The Pets Issue - Page 2

Walking, drinking, poking, and BARFing -- tips, tricks, tales (and cocktails) for your best friend. Plus: local pet stores we love


Aqua Forest sells souped up, hot-rod freshwater aquariums. A filtration system injects carbon dioxide into the water and specially designed fluorescent lights emit blue-spectrum light waves. The combination creates super-photosynthesis and a vivacious ecosystem.

Lo's business is the result of a hobby turned profession. While a student earning his cell and molecular biology degree, he discovered a book of Japanese nature style aquariums. He decided to make his own, but struggled to find aquatic plants and suitable equipment. "I didn't have the right kind of light required, so I had to build my own. I also built my own CO2 system using yeast and sugar," Lo says.

The wall behind Aqua Forest's cash register resembles a giant tray of surgical instruments. Stainless steel scissors and tweezers of various shapes and lengths hang in rows. A large-scale system can cost up to $20,000, but Lo can set you up with a basic starter tank for $200. He's also got a kickass Web site. 1718 Fillmore, (415) 929-8883, (Skyler Swezy)



The last time my dog got sick, she really got sick — all sorts of fluids coming out of every orifice, dribbling all over her fur and her bed. Even after I wiped her down with wet towels, she still stunk. Like nasty, I-can't-be-in-the-room-with-you stunk. The bed and the towels go in the washing machine, but the dog ... well, the dog needed a bath — badly. And like most dogs, she wasn't going to sit still in my bathtub, and I wasn't looking forward to fighting a smelly wet dog in a shower/tub with glass sides.

No problem.: At the foot of Potrero Hill, there's a great little pet store with a back room entirely set up for washing your stinky mutt. It's so perfect it makes a damp and ugly chore fun.

Pawtrero specializes in raw food for your pet, and owner Susie Yannes has become something of an expert on canine and feline dietary needs. But her store is also popular for its self-service doggie bathhouse. The room has two large, stainless steel elevated tubs. You extend a ramp for the dog to walk up, slide the ramp back, lock the side door and slip a short leash attached to the back of the tub around your dog's neck. Now poochie's not going anywhere. You put on a large rubber smock, grab the spray hose, and start soaking.

Yannes provides a wide selection of organic, skin-sensitive doggie shampoos, treats to get reluctant pups up the ramp, fresh dry towels, blow-driers, brushes, combs, and even nail clippers. You can leave the towels behind, and take your clean, dry pal home with you.

And while you're waiting, you get to watch all the other dogs get wet, get soapy, shake all over everything and look pathetic while their owners scrub away, chat, and laugh. And it's just $15 199 Mississippi St., (415) 863-7279, (Tim Redmond)