Best of the Best

Best of the Best

Best Vet Practice: Androscoggin Animal Hospital

The  Androscoggin Animal Hospital (AAH) is located on Foreside Road in Topsham, Maine. AAH has been accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association since 2003, which requires us to meet the highest standards of veterinary care. We employ an amazing team of 8 Veterinarians and 28 dedicated support staff. The hospital is committed to providing an exceptional experience that is compassionate, professional, and affordable. We use the latest technology (including a therapeutic and surgical laser, ultrasound, in-house diagnostic equipment, and digital radiography) to provide complete surgical, dental, and medical care. We love supporting the community that has graciously continued to support us. We want to thank our dedicated clients, patients, friends, and the community for choosing us as ‘Best of the Best’ Veterinary Hospital in Downeast Dog News for the THIRD year in a row!

Best Groomer: Coastal Creations Pet Salon

Elsebeth DeBiase is an award-winning IPG Certified Master Groomer with 22 years of experience in the pet industry. As a graduate of the University of Maine Department of Animal Sciences, she has an understanding of the animal industry that encompasses farm, veterinary, and pet industries alike. In 2011, Elsebeth opened Coastal Creations Pet Salon with the goal of providing individualized services to her four-legged clients while utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, compassionate handling methods, and modern styling techniques. Inspired by her Fear Free and Low Stress Handling certifications, she now specializes grooming geriatric and disabled pets. Elsebeth has completed certifications in compassion fatigue, pet loss bereavement and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Chaplaincy from Christian Leaders College in order to provide compassionate support for pet owners. Her goal is to continue pursuing education and training that will be helpful to her clients and the groomers she mentors. It is an honor to receive Best of the Best Groomer 2016, 2019-2023. Thank you!

Best Trainer: Sara Sokol, Mr. Dog Training

Sara Sokol is owner at Mr. Dog Training; a positive reinforcement-based training center located in Brunswick Maine and has been voted BEST dog trainer in the state of Maine by Downeast Dog News readers for NINE years in a row now! Sara feels that the key to any good relationship, including the one between a person and their dog, is clear communication. Her training style is to teach people how their dogs learn and how to set their dogs up to make “good” choices and then reinforce those choices. In addition, Sara believes that training should be fun, for both humans and dogs, and takes pride in being able to make the classroom an enjoyable and safe place to learn. She is grateful to have a job that allows her to work closely with the community and one that helps her strengthen the human/animal bond.

Best Pet Store: Loyal Biscuit, Rockland

Loyal Biscuit Co. iis a nationally award-winning pet supply store founded by Joel and Heidi Neal. Starting in January 2010, LBC has expanded in six great Maine communities and is a dog and cat supply boutique with locations in Rockland, Camden, Belfast, Waterville, Brewer, and Bath. We are your destination for the best in healthy food and treats, toys, collars, beds, and more with over 4,000 hand selected items, plus we have access to over 25,000 more products we can special order! We love dogs and cats, and our pets mean the world to us, so we understand how much your pets mean to you! We are educating ourselves and our team every day on nutrition, treats, toys, and more to help you provide the best for your dogs and cats. We are here to provide the absolute best for your four-legged friends!

Best Pet Product: Mountain Dog Cookie Co.

I am so honored to again be chosen as Maine’s Best Pet Product! When I began Mountain Dog Cookie Co. in 2015, my goal was to make a dog cookie with simple quality ingredients good enough for humans, and also fun decorated cookies to help us celebrate the pets we love. My husband and I created a signature peanut butter, pumpkin and cinnamon recipe that dogs go nuts for. He is our baker, cutting out thousands of cookies each year in small batch after small batch for me to decorate. Our decorated cookies are baked to order. We firmly believe that just because it is a dog cookie doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to look at! Which is what makes our homemade decorated cookies so special. You can find us as well as photos of our decorated cookies and happy customers on our Facebook page. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us in 2023 and past years as well. Your support of small businesses like ours means the world!

Best Daycare/Boarding: A1K9 Academy

We are honored to win Best Daycare/Boarding Facility for the second year in a row! We want to sincerely thank our clients and followers for being on this journey with us to provide the BEST experiences only! At A1K9 Academy we pride ourselves on being different than the rest - implementing structure into your dog’s day to add learning and growth to all the fun we are having! This past year has been one of substantial growth for us: growing the daycare, adding a new yard, training space, boarding building AND adding wonderful members to our daycare team. We strive to provide the best service whether it is out in the yard, obedience training with Taylor or Cam, overnight boarding, or even a nice bath & nail trim! We truly love our A1K9 pups like they are our own and are proud of the A1K9 Family we have created. THANK YOU!

Best Rescue/Shelter:Pope Memorial Humane Society

Pope Memorial Humane Society was founded in 1989 in response to the needs of homeless animals – their protection, care, and adoption. From humble beginnings in 1989 to the 10,000-square-foot facility built in 2015, thousands of animals have been lovingly tended, rehabilitated, and adopted. This year, PMHS continues its tireless work, ushering in countless litters of puppies, working with rescue partners in the south to bring dogs to Maine, and helping local canines find forever homes. It’s a heartwarming testament to the power of compassion and community coming together to make a difference in the lives of our four-legged (and sometimes fewer) companions. Pope Memorial Humane Society is where love, hope, and wagging tails unite to create brighter tomorrows. At PMHS, we are truly fortunate to be a part of a remarkable community across Maine, working together to create a brighter future for homeless pets in need! To learn more about Pope Memorial Humane Society, please visit or stop by the shelter!

Best Pet-Friendly Lodging: Little White Dog Properties

Hello, I’m Sara Sokol, I’m Little White Dog Properties, named for the most wonderful little white dog in the world, Milo. My pet friendly vacation rental property, Wiggleswick Cottage, sits on 2.5 acres and 75 feet of deep waterfront shoreline in beautiful Georgetown Maine and have been voted BEST Pet Friendly Lodging for the past THREE years! It was important to me to create a beautiful, comfortable, and clean vacation home where people are welcome to vacation with their dogs since I believe that life is always better with a dog by your side. I take pride in never charging a pet fee, welcoming multiple dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages, as well as providing numerous amenities just for dogs. In addition, I prioritize outstanding customer service, and strive to give my guests, both two and four legged, a vacation experience that they won’t forget; from the moment they book, through checkout, and return trips. Come stay with me!

Best Pet Photographer: Gina Soule, Gina Soule Photo

Fetching photography for the fellow adventurous and pet obsessed! Gina Soule is a dog and pet photographer who is based in Portland, ME. As a multi-internationally award-winning pet photographer, Gina specializes in bringing bespoke one-of-a-kind pieces of art and portraits to her clients throughout New England and the country. With her work being recognized throughout the globe, Gina has mastered the combination of technical excellence and artistic mastery to create captivating images of your pets. Gina shares her home with her 2 rescue pitbulls, Peanut and Beau, and her rescue cat, Smudge

Best Pet-Friendly Campground: Megunticook Campground

Located in Rockport on the rocky coast of Midcoast Maine, Megunticook Campground offers tent and RV camping as well as various rental options. This quiet, oceanside campground boasts incredible views and plenty of things to do on-site and in the surrounding area. One of the highlights of the campground is a Saturday night lobster bake where guests can enjoy each other’s company dining family-style along the waterfront.

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