Best of Arlington 2015
Best Pet Store
Dominion Pet Center
Kendra Green has always loved animals. “I’ve had every type of critter there is…ferrets, snakes, dogs, cats, fish, hermit crabs,” says the Arlington native, who started working at Dominion Pet Center in 1985 when she was a junior at Yorktown High School. Today, she runs the place with her husband, Stephen.
The well-stocked store carries everything a pampered pet might need, from Burberry-plaid collars and chew toys as big as a German shepherd’s head, to a variety of organic and specialty pet foods. Want to put your dog on a raw-food diet? The shop sells freeze-dried raw meats, fruits and veggies, as well as Max & Ruffy’s organic dog treats, a line of grain-free products that are made locally.
“We’re trying to get back to more simple foods,” explains Stephen, who has owned the store for more than three decades. That means ensuring that the ingredients on the label are things that pet owners can clearly understand. Some pets with unexplained illnesses see improvement with dietary modifications, he says.
The store’s product selection, combined with excellent customer service, has won the loyalty of locals like Charles Toftoy, a retired George Washington University business school professor who lives in Arlington’s Dover-Crystal neighborhood.
“It’s my place,” Toftoy says one afternoon while picking up organic treats for his two Yorkies, Sasha and Zoe. (He also shops here for his African gray parrot, Sancho, and for supplies for his freshwater aquarium.) Sometimes, he says, the Greens will special-order specific items for him. If they run out of a product, they’ll call him once it’s back in stock. That’s a level of service you don’t always find at big-box stores.
“I’ve had people bring in a bag of dog food in a plastic zipper bag [after throwing out the original packaging] and we’ve gone through the store trying to figure out which brand it was,” Kendra says. All challenges, great and small.
2501 North Harrison St., Arlington, 703-241-0100, dominionpetcenter.com
Other top vote-getters:
Unleashed by Petco
Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery & Boutique