Best Place to Adopt a Dog 2015 | Colorado Animal Welfare League | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Colorado Animal Welfare League's Lisa Petri cares about the welfare of animals not just in Colorado, but also around the world. Petri accepts abandoned animals from across the country, and also frequently travels to other countries, like Grand Bahama, to spay and neuter stray dogs — in some cases, bringing them back to Colorado for adoption. With a growing network of foster homes, CAWL works to ensure that displaced dogs and cats are taken off the street and placed in safe and caring environments before finding forever homes. Becoming a foster parent can be the best way to make sure that owning a dog is right for you, and this organization is the best place to find a lifelong pal.

There's a sense of fun in Ken Carrick's Parker-based online doggie boutique, what with all the over-the-top pajamas, hound snoods, robes and bling available to accessorize your four-legged fashion plate with. But that's no reason to turn up your nose at the handcrafted blankets, bandannas, pillows, beds and more that the site has to offer, all designed with your pet's comfort in mind. Barking Bitches even has a couple of items that might appeal to cats — and as any cat lover knows, appeasing Kitty is no walk in the park.

Dogs love ice cream, but dairy doesn't always agree with dogs. Husband-and-wife team Matt and Meg Meyer have a solution that will appease the pooches behind those big puppy eyes berating their owners for not sharing a cool treat — and that solution is cool treats for dogs. The Bear & The Rat is named after the two four-legged members of the Meyer family, of course, and instead of ice cream, the business blends probiotic-rich frozen yogurt into flavors like peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and bacon, and pumpkin, packaged into pints or single-serving cups. Find it at many metro-area King Soopers locations, or at Whole Foods and natural pet stores. It's a tail-wagging delight!

National pet-food stores are in ruff territory these days, with a lot of high-profile problems, so Pam and Carl Holzapfel started their own pet-supply store in order to fill a particular niche: a place that carried only U.S.-made, healthy yet affordable pet foods and treats. They named their Aurora shop, Betty & Wilma's, after their two dogs, and they don't stop their service at just offering quality products; they believe education is the key for responsible pet owners who want to think outside the (big) box.

Denver International Airport went to the dogs (and cats) in December when the ultimate airport convenience — a luxury pet resort where you can drop off your pet on your way to check in for a flight — debuted at DIA's WorldPort facility. And luxurious it is: Amenities at the 24-hour pet hotel (sorry, dogs and cats only) include suites with flat-screen TVs (for Fido-friendly programming, of course!), play areas and a pool for dogs, and individual bungalows for kitties, complete with fish tanks and window ledges for keeping the felines frisky. Veterinary and massage services are also available. Now when you leave town, everyone gets a vacation!

Courtesy Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page

Thirty years ago, the discovery of a roost of bald eagles on the grounds of this former weapons plant helped spur a massive cleanup, one that transformed one of the metro area's most polluted sites into a 15,000-acre refuge for wildlife — and the rest of us. The nine-mile, self-guided Wildlife Drive, open seven days a week, is the perfect way for the busy urbanite to get acquainted with the arsenal's grasslands, wetlands and woodlands while catching a glimpse of some of the 330 species of wildlife to be found here, including bison, raptors, deer and coyotes. Hiking, birding and a two-hour bus tour are also available, all ways to reconnect with nature without ever leaving the city of commerce.

Wildlife, like Reese Witherspoon, belongs in the wild — not in your basement or attic. AGD has a spectrum of non-lethal removal methods for snakes, skunks, squirrels, birds, bats and other varmints who have set up house without invitation. The company's reluctance to use poisonous chemicals is more humane not just for the unwelcome visitors, but for the human customers, too.

The name Bound by Design conjures up different meanings, like a sense of quality and integrity, or a passion for art. But the root of the name actually goes back to the community that helped start the tattoo-and-piercing business. "Modern piercing started with the S&M community," says owner Patrick Scarano. "Bound by Design was kind of a throwback to that." The shop has been open since 1991 and has changed owners since then — but the vibe of the shop, and its name, remain the same. "We kept the name after the previous owner passed away because it was so ingrained in the community," Scarano adds.

Readers' choice: Th'ink Tank

When it comes to tattoos, most would agree that quality beats out a bargain. Luckily for ink collectors, Marion Street offers both with an all-day tattoo marathon every Friday the 13th. The day features a flash sheet of fun, silly tattoos that changes every year, and each tat costs just $13. "We see it as a great way to give back to our regular clients and the neighborhood we tattoo in," says artist Nate Stephens. "We feel that everyone should have the opportunity to be tattooed in a clean, reputable shop." Marion Street started the marathons in 2013 and now sees at least 150 people go through its doors every Friday the 13th — and while other shops may have the same tradition, this one has made its mark with its original designs (pizza slices, dinosaurs, sombreros) and welcoming atmosphere.

One of the first community-style acupuncture spots to hit Denver, Pin & Tonic delivers affordable alternative medicine to locals with health issues ranging from stress, fatigue and back pain to fertility and digestive problems. After an initial $40 visit, treatments are $20 to $25 per session, which is about half what you'd pay at a private clinic. Patients also have access to affordable Chinese herbs individually mixed into teas or tinctures, plus a massage therapist and a reflexologist. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins can usually be accommodated during normal business hours, which are listed online.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of