2017 Best of the East Bay: Pets
A food truck for Fido; a pet photographer dishes on her unique clientele.
Illustration by Basemint
“The main reason that I love Molly’s Pup-Purr-ee is the owner, Tina Wong. She has a real love of pets and has great advice. She loves the dogs who come in, which makes it a fun spot to take your dog. I love being able to support a local small business, especially one whose owner is so wonderful
and genuine.” —Kristi Hoover, Alamo
Share the Joy Photography
For the third year in a row, Share the Joy Photography takes the gold for pet photography. We sat down with the energetic owner and founder, Barbara Brady-Smith, to chat about her story.
Q: What attracted you to pet photography?
A: I was an executive vice president at Wells Fargo, and I was one of those very lucky people who could afford to quit when I was 40.
Around 2009, my daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re bored. You need a passion in your life.” It was like, Oh, God, my own daughter is lecturing me, but she was right. I said, “Why don’t I pour my heart and soul into photography?”
I launched my business in 2011 …and off I went. It’s just been an incredibly fun, drool-worthy, hairy, great thing to do.
Q: What’s the most unique animal you’ve photographed?
A: A ball python. I didn’t have a snake in my portfolio, so I said, “Bring your snake!” It was just breathtaking.
It was a warm day in August, and [the owners] had a carrier for the snake [on the patio for after the photo shoot]. The mom decided it was a little warm, so she took off the cover. We came outside later—and there was no snake.
We looked everywhere. Finally, I had to say, “I’m so sorry, but your snake’s gone.”
Then, in October, my dogs are freaking out in the yard. I go out, and there’s Mr. Snakie, lounging on the cement, fatter than anything, so he had the time of his life.
Q: What’s your next project?
A: This year, I [am publishing] a book called Hugtails: Portraits of Therapy Pets. It’s going to feature Animal Rescue Foundation’s Pet Hug Pack.
The other [project I’m working on] is called Flight. I always wanted to do birds in flight … but I couldn’t find a model.
I was out with my dog in Moraga when I saw this guy walking a parrot: It’s on a tether, flying around his head. I gave him my card and said, “Could you just call me? I want to get you in the studio.”
I’m learning so much. There’s bird poop; there’s [the parrot], who doesn’t like women but keeps landing on my shoulder. It’s just a blast.
Editor Pick: Dog Tired Adventures
Danville and San Ramon, dogtiredadventuresca.com
After suffering a nearly fatal car accident, Kerylin Mott decided to make a change: She quit her job as a waitress and started Dog Tired Adventures, a dog-walking service that offers Fido something fun to do. Mott and her team give dogs a chance to roam at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, ensuring happy—and tuckered out—pups. They also offer neighborhood walks and home visits when you’re out of town.
Editor Pick: Contra Costa Animal Services
Since 1985, Contra Costa Animal Services has run one of the largest animal shelters in the East Bay. Directed by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, the shelter works hard to help find new homes for cats, dogs, and other animals.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Number of shelters run by Contra Costa Animal Services. The shelters are located in Martinez and Pinole.
12: Average number of Mobile Adoption events organized each month by the shelter across the East Bay. Check online for details.
150–250: Average number of animals available for adoption at the shelter at any given time.
300+: Volunteers who help with grooming and veterinary services. If you’re interested in volunteering, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
75,000: Approximate number of animals that have been adopted through the Martinez shelter since 2005.
Overnight Pet Boarding
Camp Four Paws
Everyone deserves a little R & R, including the family pooch. Camp Four Paws is this year’s top dog for overnight boarding services, and for good reason: The 5.5–acre facility in rural Clayton gives dogs plenty of open space to run and play. And if they get a little dirty in the process? Not to worry: The staff at Camp Four Paws will take your pup to a professional groomer before pick-up.
Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation
Walnut Creek, arflife.org
Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) has made its name as one of the biggest and best animal shelters in the region (with 35,000 pet adoptions and counting), but for the third year in a row, it’s the foundation’s dog-training classes that take home the prize. Whip your unruly pooch into shape with a six-week basic manners class, go for gold with ARF’s selection of sports classes, or experience cuteness overload at the Puppy Social every Thursday and Sunday. You can even get your dog an AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.
Editor Pick: The Fresh Dog Food Kitchen
Your dog deserves the best, so why not the best dog food? The Fresh Dog Food Kitchen uses only the highest-quality ingredients to create some of the healthiest and tastiest dog food out there. Order from four different flavors—chicken and organic rice, turkey and organic quinoa, beef and potato, and fish and sweet potato—and get the meals delivered to your door by The Fresh Dog Food Kitchen’s colorful food truck.