This article was originally written as a professional article for my LinkedIn profile:
As part of our family, many of us include our pets in our Holiday Gift-Giving. I had to run to Pet Smart on Black Friday to exchange a collar for our new dog, and the long lines at every checkout seem to confirm that getting Rover a giant rawhide is as important as Grandma’s new crockpot. Depending on what poll you cite, up to 95% of pet owners say they buy presents for their dog or cat.
Getting a gift for your pet may mean a special trip to the pet store, or a toss-in item to your cart at Target or Amazon. If you’re looking for something that’s just right, here are some suggestions from the Environmental Enrichment Coordinator:
K9 Ballistics Crate & Kennel Bed: Saying anything is “chew proof” is just begging to be disproved. However, these beds have excellent customer ratings. For those with dogs determined to be epic chewers, the company seems to stand strong behind its 90 day guarantee. They’re a bit pricey, but surely worth it if you’ve finally found the bed your dog won’t chew through; also, shipping is free.
Freedom Tails Handmade Collars and Leashes: For those seeking to give gifts with a higher purpose, this may be the solution for you. Inmates at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Washington State create leather collars and leashes that can be custom-embossed with a pet’s name.
Thanks to The Bark for sniffing out this terrific opportunity in their article found at http://thebark.com/content/gifts-give-back : “Proceeds support Freedom Tails, a program where offenders train shelter dogs to make them more viable for adoption. The dogs get a second chance at a life in a loving home, and the offenders receive a renewed sense of purpose. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and information. Collars start at $15, leashes start at $20.”
Bark Box: If you’re searching to spoil your dog with a gift that gives year-round, go no further than the Bark Box. This delivered-to-your-door subscription service will surprise you and your canine companion with “4-5 healthy treats and pawsome playthings, plus one extra bow-wow worthy premium toy.” Savvy Google searchers may be able to score a promo code to save a little dough.
My personal favorites: In my role at the University, I’ve discovered Otto Environmental as a great source for every species, from mice to elephants. (No, I don’t shop for elephants; I’m just saying—they got it.) I send in an order through work, and when I find things I like, I order for my own pets. I can personally attest to the fun and durability of the Crackle Ball and Fire Hose Squeak N Fetch. The Tunnel-O-Fun was both adorable and loved by our pet mice. Finally Kookamunga Catnip Bubbles are an awesome way to bond with your cat.