea breezes, and long lovely walks on the beach with your furry friends rambling about. Sadly, off-leash romps in this beloved locale may soon be a thing of the past. By the time you read this, the public comment period on the Golden Gate Recreation Area’s draft dog management plan will be over and the fate of off-leash recreations in the GGNRA will be out of our hands. Fingers and paws double crossed!
Point Isabel National Shoreline, Richmond
Crissy Field, SF, (also part of the GGNRA)
Duboce Park, SF

5. Best Hiking Trail
Redwood Regional Park
Redwood Regional Park (RRP) is a true gem among many in the string of parks on the ridge above Oakland and Berkeley. Bay Woof voters gave it top wags for the best hiking trail, no doubt for the majestic redwoods and beautiful vistas. Note that on weekends there is a small dog fee ($2 per dog), but it’s money well spent to support the East Bay Regional Park District, whose stewardship has kept this park well-maintained and (so far) off-leash friendly. There are bike and horse trails in RRP, so if your dog is reactive to either, check out the online trail map and plan your hikes wisely. Main Park Entrance: 7867 Redwood Road in Oakland. There are several other entrances, see the website for details.
Ft. Funston
Tilden Park
Pulgas Ridge

6. Best View with a Dog
Bernal Heights Park
If anything about the climate can be called normal these days, then on a normal day walking up Bernal Hill you will feel like the wind could lift you and your dog into the air any second. But you don’t have to go airborne here to enjoy a mind-blowing 360-degree view of San Francisco. Just keep pushing ahead up the steep-but-not-too-long trail until you reach the top. This is the place to go for off-leash running, and it provides good exercise for canine and human alike with some very sweet moments just sitting together taking in all that beauty.
Crissy Field, SF
Ocean Beach, SF
Point Isabel National Shoreline, Richmond

7. Best Canine Sports Event
Dachshund Races at Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley
Forget horseracing – it’s the sight of a hundred Dachshunds stretched out, running full-speed ahead, that excites our readers. On June 6, head out to Golden Gate Fields for the annual Wiener Dog Nationals and you’ll understand why. Bring your friends and family to cheer on the not-so-leggy little beasts, each escorted by humans in matching outfits, as they take to the track and do their best to chase down a $1,000 purse. It’s a delightful spectacle, to be sure. Horses? They’re just the sideshow.
AKC Agility Trials
Splash Dogs dock diving
Oakland A’s Dog Day at the Park

8. Best Adult Dog Play Group/Event
Metro Dog, Richmond
Our voters are fans of many fantastic play groups, but when all the votes were counted Metro Dog’s Saturday small dog socials leapt to the top. Maybe it’s because there are separate designated indoor spaces for shy and rambunctious dogs. Fans also love that Metro Dog Academy trainers are on hand to help. Your social dog under 15 pounds with current vaccinations (records will be checked) are welcome to join the fun from 11:15 to noon on most Saturdays.
Runners up:
Bark in the Park, San Jose
SF Chihuahua/Small Dog Meetup, Stern Grove in Golden Gate Park, SF
Wag Hotels, SF

9. Best Puppy Social
Sirius Puppy Groups, multiple Bay Area locations
Learning to play well with others, the sharing of space and stuff, and proper butt-sniffing etiquette are all part of the program at Sirius Puppy Groups around the Bay Area. Founded over three decades ago by Ian Dunbar, Bay Woof contributor extraordinaire, Sirius has grown into a major force in local dog training and socialization with 27 locations, hundreds of classes, and dozens of trainers in the line-up. Full details on socials, classes, etc. at the Sirius website, where you can also order Dunbar’s excellent books and videos.
SF Puppy Prep, SF
Metro Dog, Richmond
Wag Hotel, SF

Food and Drink

10. Best Dog Happy (Yappy) Hour
Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay
You and your dog have never seen a place as luxurious for furry social gatherings as the Ritz-Carlton on the beautiful coast of Half Moon Bay. This four-star hotel hosts monthly happy hours and readers voted them four paws down as the best in the area. Canine attendees enjoy complimentary treats, toys, and flavored waters while their owners nibble appetizers and drink specially priced beer and wine. Often, a portion of the proceeds are donated to benefit local rescue organizations.
Doc’s Clock
Wag Hotels Waggin’ Hour
Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, Castro location

11. Best Fresh Water Bowl
Mudpuppy’s at Pt. Isabel National Shoreline, Richmond
At the end of an unassuming road, just past the sprawling parking lot of the Costco store on Central Avenue in Richmond, there is a delightful destination for dogs and dog people: Pt. Isabel. Not only does the place provide miles of off-leash recreation smack dab on the East Bay shoreline. You will also find Mudpuppy’s – a convenient bathing facility for de-soiling dogs after their frothy romps. And don’t miss the Sit and Stay Café, which dispenses drinks and snacks to help fuel the fun. All three locales have won our readers’ kudos time and time again. This year Mudpuppy’s gets the nod for Best Fresh Water Bowl, so add that to your list of reasons to go, soon and often.
Sunset Pet Supply, SF
Books Inc. in the Castro, SF
Bow Wow Meow, SF

12. Best Free Treats
Dog Bone Alley
It’s people who cast BOBA ballots, but members of Bay Woof’s canine contingent vote with their feet and trot over to Alameda for the free treats at Dog Bone Alley. Woof woof woof and yum! The staff is great, too, but what your dogs really love are those delicious treats, and they’re hoping you’ll purchase a nice supply to take home. You’ll enjoy checking out the great selection of other pet necessities, including apparel, but don’t expect your dog to take his eyes off the… you guessed it, treats.
Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods
K9 Scrub Club, SF
Pet Food Express, multiple Bay Area locations

13. Best Dog-friendly Restaurant
Half Moon Bay Brewery
Winning for the third year in a row, Half Moon Bay Brewery beats the competition with its welcoming vibe that extends beyond mere humans. This super dog-friendly hangout welcomes pooches with its famous house-made dog treats as well as friendly ear scratches. Dubbed Maverick Bones after nearby surfers’ mecca The Mavericks, these special creations are crafted using spent grains from the brewing process. And for human consumption, the artisanal beer made here is awesome, too.
Runners up:
Duboce Park Café, SF
Moss Beach Distillery, Moss Beach
Forge in the Forest, Carmel

14. Best Dog-friendly Bar
El Rio, SF
El Rio has been home to the last several Beast of the Bay Awards celebrations, and it seems a perfect tribute that our readers chose this great joint as Best Bar. Exceptionally dog friendly (that means well-behaved dogs, of course), it welcomes the wagging set on a daily basis. They are often seen hanging out on the back patio with their people, enjoying live music and the lively scene of this popular Mission District hot spot.
Doc’s Clock, SF
Lucky 13, SF & Alameda
Lagunitas Brewery, Petaluma

15. Best Dog-friendly Coffeehouse
Philz, multiple Bay Area locations
First of all, a great dog-friendly coffeehouse has to have great coffee. Philz offers slow-filtered coffee for the serious coffee drinker, festive cold coffee concoctions, and everything in between. Everything. Oh, yeah, about the dogs. Of course your dog is welcome at Philz, and there are yummy treats for them, besides.
Java Beach Café, SF
Catahoula Coffeehouse, Richmond
Fork Café, SF

16. Best Dog-Friendly Winery
Mutt Lynch Winery, Healdsburg
Meeting Patch, a rescued ex-racing greyhound who is head pooch-o at Mutt Lynch Winery, is just one of the reasons our BOBA voters flock to the place. Most bottle labels depict dogs and the names of wines are usually canine-inspired, like the 2009 “mbf” (Man’s Best Friend) Petite Sirah, Perotti Vineyard, which won Double Gold in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Brenda and Chris Lynch are great supporters of local humane causes, four paws up! You’re reading this just in time for two back-to-back barrel tasting weekends (2/28-3/2 and 3/7-3/9) at the new Mutt Lynch tasting room in Windsor. Visit the website for details.
Treasure Island Wines, Treasure Island
Navarro Winery, Philo, Mendocino County
Howell at the Moon Vineyards and Winery, Angwin, Napa Valley

17. Best Dog-Friendly Bakery
Three Dog Bakery, Sonoma
According to one Yelp review, the greeter pooch here has done voice-over work in such movies as Toy Story 3 and Avatar. Wow! Meeting a canine star adds to the attraction of this charming bakery in the charming town of Sonoma. The self-proclaimed first dog bakery in existence, founded in 1989, Three Dog pays careful attention to ingredients and cooking technique to ensure highest nutrient value for your buck. Of course your dog only cares that the Roll-Over Rewards and Beg-als, in flavors ranging from peanut to cheese to vanilla, taste really good!
Okashi Barkery, 519 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell (website under construction)
Le Marcel Dog Bakery, SF
Masnax, via numerous retail stores in California and beyond


18. Best Pet Superstore
Pet Food Express, multiple Bay Area locations
Our perennial winner in this category, Pet Food Express supports over 50 local communities from Napa to Carmel with clean, well-stocked stores, a commitment to healthy food and lead-free toys. But to the folks at PFE, there’s more to life than product. The company sponsors mobile adoption fairs, vaccination clinics, and all kinds of fundraisers, and makes generous donations to animal causes, including regular shipments of food and supplies to local shelters. This standout pet supply chain also won this year’s Beast of the Bay Award for Best Dog-Friendly Workplace.
PetCo Unleashed, multiple Bay Area locations
PetClub, multiple Bay Area locations
PetSmart, multiple Bay Area locations

19. Best Pet Boutique
Pawtrero, SF
The full-service Pawtrero is Bowser- and browser-friendly, offering a great selection of canine bling as well as practical stuff like leashes and training supplies. The staff is friendly and at the ready with good advice about toys and accessories. Pawtrero also offers fun DIY dog bath facilities, but if life is too short for you to be up to your Casabella Latex gloves in soap suds, Pawtrero has experienced groomers on hand to handle the dirty work so your dog can be looking and smelling tip-top by the time you head home.
Holistic Hound, Berkeley
Paws and Claws, Oakland
Noe Valley Pet Co., SF

20. Best Doggie Birthday Present
Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods treats
Jeffrey’s homemade dog treats are the toast of the town and a perfect choice for the (birthday) party animal in your home. What Fido wouldn’t want to be celebrated with “handmade, fresh, and organic pet foods five days a week?” With two San Francisco locations (Castro and North Beach), Jeffrey’s is easy to find and well worth a visit, especially with your treat-loving pooch by your side.
Paco collar
P.L.A.Y. dog bed
Wildebeest doggie clothes

21. Best Locally Made Dog Stuff
Paco Collars
You’re welcome to shop at Paco’s brick-and-mortar store on Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, but the online gallery of handsome dogs wearing awesome collars is sure to bow-wow you. Buy something pre-created by founder Anna Poe and her talented crew or invent a unique collar for your best buddy. An interactive tool at the site – “collar builder” – can guide you through the design process. Those who hanker for hands-on can sign up for a 3-hour collar-making class. FYI, Paco makes cool leather stuff for cats and people, too.
FYDO dog beds
P.L.A.Y. dog beds
SFRAW dog food

22. Best Pet Clothing Designs/Designers
In the market for a top-quality new leash? Elegant collar, doggy bandana, or rain gear? Our voters proclaim that this is the place to shop. Your pups will know comfort and quality design when they wear it, and you will appreciate that Wildebeest products are eco-friendly and locally made, thus helping to revive the local economy. How many wins is that?
Modern Canine
Paco Collars

23. Best Dog-Friendly General Retail Store
Sports Basement, multiple Bay Area locations
Sports Basement, with five locations in and around San Francisco, is popular with active, sports-minded humans and is happy to welcome their dogs. The stores serve as community centers where locals can hold club meetings, host gatherings, and attend classes about pertinent topics from (human) CPR to bike maintenance.  With your dog by your side, in the store and on the trail, make 2014 the year you explore all the great outdoor resources of the beautiful Bay Area. [Ed. Note: Not all locations allow dogs inside, so call ahead before visiting.]
Cliff’s Variety, SF
Laurel Ace Hardware, Oakland
Cole Hardware, SF

Health and Wellness

24. Best Veterinary Clinic
Mission Pet Hospital, SF
There is nothing worse than having a sick dog. The poor baby can’t tell you what’s wrong, and more often than not you’re not sure about the right treatment. According to BOBA voters, the docs at Mission Pet Hospital are not just kind and responsive, as is pretty much a requirement for all vets, but are communicative and willing to explain options. Phone calls are returned and useful information is provided. What more could you want? Parking would be nice. But the people who swear by this hospital feel the search for a spot is well worth it.
Healthy Pets Animal Hospital, SF
Pets Unlimited, SF
Pinnacle Animal Hospital, San Jose

25. Best Veterinarian
Dr. Michelle Forgy, Pinnacle Animal Hospital, San Jose
Best Vet is always a hotly contested category, and this year was no different. When the dust settled, a new leader emerged. Dr. Michelle Forgy is a San Jose native who has been treating dogs and cats with skill and compassion since graduating from vet school in 2002. Her special interest in endocrinology makes her the go-to person for such conditions as diabetes and Cushing’s disease. The South Bay is lucky to have her!
Dr. Jenny Taylor, Oakland
Dr. Gary Richter, Oakland
Dr. Adam Paiseczny, SF

26. Best Canine Chiropractor
Dr. Ilana Strubel, SF and Mobile
Once again this year, Ilana Strubel earns top kudos from our voters for her skilled and compassionate mobile chiropractic care for dogs. But her exceptional work for animals doesn’t stop with spinal adjustments. A licensed full-service veterinarian with special training in behavioral medicine, Ilana offers a wide array of mainstream and complementary treatments at Healthy Pets Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco and via her housecall practice, Well Adjusted Pet. Perhaps the brightest feather in her cap is her volunteer work with Vet SOS, which provides free veterinary care for the companion animals of homeless people in San Francisco.
Betsey Carpenter, Oakland
Deb Sell, Prunedale
Margaret Holiday, San Rafael

27. 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. Is she good at what she does? According to our voters, you’ll be amazed at how mellow your dog can be.
Heather Sanders, mobile
Anastasia Lang, mobile
Deborah Ellen, mobile

28. Best Alternative Medicine Provider
Healthy Pets Veterinary Hospital, SF
Our BOBA voters love the caring attention provided by Dr. Adam Piaseczny and his team. With staff fluent in Russian, Cantonese, Spanish, Khmer, and American Sign Language, the clinic can effectively serve a large and diverse community of Bay Area dog people. This “integrative” clinic combines the best of mainstream and alternative medicine, offering acupuncture, nutrition counseling, and herbal remedies as well as cutting-edge technologies. Add it all together and what do you get? Healthy Pets!
Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center, Oakland
All Paws Veterinary Clinic, Pt. Richmond
Lotus House Calls, mobile

29. Best Canine Therapy Facility
Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland
Holistic Veterinary Care on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland, run by frequent contributor and BOBA winner Dr. Gary Richter, addresses long-term canine health problems and specializes in health issues with multiple causes and no easy answers. As the “holistic” part of the clinic name implies, the docs here take time to understand everything that’s going on with your dog, including his environment. The hospital offers rehabilitation, nutrition guidance, acupuncture, and applied kinesiology, as well as cutting-edge treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy and stem cell therapy.
Muller Canine Rehab Center, Walnut Creek
Scout’s House, Menlo Park
SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, multiple Bay Area locations

30. Best Emergency Care
SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care , 4 Bay Area locations
If you’re in the East or South Bay, chances are you’re not too far from one of four local SAGE vet clinics, located in Campbell, Concord, Dublin, and San Mateo. Treating urgent cases and all animals in need of their crack team of specialists, the centers are open 24/7 for emergencies. It’s this kind of accessibility, plus excellent quality of care, that earned them top marks with our voters.
VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, SF
PETS Referral Center, Berkeley
Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos

31. Best Dog-friendly Pool
The Rex Center
Lots of dogs love the water but don’t get many chances to submerge themselves in it. Turns out swimming isn’t just for fun, it can also be good medicine, so it’s worthwhile expanding those opportunities. Just like with people, water exercise improves cardiovascular health for canines while reducing the risk of injury. It’s also perfect for dogs with orthopedic problems, including arthritis, and for those recovering from surgery. Lots of our voters recommend swimming at the Rex Center for your dog’s health and enjoyment. See the website for a full list of canine ailments improved by swimming.
Holistic Vet Care, Oakland
Pet Camp, SF
The Swimming Dog, Petaluma (sorry, now permanently closed)

32. Best Mobile Veterinary Practice
VIP Petcare Services
VIP PetCare works with a variety of community partners, primarily pet supply retail stores like Pet Food Express and Mike’s Feed & Pets, to bring non-emergency veterinary clinics to communities across the Bay Area – and the country. It offers comprehensive vaccines for dogs and cats, microchipping, blood and fecal testing, prescription flea and tick control, and more at its walk-in community clinics and also hosts Wellness Centers that provide a wider range of services in Walnut Creek, San Jose, and Roseville (near Sacramento). Over the past eighteen years, VIP PetCare has grown from humble beginnings to become the premier provider of Community Veterinary Clinics in the country. BOBA voters approve!
Lotus Veterinary House Calls
Dr. Ilana Strubel, A Well Adjusted Pet
Dr. Anne Reed, All Paws Holistic Vet Clinic

Canine Service

33. Best Dog Groomer
Kate’s Cat and Dog Salon, SF, 415-563-528
Kate’s Dog and Cat Salon is a perennial favorite among BOBA voters, who fancy the quality of care at this full-service beauty parlor. After careful bathing, clipping, styling, and teeth cleaning, your pampered pup will look like a movie star. Amazingly, she may even enjoy the process. With flexible pick-up times and other perks for people and pooches alike, our voters say Kate’s is the dog’s bark.

Runners up:
Bernie’s Grooming/City Dog, SF
Kat Greaney at Doggieville, Mountain View
Kosita’s, SF

34. Best Dog Wash – self-serve
Pet Food Express, multiple Bay Area locations
Wet and wild might be fun in some situations, but at dog bathing time, it’s kind of what you’re trying to avoid. A successful dog bath is all about the right equipment, and Pet Food Express has raised wash tubs, sprayers, dryers, pet- and earth-friendly soaps, and plenty of towels that you won’t have to launder. For a lot of us in the Bay Area, space is a luxury, but Pet Food Express stores generally have plenty of room to sling some suds. Frosting on the dog biscuit: the place has a loyalty program offering discounts for multiple washes.
Mudpuppy’s Tub and Scrub, Pt. Isabel National Shoreline, Richmond
Pawtrero, SF
K9 Scrub Club, SF

35. Best Dog Walker
Michael Mojica, Outdoor PetCare
East Bay doglovers turned out the votes for their favorite walker, Michael Mojica at Outdoor Pet Care. A graduate of dog*tec’s advanced dog-walking program, Michael is a pro who takes dogs not for a stroll but for heart-pumping adventures in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, then returns the pups home to crash on your couch for the rest of the day.
Doggy Lama
City Pups SF
Dog Tails Walking and Sitting

36. Best Dog Sitter
Bay Area Pet Pals
A good pet sitter offers more than the absolute basics like pats on the head and food in the bowl. She provides your dog with a sense of security in your absence and you with real peace of mind. It’s a labor of love for the seasoned professionals at Bay Area Pet Pals, who have been impressing Bay Area clients for more than two decades. In addition to drop-in dog-sitting, the BAPP team provides dog-walking, overnight sitting, and boarding for Bay Area dogs. And if you have cats, gophers, birds, or just about any other critters who require quality care while you’re away, BAPP can handle the job.
Dog Tales, SF
The Whole Pet, SF
Small Club, SF

37. Best Doggie Daycare
Happy Hound Day Care, Oakland
Happy Hound Day Care (aka playcare) is all about fun. Well, it’s also about love and respect for every dog, and making the people’s lives better, too, with early drop offs, late pickups, and even mid-day check-ins via webcam. Open seven days a week for all-day play, with four play areas for dogs of different sizes and needs, plus an excellent staff-to-dog ratio. Additional services include transportation to and from home (including dinner for your dog, if you wish), as well as ForceFree™ training, spa services, boarding – and even a fitness program – for your pooch, not for you, sorry!
Good Dog Day Care, Hayward
Metro Dog, Richmond
Wag Hotels, SF, Sacramento, Redwood City

38. Best Overnight Boarder
Dog Tales Walking and Sitting, SF
Pet parents love the “cageless boarding” at Dog Tales Walking and Sitting. Canine guests get tons of affection, play time, and treats and can freely roam the house and its large enclosed yard. Boarders are included in daily play groups and weekend field trips, and will feel like they’ve had their own great vacations by the time you pick them up.
Happy Hound Day Care, Oakland
Camp Lisa, Moraga
Wag Hotels, SF, Sacramento, Redwood City

39. Best Training Class
Sirius Dog Training, multiple Bay Area locations
Does your dog have issues? Is she perfect except for just a few bad habits? Has she come to you with baggage from an unfortunate past? The trainers in the Sirius network can help you get to the bottom of any problems, or just teach you and your dog to work better together. Sirius offers a wealth of training wisdom at its website, as well, including Ian founder Ian Dunbar’s books and videos. Check it out and get to work!
San Francisco SPCA, SF
Zoom Room, multiple Bay Area locations
Marin Humane Society, Novato

40. Best Private Trainer
Lilly Pritchard, Positive Force Training
The field of dog training has exploded but Lilly’s experience and professionalism has her leading the pack in this year’s tight competition for the winner’s badge. An honors graduate of the SF SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers with more that 10 years of experience working with dogs, her positive reinforcement methods will keep your dog’s behavior heading in the right direction. Her process includes teaching you how to continue the program at home, ensuring a successful long-term relationship.
Lisa Caper, DogOvation
Bridget Murphy, Koru K-9
Trish Wamset, Adobe Dogs

41. Best Dog Photographer
Josh Norem, The Furrtographer
When you have a heart for animals and approach them with respect, they show you their souls. This is true for amateur photographers, too, but when you’re a pro like Josh Norem and spend a whole lot of time hanging out with dogs and cats, you learn to capture the spirit of each one in magnificent images. Norem’s website is a browser’s delight and your own pooch can definitely look that good! In addition to doing private photo shoots commissioned by adoring pet parents, Josh donates his services to shelters so homeless animals can impress aspiring adopters who browse agency websites. Our voters say Josh is picture perfect!
Lori Cheung, The Pet Photographer
Kira Stackhouse, Nuena Photography
Alicia Rius, Frame Your Pet

42. Best Pet Artist
Michael Wertz
You’ll recognize Oakland-based illustrator and printer, Michael’s work from last year’s Beast of the Bay Awards logo and winners’ issue cover, if not from his other high-visibility projects all across the Bay Area, including logos and posters for the Oakland Museum, SF MOMA, and the de Young. Perhaps inspired by his “vicious beast” Olive, animals appear in lots of his work. Visit the website to view many dazzling samples of his work and buy posters and picture books. Be sure to check out his fun and fabulous downloadable e-book, Dog Dreams. Michael uses silkscreen, computer graphics, whatever it takes to create his distinctive, bright, graphic art. Amazing!
Christene Pinter
Gabriele Bungardt
Bonnie Werda


43. Best Dog-Friendly Lodgings
Ritz-Carlton, Half-Moon Bay
Even better than traveling in luxury is sharing your fabulous destination with your favorite family member – your dog. Canine companions here get a special doggie menu, comfy beds, and chew toys to enjoy. And the complementary dog-walking map will help you design a day’s outing that your pup will love as much as you do. Not for the budget challenged, but definitely worthy of a special splurge.
Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino
Cypress Inn, Carmel
Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, Mendocino

44. Best Day Trip with Dog
Carmel/Carmel by the Sea
Absolutely no contest. The Carmel region offers plenty of beaches and hiking – and shopping, which might not be all that high on your dog’s list, but downtown Carmel is famously dog friendly. Plenty of restaurants welcome pooches and the Carmel Plaza features the Fountain of Woof, where dogs gather to beat the heat and enjoy a little liquid refreshment. The great thing about Carmel is that it’s an easy drive for a day trip, yet it really feels like you and your dog have been somewhere special.
Fort Funston
Half Moon Bay
Stinson Beach

45. Best Dog-Friendly Campground
Samuel P. Taylor State Park Campground, Marin County
This beautiful nearby campground is popular with dogs and their people. Like most California state parks and campgrounds, Samuel P. Taylor’s dog access is limited and the law states they must be on six-foot leashes. That being said, the campground and trails where dogs are allowed are beautiful, and the close proximity to San Francisco makes it a favorite of Bay Woof readers.  As with any vacation destination, be sure to double-check the dog policy before making any reservations.
Cassini Ranch Family Campground, Sonoma County
Lake Chabot, Castro Valley

46. Best Dog-friendly Travel Website
Dogtrekker’s “Director of Barketing” – a lovely Golden Retriever named Kayla – is your guide to a website full of travel possibilities in the Golden State. Lots of “paw-tested” destinations throughout California are catalogued, with detailed itineraries provided for select locales. You’ll also find vital veterinary advice, a list of rescue groups, and a calendar of special events of interest to dog lovers. Subscribe to its weekly free newsletter and Dogtrekker will donate $1 to your favorite Northern California animal shelter or rescue group. Bone voyage!

Shelter and Rescue

47. Best Rescue Group
Milo Foundation
The Bay Area is home to many organizations dedicated to saving the lives of animals whose futures would otherwise be grim. Milo Foundation, founded by Lynne Tingle in rural Mendocino County, has saved over 23,000 homeless pets from high-kill shelters since 1994. With the launch of its new 5000-square-foot Rescue and Adoption Center at 200 S. Garrard Blvd. in Point Richmond, it will be able to provide care and transition for even more just-wanna-be-loved animals. Construction is still underway. Stop by and visit Milo Point Richmond, where you can volunteer, donate needed supplies, and/or fall in love with someone four-footed.
Rocket Dog

48. Best Humane Organization
EBSPCA, Oakland & Dublin
2013 was a huge year for EBSPCA, bringing the launch of its brand new veterinary clinic and a much-needed renovation of its Oakland shelter. The expansion includes a new humane education center so the Oakland community will have access to events and classes that teach compassion, foster curiosity, and promote critical thinking skills in youth and adults. The bottom-line beneficiaries of all this activity are the countless dogs and other animals who find themselves in safe hands at the EBSPCA.
San Francisco SPCA
Marin Humane Society
Peninsula Humane Society

49. Best Canine Cause
PAW Fund
Access to free/affordable pet care keeps animals healthy and reduces the number of animals surrendered to shelters. With this in mind, the goal of PAW (Pets and Wellness) Fund is to provide basic spay/neuter services and preventive veterinary care for pet owners who simply can’t afford to pay. The group’s important work is strictly donation supported, as PAW Fund receives no government funding. Get involved and help save lives.
Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), SF
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, SF
East Bay SPCA Chihuahua Palooza, Oakland and Dublin

50.  Best Fundraising Event
Petchitecture for PAWS
This one-of-a-kind event features a display of dog and cat habitats created by Bay Area architects and designers, auctioned to benefit people (with animals) in need of support. Last year’s posh party saw guests and their four-legged companions mingling at the swanky St. Regis Hotel, having lots of fun while raising lots of funds. Don’t miss this year’s event on Friday, May 16, to be held at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco.
Cover your K-9
Moolah for Mutts, Muttville
Woofstock, Furry Friends Rescue

51. Best Municipal Shelter
San Francisco Animal Care & Control
Whether lost, surrendered, or in trouble with the law – San Francisco dogs who are down on their luck end up at SF ACC. Historically, lodgings are grim and euthanasia rates high at municipal shelters. But through partnerships with local humane orgs and rescue groups, a compassionate approach to caring for resident animals, and innovative programs like Give A Dog A Bone, which brings love to custody dogs, SF ACC has raised the bar. It’s a public agency dependent on government funding, hence the budget is perennially tight. Visit the website to find out how you can help the improvements keep coming.
Berkeley Animal Care & Services
San Jose Animal Care & Services
Silicon Valley Animal Care Authority

Woofing the Web

52. Best Dog Blog
Have dog, will travel! DogTrekker gives you the scoop on where you and your pup are welcome to stay, eat, hike, swim, and play with region-by-region guides for all of Northern and Central California. No particular destination in mind? The site offers lots of ideas, inspiration, and tips for great adventures with your canine companion. A whole bunch of BOBA voters have found it useful, and so will you.
Dog Star Daily,
Bad Rap Barn Dog Blog,

53. Best Dog Social Networking Site
PackDog is sort of like Facebook for dog owners. Your dog can’t type and probably doesn’t really care, but you can share his pictures and stories here, “like” and be “liked” by other people’s dogs, and meet kindred-spirit dog owners. What in the world else did you have to do today?

54. Best Online Dog Boutique

In the Company of Dogs

With its huge selection of gifts and gear for dogs and the people who share their lives, it’s no surprise that this site is popular with our Web-savvy Bay Area voters. For the dogs there are beds, harnesses, carriers, gates, crates, ramps, feeders, toys, dog apparel, and plenty more. Dog lovers can express their appreciation for their furry best friends with dog-themed artwork, home decor, apparel, and jewelry. They’ve got it all!
P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You)
Downdog Duds
Aroo Studio

55. Best Online Vet Advice
An excellent resource for canine medical advice, is the top vote-getter in this year’s awards. With a built-in “symptom checker,” users can troubleshoot illnesses and find possible treatments for them, often alleviating panic in the face of sudden problems. There’s also a “find a vet” feature to help you locate a qualified veterinarian. Keep in mind, of course, that in an emergency, you should get your dog to a real-live vet right away.
Dr. Karen Becker,

56. Best Online Adoption Site
BADRAP – Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls
“Securing the future of the American Pit Bull Terrier as a cherished family companion.” As this tagline at the BADRAP website suggests, the organization is much more than a rescue group. Sure, you can meet many a fabulous Bully by browsing the “available dogs” area of the site, but BADRAP is also about progressive education and powerful advocacy. It provides training assistance, disaster relief, and program models for shelters far and wide, aimed at dispelling the damaging myths associated with these amazing dogs. BADrap was started in Oakland in 1999 by passionate dog advocates Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer, but has since gone national.

57. Best Overall Website for Dog Lovers
There are countless useful and interesting websites for dog lovers out there, but this year our voters say – online adjunct of Bark Magazine – does it best. Having a bad day? Click on over to the galleries – the photos there will make you smile no matter what you’re dealing with. Then check out the wealth of content on dog health, training, sports, living the good life, and even dog-lit. TheBark is a great go-to resource for all things canine.


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Main article photo by: M Rocket