Best personalized nostalgia 2000 | Photographs and Memories | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Photographs and Memories proffers all the services related to photo restoration: oil tinting, damage repair, archival enlargements, retouching and so on. But here's their pièce de résistance: They'll make a montage for you out of personal items and photos and then photograph the whole thing in black and white or oil-tinted hues to create a keepsake or memorial ready to stand the test of time. The possibilities are endless, but the results are the same: You're left with a fitting tribute to any loved one that can be as funny, heartwarming or sentimental as you like.

It's tough to leave Rover behind for a fun-filled vacation when he's staring at you through the window with those sad, puppy-dog eyes. Avoid the guilt by leaving him at Shylo Country Club for Dogs. Your doggie won't even miss you; he'll be too busy frolicking with other dogs in one of seven outdoor play yards (large dogs on one side, small ones on the other). When it's hot, misters spray water on the dogs to keep them cool and refreshed, and at night, they'll come inside to a spotless and well-insulated group bedroom.

Owners Steve Fisher and Bruce Clark bought their forty-acre property sixteen years ago so that they could raise Afghan hounds, but friends kept asking them to care for their pets when they went out of town. So ten years ago, Steve and Bruce decided to make a business out of it. Shylo charges between $11 and $14 a day to board dogs (a limited number of cats can stay there too, for $8 a day), and another $15 to have someone pick up and drop off your pooch if you don't want to drive out to Watkins. Shylo, which can board 45 dogs at a time, also offers a day camp for dogs; every weekday morning, employees pick up dogs at Washington, Cheesman and City parks, and drop them off in the same spot in the evening when their owners get off work.

And every August, satisfied customers show up for the poolside doggie fashion show, a benefit for the Dumb Friends League that any dog owner can attend for $10. Hang out and laugh while your dog takes a dip in the beautiful swimming pool in back of the owners' house.

First haircuts are often traumatic, with heads turning this way and that, tears flying and scissors snipping frantically in uneven, ragged lines. The folks at Tortoise and the Hare know this well, and they've figured out how to avoid exacerbating the situation. Aside from experience and patience, it helps to have a TV and a little cart to sit in (here, there's a little Jeep, a boat and a horse) and warm-up toys -- a little kitchen set, rocking zebra or a car with a horn -- to play with while waiting. Plus, it only costs $10, and they'll cut any kid's hair, from babies on up, in a guaranteed straight line.
Talk about false idols. This six-foot cement statue of a calico cat playing with a giant ball of pink yarn outside the Cat Hospital of Wheat Ridge will remind cat owners just who's the boss. Then again, from the expression on this cat's face, she looks like she just got her shots. Dr. Douglas Ikeler, who owns five cat hospitals in the metro area, "likes to make little landmarks to stop traffic," says a worker at the Cat Hospital of Denver, which has a five-foot walking cat out front made of rebar and covered with ivy. The other cat hospitals -- Southeast, Northglenn and Paramount West -- all have giant neon-pink Cheshire cats crouched on top of freestanding signs in out front. They'll get your attention, and why not? After all, cats are people, too.
It's good to have a friend, but when that friend has a wet nose and a waggy tail, well, that's the ultimate in unconditional love. Plenty of studies have shown that pet visitation programs work: When pets visit seniors, convalescents or kids in hospitals, everyone seems to perk up. The nonprofit/volunteer Alliance of Best Friends screens and trains people and their pets before sending them out to spread fur and joy; all it gets in return are enough smiles to light up the entire city for a month.

You've heard the grisly tales about pets who died while having their teeth cleaned, victims of anesthesia. And then there are the ones who fall ill because they didn't have their teeth cleaned. It's an ugly bind, especially if your best friend is getting on in years, but Pet World tenders a happy medium by offering monthly sans-gas dental clinics for stinky-breathed dogs and cats, provided by trained hygienists from a California outfit specializing in anesthesia-free dental treatment, all at a reasonable price. Sweet gums, my Prince.
It's 3 a.m., the neighbor's obnoxious Chihuahua won't stop barking, there's a party going on down the street, and you can't stop thinking about your job presentation tomorrow. At times like these, only one thing will help: Walgreen's 24-hour pharmacy. Not every Walgreen's has one, but if you need your sleeping pills badly enough, or any other drugs you happen to have a prescription for, it's worth the effort to find one that does. The staff is friendly and helpful, not that it matters: Anyone looks friendly and helpful when they hand you that little plastic bottle of magic medicine in the middle of a heinous night.

Readers' choice: 7-Eleven

Seven out of every ten sick, injured and orphaned critters that limp into Jack and Penny Murphy's nonprofit animal-rescue center walk out again. As a result, this husband-and-wife team -- also known as Coon Papa and Bat Lady -- are sought out by veterinarians, animal-control officers, police and homeowners statewide. For the past ten years, they've rescued and rehabilitated everything from bats to raccoons, coyotes, foxes, squirrels and practically anything else that slithers, flaps or crawls. He got his nickname for his kinship with raccoons and she got hers for her kinship with the flying mammals. From an impossibly cluttered home in Aurora, Jack and Penny have shown that there are more humane ways of handling wild creatures than traps, gas chambers and trips to the pound. The couple nurtures the animals back to health and releases them into the wild. And if you need help getting squirrels from your attic, they can do that, too. Just tune the radio to Rush Limbaugh, Jack says. "That clears the room real quick."

Readers' choice: 911

Ever wonder why it's so hard to keep grass green in Denver? Erratic weather, freezing winters, burning summers, high winds, bad soil and a miniscule amount of rainfall may have something to do with it. Enter Xeriscape, a word that was invented and trademarked by the Denver Water Department in 1981 to help frustrated Denver gardeners save water and keep the areas around their homes lovely without having to fight Colorado's naturally dry climate. The key is to let go of the American ideal of a green lawn. Just try it for a moment: It's not easy, but it helps to have some direction, which is why the folks at the water department run a series of seminars in the late winter and early spring to teach people the principles of Xeriscaping and give them ideas of what to plant and how to landscape. They also have a ton of free pamphlets and other information, a hotline and a demonstration garden located at department headquarters. And if they sometimes sound a little defensive, it's hard to blame them. Many people have the wrong idea about Xeriscape. "[It] is NOT ugly, brown, rocks and cactus. A properly-designed Xeriscape is lush, colorful and easy to care for," according to departmental information. "It's good to bring attention to the fact that we basically live in a semi-arid desert," adds Liz Gardener, conservation manager for the water department. "Especially this year. We've been lucky for the last decade, but I don't think it's going to stay like that."

And, yes, that is her real last name. Gardener says that after a divorce, she didn't want to keep her married name and she didn't want to take back her old name, so she chose a new one. "I asked myself, 'What makes sense for me?' I love to plant seeds of thought in people's minds almost as much as I like to plant seeds in my garden," she says, "so it's perfect." And "Xeriscape" just didn't work -- as a last name, that is.

Readers' choice: 16th Street Mall shuttle service

Once you graduate from the Denver Water Department's free seminars, how about its Xeriscape handbooks? These will set you back a few bucks, but the series gives all the skinny -- rootstock and barrel -- on how to conserve water and still have a beautiful yard. Four books -- Xeriscape Plant Guide, Xeriscape Color Guide, Xeriscape Handbook and Waterwise Landscaping With Trees, Shrubs and Vines -- cover just about everything, from what to plant to how to plant and maintain it; there's also a video on how to convert a grass lawn to a Xeriscape garden. Quit doing a rain dance and just get smart -- all you need is the right equipment.

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