Inspired by today’s Wall Street Journal’s (12/13/06) roundup of shopping blogs I`ve taken the unprecedented step of offering more unsolicited advice. So in the rare event that you’re still stumped on what to give some of the pet people on your list—today you’re in luck. Here are my top ten picks for vet-sanctioned, pet-themed presents.

 

#10: Looking for something personal for a family with a new pup or an aging kitty? (Or anything in between?) Get a paw print kit. Lots of vets will offer a molded clay impression as a post-mortem memento but I prefer it as a reminder of my pet’s best days. The whole family will be charmed by the results: a kitschy keepsake of your pet’s uniqueness suitable for hanging on the wall next to her puppy pic or astride his funeral urn. You can buy these online at any of the pet megastore sites and at most craft stores.

 

#9: Have a good relationship with a your vet? One good (borrowed) X-ray of Fluffy`s fracture (or recent gastroenteritis episode) paired with a sun print kit will make you the most adored person on the planet in the eyes of your besotted spouse/partner/whatever. All you need is a little creativity, some lemon juice and a DIY frame you can pick up at Target for $9.99. Next thing you know and Fluffy`s nightmare is immortalized in vivid shades of cerulean blue.

 

#8: What about the neighbor or buddy with the behavioral-nightmare adoptee? How about hooking them up with one training session courtesy of your favorite trainer or behaviorist?…or a full scholarship to an obedience class? Most training professionals will happily supply you with a gift certificate.

 

#7: Stocking stuffers? How about a dental theme? Greenies come in a new, dissolvable formula. Gone (reportedly) are those pesky intestinal obstructions that made the round of online pet sites this year and convinced everyone that Greenies were the antichrist of petdom. Along the same lines, consider a fancy toothbrush with a variety of flavored toothpastes. These also make for a vet-friendly stocking-full of goodies.

 

#6: Know someone whose kitties have nearly convinced them to abandon their home and all its contents forever? These felines may well find a friend in Feliway—that enticing aroma of synthetic pheromone that convinces them they might not really want to pee on that sofa…just now. It sounds like Voodoo but what the heck?—it can’t hurt (and comes in both spray and diffuser versions for your price-point convenience). As an added bonus consider a case of Febreeze and a gallon of Nature’s Miracle as well.

 

#5: Can you knit? Pick up the sticks and get knitting your pal a custom pet sweater. If you can’t knit don’t despair. You can always cut up a cashmere sock for your giftee`s Chihuahua-sized creature. Alternatively, should your recipient be of the knitting breed, perhaps one of the [many] pet knits books and an appropriate selection of yarn will do the trick. Any friendly neighborhood yarn shop worth its wool will help you put together a kit. (I, for one, would worship anyone who recognized my mania for the needles and coupled it with a pet-related presentation.)

 

#4: Homemade doggie or kitty treats are always welcome. And they’re much easier to make than you think—foolproof, even. Unless you burn them, few dogs will turn their nose up at anything homemade. Kitties are another story. If you try this trick at home, be sure to check the ingredient list against any allergies your recipient’s pet might suffer from. Want an extra-nice touch? Dip them in a little white chocolate (it contains none of the theobromine compound that makes dark chocolate so toxic to pets).

 

#3: Should you know someone who loves their pet but doesn’t quite understand the whole microchipping phenomenon—please give them one. I realize this may involve some potentially privacy-violating planning (paying for the microchip at the pet’s vet then registering them online or by snail mail) but good friends do these nosy sorts of things with love. Consider it. No pet need risk losing his or her person(s). And it’s only about $50 when all’s said and done.

 

#2: Consider the gift that keeps on giving…a donation to a charitable foundation in your recipient’s name. One of my clients has just made me this very same offer this holiday season. It charmed me silly and I assure you your gifted one will feel the same. Recommended charities? Try a donation to the Audubon Society earmarked for their Cats Indoors campaign. But my choice this year? The University of Pennsylvania Vet School’s Shelter Medicine Program. Feel free to suggest others in your comments.

 

(Drum roll please…)

 

#1: Never again will you see the world in the same light. Each time you walk into your home it will feel like a rainbow illuminates your path. Your floors will sparkle with new life. Even after the worst day, the world will feel right again if you have…a Roomba.

 

Gone is the unsightly dog hair that coalesces into corner-amassing tumbleweeds without your daily, backbreaking ministrations. And as if cleanliness alone isn’t enough—you now have a high-tech cat toy to spoil your felines with. I guarantee that any self-respecting, neat-freak pet lover will not look at you askance wondering what possessed you to buy them…a vacuum cleaner.

 

Happy shopping!