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Best Place to Narc Off an Animal Abuser
FIDO (Fine Irresponsible Dog Owners)
P.O. Box 595, Denver 80206

Ever been kept up by a neighbor's dog that's chained in the backyard, barking its head off all night? Well, you--and that dog--deserve better treatment, and FIDO hopes to see that both of you get it. FIDO members don't want to see noisy dogs impounded or abandoned. They want to make owners get involved in their pets' proper care and training. The group also hopes to influence city governments to enforce laws against inconsiderate dog owners. Right now, they're particularly concerned with code enforcement of Denver Section 8-49. Check it out, and while you're doing that, FIDO wants you to read Sections 8-50 and 51, as well.

Best Dog Food Direct to Your Door
Bone Appetit
The most nutritious foods for your pet can't be found on a grocery shelf. David Roney of Bone Appetit knows this. He also knows it can be time-consuming to run all over town to pick up the good brands at pet shops. That's where Roney and his black Lab, Slammer, come in. They'll bring you the good stuff, at retail prices, and throw in the delivery for free. As an egalitarian gesture, Roney and Slammer also carry cat food.

Best Doggie Manicure
Six metro locations

For $6, PetsMart groomers will snip even the most difficult dog's pawnails to a more reasonable length. And you're not leaving your canine in the hands of sniveling amateurs, either. Some of PetsMart's groomers have apprenticed for as long as seven years. The chain guarantees that no one will clip Fifi too short or give her a hangnail--like you do when you do it yourself. Just think, no more dreaded pet-i-cures--and no appointment necessary.

Best Dog Shelter
Dog House World
8103 W. 51st Ave., Arvada

When your dog keeps saying "roof, roof" to you, maybe it's time to take the hint. Call Ben Fernandez, who builds dog houses in a bucolic stretch of Arvada just north of I-70. Say your mutt is 70 to 100 pounds. For less than $100, you can get an insulated, carpeted, wooden (not plastic, not pressboard) dog house with a shingled roof and a spiffy paint job. Colorado's winters don't seem to faze these canine condos a bit, so your best friend won't freeze his tail off. Fernandez puts his simple but aesthetically pleasing structures together in a shed behind his house. He'll help you figure out the right size for your dog--in fact, he's liable to crawl in one of his dog domiciles himself just to test it out. How could such a nice guy wind up in the dog house?

Best Animal Shelter
1025 Galapago St.

Once upon a time, as the story goes, Bill and Nancy Suro were working at an animal hospital when a client brought in an injured and abandoned German shepherd he had found on I-25. The veterinarian and his wife named the dog Max, then put a fishbowl in their office to collect donations to help pay for the four sur-geries that Max would need. Since then, the fundraisers have become more elaborate and are often attended by local celebrities. But the basic premise remains the same: The MaxFund doesn't euthanize animals. It will take care of all kinds of domestic critters until a good home becomes available. And anyone with a good home can adopt a cat, dog, rabbit, even a ferret, for a $40 fee--which includes all vaccines (except rabies shots).

Best Support Group for the Lonely
Luv-a-Pet Adoption Programs

While PetsMart doesn't actually handle adoptions of dogs, cats and the occasional bunny rabbit, the pet-supply chain does provide space and facilities for various agencies that do--including the Denver Dumb Friends League, the Cat Care Society and MaxFund. Many pet owners who enter the store to buy discounted feed and paraphernalia for present companions end up falling in love all over again. And first-time pet shoppers have a nonthreatening place--lacking the confusion and profusion sometimes found at animal shelters--to go in search of that perfect someone.

Best Bonding With Animals
Argus Center for the Human-Animal Bond
Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Animals are good for you--at least that's what studies show. So maybe it's time people started being good for animals. CSU's new Argus Center is an umbrella organization that oversees several programs exploring the ties that bind man and beast, including one that offers grief counseling to people who have lost their pets and yet another that assures care for pets who outlive their owners.

Best Bonding With Pigs
Adopt-a-Pig Program
Clemenswine Memorial Potbellied Pig Sanctuary, Brighton

Stop hemming and hogging. Now you can adopt a potbellied pig even if unfriendly zoning regulations dictate that you can't. How? The pig of your choosing continues to loll happily at rural Clemenswine, where you come visit it as often as you like--brushing, feeding and walking your pet to your heart's desire. Everyone prospers--you get a playful new friend and the sanctuary, which is famous for rescuing and rehabilitating its cast-off wards, gets help with its vet bills. The six- or twelve-month packages include visits, a photograph and biography of your hog, and a sign with your name on the pig's pen. Who could resist? They're nothing shoat of adorable.

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