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Rugrats to Kittycats

Best of 2008


Toy Store

Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby Shops Inc. 136 S. Hope Ave., 682-6026

Named after the long-gone Kaufman brothers who began the business the same year Ulysses and The Wasteland were published (1922), today Kay-Bee has more than 40 stores in California alone. Lucky we are to have one too, since, according to Wikipedia, the company recently had to trim back more than 300 stores. Without it, our city would be bereft of anything widely stocked enough to offer both coloring books and WWII modules. This year, it’s the Elmo Live! toy, as yet unreleased, that’s the big demand item for good little kids. But you could buy them a nice kaleidoscope, too.

FINALIST

Kernohan’s Toys

Pet Store

Petco 19 S. Milpas St., 966-7292; 3985 State St., 964-2868

Do you like to buy Yummy Chummie Alaskan Salmon Dog Treats? How about Circle T Spiked Collars (single row, of course)? Maybe a T-Rex Tuffie Dinosaur Dog Toy? A Littermaid Automatic Litterbox? Or perhaps just an Avian Adventure Cage for your Norweigian Blue who’s pining for the fjords? Of course, most people go in primarily to get great big bags of food and nice water bowls for their furry and feathered friends, but maybe for a bit pampering once in a while, too. It’s a big store with lots of good prices and exotica for your pet-or even for your cat.

FINALIST

Lemos Feed & Pet Supply

Kid’s Summer Camp

Zoo Camp 500 NiĀ±os Dr., 962-5339

The main reason we’ve been so successful is because it’s a lot of fun with animals,” said Jennifer Graves, the zoo’s assistant director of conservation education. The sessions last all summer long, and while many kids go for just one week, it’s not uncommon for them to stay for three. And the elephants don’t mind a bit.

FINALIST

Junior Lifeguards

Daycare Facility

Playtime is all the time at the readers' pick for best daycare facility, the YMCA.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Playtime is all the time at the readers’ pick for best daycare facility, the YMCA.

YMCA 5 locations

Obviously desirable for its automatic aura of trustworthiness, which is deeply reinforced by the variety of physical fitness gear lying about, the YMCA is also popular because it offers both before- and after-school programs. If you are anticipating some kid-related care issues, it’s a good idea to register with the Y soon; our readers’ votes are just another indication of how much this facility means to families.

FINALIST

Girls Inc.

Place to Get Children’s Clothing

This Little Piggy Wears Cotton 311 Paseo Nuevo, 564-6982

Maybe it’s no fun for the kids to go clothes shopping-particularly when it’s for something as grim as back to school-but This Little Piggy Wears Cotton is set up to make the job pleasant for parents. Who doesn’t want natural fibers surrounding their children? And this locally created store offers that assurance as well as a nice dash of style. Let them buy designer labels when they’re old enough to need status; right now these kids have just got to be warm, dry, and comfy when venturing out into the real world.

FINALIST

Chicken Little

Veterinarian

Dr. David Dawson, DVM 3034 State St., 682-2647

This is a great honor; thanks very much to the people who voted for me,” said Dr. David Dawson, who has practiced veterinary medicine in this town for the last eight years. “I think what people like is that I try to offer high-quality, complete care in a friendly way. I try to treat each pet as if it were my own.”

FINALIST

Dr. William Otto

Pet Boarding

Camp Canine 803 E. Montecito St., 962-4790

The secret is that we are passionate about dogs,” said Camp Canine co-manager Maryann Lascala. “We’re really dog people, not business people. Well, okay, we’re a little bit business people, but mostly we love dogs. What I think most people really appreciate is that this place is Disneyland for dogs. Have you ever seen it? It’s an amusement park. People say that our overnight boarders never make any noise. That’s because they’re worn out from playing all day.”

FINALIST

Dioji

Pet Grooming

The Little Dog House 5758 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-2446

In business now for more than 33 years, Annabelle Hofmann believes she knows something about making animals happy. “People like us because we let the dogs run around. They run loose and we don’t put them in cages, so everybody’s happy. And, oh yeah, we’re good at what we do. I probably groom 85 standard poodles a month,” said Hofmann, who was recently featured in an episode of Groomer Has It on Animal Planet. “We keep them happy and we do about 65 dogs every day.”

FINALIST

For Paws Salon

Pet Hospital/Clinic

White’s Pet Hospital 532 E. Haley St., 966-1604

For almost 90 years, White’s Pet Hospital has maintained a reputation for great all-around animal care. Providing hospital services, boarding, and little details like dental care, three generations of Santa Barbarans have not paused a lick before trusting their best pals to White’s vets, techs, and groomers.

FINALIST

San Roque Pet Hospital and Pet Hotel

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