Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center

Does Fluffy need a scrub? Scared to cut her nails? Don't feel like expressing your best friend's anal glands (yeah, we didn't think so)? Then load her in the car and take her over to Wag 'N Wash, where the friendly staff will gladly give her a spray-down and tune-up. The Melrose district dog groomer offers a full-service pet spa as well as a do-it-yourself option. Prices range from about $13 to $36 depending on the size of your pet and the service you want. Hint: A full-grown husky with all that hair will be more than a 20-pound Boston terrier. While you're there, grab some of the fresh-baked doggy treats and a new play toy. Your dog will be in heaven — and smell good, too — when you get home.

Arizona Animal Welfare League Shelter

The recently refurbished AAWL is a terrific place to adopt a cat or dog — and we're equally fond of their educational programs. If you have a scout troop, you can arrange for a tour of the exotic animal room (complete with resident hedgehog — they won't let you pet her, but still, cool, huh?) and if you have a free week in the summer, for a fee (warning: it's not the cheapest summer camp in town) Junior can even learn how to be a vet. Well, not quite — but close.

Kids 12 and up will dissect a cow eyeball, give a kitten an examination, watch operations and observe a few things we are too squeamish to describe here, but which are sure to thrill your not-easily-grossed-out kid. Ours emerged ready to apply to medical school. Just try to end the week without adopting (yet another) puppy. We dare you.

Ever seen a yellow anaconda? How about a green anaconda? What about a false water cobra? The water cobra is six feet long, can flatten its neck to look similar to the Indian cobra (the snakes that dance in baskets to flute music), is slightly venomous, and is for sale in Tempe at Reptile Mogul Exotics. Owner Jared Ohsman has 20 years' experience handling reptiles and other animals normally reserved for nightmares and that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Reptile Mogul Exotics has plenty of pythons, boas, lizards, scorpions, and tarantulas as well as docile reptiles like chameleons, geckos, and turtles for sale. For those of us who enjoy the idea of falling asleep next to an animal that could potentially escape from its cage and attack us, Reptile Mogul Exotics is where we shop to keep on our toes.

Sweet Salvage

While the Melrose Curve is a reputable source of repurposed relics and midcentury marvels, there's one Seventh Avenue store in particular that has people literally lining up out the door. Every Third Thursday through Sunday of each month, Sweet Salvage opens its warehouse (now with A/C) to a swarm of trendy thrifters and antique addicts looking for the good stuff. The store's sweet selection of vintage treasures and industrial gems is always tied together by a monthly theme ("summer loving," "salvage secrets," and "let them eat cake," to name a few) and compiled by a team of experienced dealers, handpicked by Sweet Salvage's chief junk queens, Kim Rawlins and Katie Hibbs. From antique signs and kitchenware to vintage soda crates and card catalogs, Sweet Salvage's diverse selection of distressed goods goes quickly in the height of the industrial home trend, which is why we recommend showing up early to this three-day-only sale or, better yet, purchasing a preview ticket so you can beeline it to your favorite flea market finds in the morning.

Children of the '80s are guaranteed to dig the Arizona Collectors Marketplace. Ditto for anyone who grew up playing with Stretch Armstrong, the Six Million Dollar Man, or the original 12-inch G.I. Joe dolls. That's because toys, games, comic books, and other remnants of the era occupy practically every inch of this 7,000-square-foot bazaar of brightly colored plastic. Childhood memories of watching cartoons show like Thundercats and M.A.S.K. while playing with the respective action figures are certain to surface once you step inside.

More than 15 vendors operate tiny bodegas and closet-size stalls throughout the marketplace, some specifically focused on a particular fandom or franchise. To wit: Grey Rogers' shop G.I. Joe vs. Transformers contains stuff from Hasbro's two biggest product lines, while Game Over Games offers stacks of cartridges for classic consoles (ranging from the Atari 2600 and NES to the Nintendo 64) as well as vintage versions of the systems. Other shops have a bit of everything, like Phoenix Comics and Toys' impressive selection of bagged and boarded back issues, a surfeit of Marvel Universe figures, and even original stills from Star Trek: The Animated Series.

There's also a bit of a museum feel to the marketplace, as multiple floor-to-ceiling glass cases contain such relics as Dukes of Hazzard lunchboxes, Evel Knievel race cars, or Shogun Warriors imported from Japan. Everything's for sale, including the items on the extra tables setup for the twice-weekly swap meet on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings by other local dealers and geeks hawking their wares. Just don't exhaust all of your allowance, okay?

Yeah, that's a coffin inside Cellar Door Vintage. And, yes, there's a skeleton inside it. You could say shopkeepers Jake and Eyndia Ooley have a thing for bizarre buys. It seems to stem from the married couple's shared love of punk and goth rock — The Misfits, in particular. The pair also has a good grip on cool T-shirts of the vintage variety, which probably make up the majority of Cellar Door's stock. Shuffle through the racks and you'll find well-worn shirts adorned with team championship bragging, Disney iconography, and the Coors Light logo. Not only do they look cool, they have pretty punk origin stories.

Pratt's Pet Store

Walking into Pratt's pet shop for the first time might catch your nostrils off guard. Well, there is no "might" about it — the smell of farm animals is not bad so much as it's foreign to the nose of a suburbanite. But get past that, because this shop is amazing — like a little zoo, but you can take these animals home with you. If you're looking to save money on eggs, Pratt's will sell you a laying hen for $20. A young hen will set you back only $12. But why stop at the chicken? Pratt's is stocked with other feathered and furry animals, including lovebirds, finches, a Blue Fronted Amazon, noisy doves and pigeons, puppies, a goat, gerbils, ferrets, bunnies, and pot-bellied pigs. They also have, by the way, a 10- to 12-foot Burmese python that — should you regret any of your other pet purchases — will gladly feast on small furry or feathered animals. Or you can just pick up some of the high-end and organic food and great pet treats the store sells for way less than you'd pay at the big-box pet stores.

Baker's Nursery and Gift Shop

It's not easy being green — especially in Phoenix. Luckily, the garden gurus at Baker Nursery in Arcadia are here to help. For more than 40 years, Baker has been bringing some much-needed TLC to the backyard landscape. Offering a vibrant array of seasoned and desert-suitable plant life, from citrus trees and cacti to herbs and hibiscus, Baker Nursery is as much a pleasure to walk through as its knowledgable staff is to talk to. Knowing that not all of us have the greatest track record with Mother Nature, the staff will set out to find just the right plant to fit your yard, and more importantly your maintenance level. Whether its frostbitten fauna or suffering succulents, Baker Nursery will give you the tools and tips to recover your pathetic-looking plants or, at the very least, replace them with something better.

Stinkweeds

Stinkweeds more than makes up for what it lacks in size with its music selection and online offerings. The small, independent music store in the Medlock Plaza (on the northwest corner of Camelback and Central Avenue) has been a Valley mainstay for years. In that time, Stinkweeds has stayed true to its indie roots. The store's staff knows its stuff and is always willing to give new music suggestions. Keep your eyes peeled when browsing the racks for special releases and limited-edition vinyl. Don't forget to check the latest upcoming shows on the store's live music board, and make sure to ask for a poster on your way out. Staff always has free album art at the ready.

Strangely enough, that would-be dead-as-the-dodo retail outlet known as the record store is making a comeback. For evidence, look no further than this tiny shop along Scottsdale Road between Indian School and Camelback Road. We dig this outpost of vinyl because of what it's not: a catch-all receptacle for the kind of mass-produced platters you tend to see at most used record stores. (So, for 99-cent copies of gajillion sellers by Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and AC/DC, Meatloaf, and The Boss, you're gonna have to look elsewhere.)

No, John Rose's shop is where you'll find very-good-to-near-mint copies of cool old (and most likely long-forgotten) R&B, country, rockabilly, and exotica acts. There's also a solid selection of garage, punk, and New Wave slabs from the '80s and '90s. Why, just recently, we nabbed a beautifully preserved copy of 1967's Carryin' on with Johnny Cash and June Carter for about $8, a $3 copy of Nick Lowe's The Abominable Showman, and the Amuck compilation of early Phoenix punk for $12. We almost picked up a $15 long-out-of-print copy of the Circle Jerks' debut, Group Sex, to go along with it all, but we gotta eat, too.

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