Joel Tatum, owner of My Pet Garden, is a former L.A. Zoo zookeeper who worked closely with rhinoceroses. You may not own a rhino, but Joel also loves the smaller critters — including cats, dogs and birds — and the core philosophy of his store is built around nutrition. Tatum insists that he won't carry a product if his staff can't look you in the eye and tell you it's good for your pet, and he also prides himself on his passionate, knowledgeable and approachable staff. Indeed, they actually remember your dog's name — it's like Cheers for pets. And pets are happy to come back, in part because the store also specializes in ultra-gentle grooming and will stop a session if the animal looks like it's freaking out. All the groomers participate in a program called Every Dog Has Its Day, which is pro bono grooming of animals in shelters around the city, thus increasing their chances of adoption. Now that's something to bark about! 2245 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 449-1600,

—Adam Gropman

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