You don't have to be in the doghouse to visit the yellow house on 6th Avenue. This indie store is packed to the collar with natural food and treats, grooming products, toys and even doggie driver's licenses. Catering mostly to dogs and cats (and their owners), the store also has gear for fish, hamsters and turtles. Pets are welcome in the store -- but watch out for the resident black cat.


At this country club, Muffy and Biff aren't just nicknames -- they're status symbols woven into guests' collars and leashes. While you're off at the rat race all day, your furry companion will be racing around on the Golden Bone's padded floors and playing with other doggies in age-appropriate groups under the supervision of the pooch-loving staff. And, like some daycare situations, it's not all about the little ones. There are extras for parents, too: convenient weekday and weekend hours; social events, including wine and biscuit tastings, obedience classes, pet massage and psychics. And don't worry about separation anxiety -- just drive up, drop off and pick up a cuppa joe for the road without leaving your car.

Best Place to Rent a Down-and-Out Ritzy Pooch

St. Regis Hotel

Some hotels are pet-friendly, and then there are really pet-friendly hotels. Not only will the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen let you bring your pooch, but they'll even find one for you to borrow. Concierge Tim Sanders helps those missing the comfort of their canines find solace in a companion from the Aspen Animal Shelter. And they're on loan by the hour, day or week. In fact, a few couples have become so attached that they adopted their new furry friends. Sorry, no such luck for the feline fanatics among you. For more info, sniff out www.dogsaspen.com.


Sit. Siiiiit. Good dog! Now watch the birdie, but don't chomp on it. Of course, that may not be the exact way they do it at Doggone It, Every Dog's a Diva, but the result of their approach is an inexpensive way to commemorate man's best friend with photographs that illustrate each dog's personality. The service, which costs $54.95 and lasts about an hour, leaves owners with something better than a smelly bone: three different 5 x 7 prints, and a CD-ROM of all the good photos. Portraits can be taken of a dog alone, multiple dogs, or dogs with their owners. Free barking.


Summers in Colorado may be dry, the fountains off and the lakes low, but the Maxfund Animal Adoption Center offers a little relief for your pooch's paws. With just a five-spot donation, Fido or Fifi can take a swim in the therapy pool. The Turkish baths it's not, but the water is cool and available year round, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- without an appointment. (They're closed Wednesdays.) And if you're short on funds but still need to get your unsuspecting mutt spayed or neutered, the no-kill shelter's new clinic offers low-cost surgeries right next door.


The ballyhooed "new urbanist" development at Lowry is a mixed bag, with much of it looking more suburban than citified. But the Town Center, by Denver architect David Owen Tryba, is true to new urbanism's best intentions: It's pedestrian-oriented and designed to a human scale, with parking lots hidden from view. The idea is to get people out of their cars and on their feet, and to make walking fun. The center has about two dozen retailers; stores face a narrow street that's lined with cheerful banners, wrought-iron benches and bicycle racks. Better for feet than the Foothills!


A branch of The Store That Must Not be Named may squat just outside Golden, but Meyer Hardware has been a downtown fixture for 58 years and has no intention of leaving. Owner Steve Schaefer took it over from his father, who took it over from his father-in-law. And now Steve's son patrols the aisles when on break from college. The friendly staff -- thankfully sans orange aprons -- is ready to assist with any project, whether you be a homeowner or contractor. They have nuts and bolts, flies and rods, doors and windows, hammers and nails, tents and tackle boxes, toolboxes and stoves. And that's just the beginning. Upstairs you'll find everything from red KitchenAid blenders to Calphalon pans -- and sometimes even Steve's mother, Marilyn, who also wraps beautiful confections during the holidays. And Tracy downstairs in hardware is an institution unto herself.


Prospectors and silver swells stopped by this spanking-new emporium in search of fresh-baked bread, groceries and other items for everyday living, circa 1883: lamp oil, lye soap, maybe some stout twine and sturdy canvas. One 120 years later, the miners have faded, but local residents and tourists still stop by Kneisel & Anderson's historic building to pick up groceries and other necessities for today's living: light bulbs, antibacterial skin cleanser, duct tape and plastic sheeting. The oldest continuously operated business in Georgetown, now run by the fifth generation of the Kneisel-Anderson family, still sells food and hardware while retaining its Victorian charm.

Best Way to Get Movies, Smokes and Ice Cream Delivered

Zuvo

Using messengers on Vespas, Zuvo drivers bring not documents, but the real necessities of life to your door: DVDs, Two-Fisted Mario's pizza, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, chips and even toilet paper. And they do it in less than an hour. Zuvo, an online convenience store, was created by Boulderite Danny Newman a year ago and has been serving central Denver neighborhoods since last August. For just $5, you can rent a movie for three days; the downside is that there are only three drop-off locations. But if you place another order, they'll pick up all those previously viewed videos for free. That's one way to avoid late fees, which you can then invest in even more pints of Ben and Jerry's. Note: Zuvo service does not include hauling you to a gym.
This handy little ten-page booklet, by former Rocky Mountain News columnist Sally Kurtzman, continues the service she started in the tabloid with "The Stuff Exchange." People with old-but-serviceable stuff are told how to get in touch with organizations that can put that stuff to good use. Second Life lists contact numbers for organizations in need of commonly found household items, and helpful tips on how to decide what goes where: trash, regifting to friends and family, donation, or storage to wait for a future trip through the decision-making process. Because the average Denverite throws out three and a half pounds of garbage a day, Kurtzman's old wartime advice to "make it do, wear it out, use it up, do without" makes sense even in the new wartime. E-mail Kurtzman at sallyk@ecentral.com for a copy.


Best Of Denver®

Best Of