Drop it! Drop. It. Put down that chintzy “dog-lover” gear that retail stores push for the holidays. If Santa wants to bring something thoughtful, even a little bit practical, for a proud parent of a pooch in your life, here are five ideas that will really make them smile, and you don’t have to pick up a single doggie-faced tee shirt. (Though, I’d make an exception for this adorable Frenchie sweater from J. Crew.)
Support their favorite animal welfare organization or rescue:
A donation to a charity close to a dog lover’s heart can mean so much. Whether it’s to a national organization they like to contribute to, like the ASPCA, or a gift to the shelter their own pup came from, knowing that their cause has received a boost, no matter how big or small, will really make them wag their tail (to paraphrase Blue’s Clues). If you’re the sort of gift giver that takes pleasure in wrapping and giving physical gifts to open, there is nearly no limit to the coffee mugs, keychains, and other small gifts (including holidays cards and the wrapping paper itself!) that you can get branded with animal advocates’ logos or info, while contributing to their work. The ASPCA offers free shipping on orders over fifty dollars from their online store.
Strut those mutts in style, with a utilitarian dog-walking jacket:
“Especially designed for dog owners, this ultimate utility jacket” available from In The Company of Dogs [pictured below], “is packed full of features and functionality. Durable, lightweight ripstop nylon shell with reflective piping is wind-resistant, waterproof and seam-sealed. Zip-out poly fleece liner jacket, zip-off sleeves and fold-in hood with visor add all-season versatility. Adjustable Velcro® cuffs. Cinch-cord hood and waist. Specialty pockets include detachable, plastic-lined cargo pockets for treats or waste, with extractable-bag feature (roll of 50 bags included), handwarmer pockets, Velcro® chest pockets, sleeve pocket and back mesh pocket for water bottle. Leash belt for dogs up to 100 lbs. Hands-free carabiner leash clips, retractable key chain and more.”
And it’s machine washable for those muddy days or when the fur build-up gets to be too much. It’s a little pricey for a casual gift, but if your significant other or a close family member is an active dog lover or dog walker, it’d make a wonderful gesture.
Keep warm and safe with a Hands Free Leash:
Encourage them to cuddle up with a good book:
The Oatmeal’s “My Dog: The Paradox” perfectly captures the weird and wonderful dynamic between us and our canines, with writer/illustrator Matthew Inman’s signture blend of sharp wit and warm wisdom. Or hold your head high knowing the laughs you’re giving with “Dog Shaming: The Book”, based on the viral sensation, “where they can confess their dogs’ biggest (and often grossest!) sins, which turn out to be recognizably universal—complete with snapshots of ridiculously cute but shamed pups who don’t seem capable of humping humans, pooping on pillows, or snagging steak straight from a grill.” Or check out these five books for dog lovers of all ages. — Casandra Armour