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Best of Santa Barbara® 2018: Little Creatures

Toy Store
 · Children’s Clothing Store

Chicken Little

1236 State St.; 962-7771; chickenlittlekids.com

It’s pretty cool when a business can boast serving several generations from the same family. Chicken Little can do just that. Opened in 1979 — it was called Chicken Lips then — the store got its current name when owners Jennifer and Gregory Bouma moved to their current location in 1981. Since then, they have delighted locals and tourists alike with their enticing window displays full of stuffed animals, darling baby togs, intriguing games, and a plethora of practical items. Chicken Little won (again) in two categories this year, which isn’t surprising considering their array of unique and educational toys and all the onesies, socks, and shoes on hand.

Runner-Up (Toy Store): Peanuts Maternity & Kids


Runner-Up (Children’s Clothing Store): Happy Little Hippo

Daycare Facility

Rainbow School

5689 Hollister Ave., Goleta; 964-4511; rainbowschoolsb.com

It’s one of the most important decisions parents make — where to send their wee ones to play and learn when dads and moms have other obligations. For Indy readers, Rainbow School was chosen as the best — a title they also won in 2010. “Thank you for voting Rainbow School the best daycare facility,” said staff member Julie. “What a great way to celebrate our 40th anniversary this year! We so appreciate all of you — the children, the families, and the whole community — for your support all these years. Thank you!”

Runner-Up: Bright Start

Chicken Little
Paul Wellman

Kids’ Summer Camp

[See Out & About: Family Fun Spot]

Tutor

Santa Barbara Tutoring

81 David Love Pl., Ste. 206; 973-7463

Learning can be thrilling, but it can also be daunting. Thank heavens for tutors. There’s nothing like having an expert help you over the bumps of a subject that doesn’t come naturally (hello, math). “As a small business, the greatest form of flattery we can receive is a recommendation,” said Steven Efada, managing director of Santa Barbara Tutoring, regarding readers voting them the best tutoring service. The most rewarding part of the job? “Hearing success stories. Whether it be awesome test scores or a passed English class, we love to hear that our clients are able to reach each of their individual goals. It’s a great feeling to know that we’ve helped.”

Runner-Up: California Learning Center

Pediatrician

Dr. Patricia Erbe

15 E. Arrellaga St., Ste. 1; (805) 965-1095

Some doctors have it; others don’t. Dr. Patricia Erbe, one of Santa Barbara’s most prominent pediatricians, has it in spades. Erbe is endowed with a rare ability to get down to her young patients’ level, where she can really connect. She’s learned how to hear what many of them haven’t learned how to even say. It’s not a trick; it’s a state of being. In this regard, Erbe simply is. Pediatricians famously don’t have just one patient — they answer to entire families. In high-stress encounters, Erbe is calm, clear, and direct. She knows what needs to be done, whom to call, and what buttons to push to make things happen. In more mundane moments, Erbe is uncommonly focused while exuding a casual ease. Her recall of young patients’ names — and predilections — well after they’ve grown up is the stuff of legend. More to the point, she’s been doing this consistently in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years.

Runner-Up: Dr. Saida Hamdani

Rainbow School
Paul Wellman

Pet Hospital/Clinic

La Cumbre Animal Hospital

110 S. La Cumbre Rd.; 967-0121; lcah.com

La Cumbre Animal Hospital is a one-stop shop for all of your pets’ needs, whether they be furry, feathered, or cold-blooded. Originally opened in 1959, the facility is currently owned by Dr. Beverly Holmes, a specialist in internal medicine, surgery, and critical care, and Dr. Eve Kuesis, a UC Davis veterinary school graduate, who combine their vast knowledge to make sure Santa Barbara’s little creatures get the care they need. Clearly they are doing things right, as they’ve been voted the best several times now.

Runner-Up: San Roque Pet Hospital

Pet Boarding

Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club

Two locations; dioji.com

When you want to do some laps in a pool or need your nails done, a shampoo and blow dry, and playtime with your friends, there’s no better place to go than Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club. If you have four legs and fur, that is. For a decade, Indy readers have chosen the doggy spa as the best place for their pets to unwind and be pampered. Happy pooches are what Dioji is all about, according to owner Jeannie Wendel. “We are thrilled to be an integral part of the community by providing daycare, boarding, and bathing services for these fun-loving pups and are honored to be voted Best Of Pet Boarding for the 10th year in a row,” said Wendel. “Thank you, Santa Barbara, for your continued support!”

Runner-Up: Camp Canine

Pet Store

Lemos Feed & Pet Supply

Multiple locations; lemospet.com

“Being the best means going the extra mile for our customers,” agreed the managers of the Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria Lemos branches. Clearly, they are doing just that, as Indy readers vote Lemos the best pet store year after year. In addition to customer service, the shops are treasure troves packed with essentials and treats for feathered, furry, and scaly family members. The staff is a resourceful bunch, too, as proved the S.B. store employees who used “sacks of hen scratch as emergency flood control along Gutierrez.” With myriad choices of pet markets to choose from, Lemos folks have this to say: “Thank you for shopping local and for helping us support local shelters and humane societies.”

Runner-Up: Pet House

Hendry's Beach
Paul Wellman

Pet Grooming

The Little Dog House

5758 Hollister Ave., Goleta; 964-2446; doggroomerssantabarbara.com

While washing your fur at home is fine, sometimes it’s nice to go to the salon. Fortunately for the four-legged set, there is The Little Dog House, a grooming shop dedicated to making disheveled dogs’ and unkempt cats’ fluff shimmer in the sun. Opened by Annabelle Hofmann in 1975, The Little Dog House has been winning readers’ votes for a decade thanks to the caring staff and “free-play environment” that allows the pups to romp with their kind before and after getting their ‘dos done. Have a persnickety pooch? No worries—the folks at Little Dog House say bring it on: “We can groom any kind of dog, and we don’t care if people say they are difficult. We know dogs,” said Hofmann.

Runner-Up: For Paws Salon

Dog Park

[See Out & About: Beach]

Dog Trainer

K-Nine Solutions

126 E. Haley St., Ste. A-8; 451-2458; kninesolutions.com

It turns out you actually can teach old dogs new tricks. “It just depends how set in their ways they are,” said Justin Davanzo, who, along with Eric Smith, owns the K-9 training clinic on Haley Street. To date, Davanzo, Smith, and their team of five trainers estimate they’ve schooled about 800 dogs and their owners. Leash reactivity is a big part of the focus; it might seem simple, but for a lot of pet owners it’s anything but. “We can get dogs to do what we want them to; we’re trainers,” said Davanzo. “But it’s more important that the owners can too.” For trainers, there are issues of breed, temperament, and personality. Not all breeds are equally amenable to training. Bulldogs, Davanzo said, seem especially resistant. Pit bulls, he said, get a bad rap and deserve to be given a chance. “I go home every day satisfied with the work I do,” Davanzo said. “For me, that’s everything.”

Runner-Up: Nathan Woods Dog Trainer

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