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Food Banks for Hungry Pets

During this season of bountiful feasting we often pause and consider the needs of those less fortunate who have insufficient food to eat. Many contact local food banks and offer donations of food and money. Some people, knowing that there are also animals in need, contact their local animal shelter and offer donations of food and supplies. These are both worthy acts of charity but I have an additional concern that I would like to share: Are you aware that there are some pets who also need help?

Consider a senior citizen whose only income is Social Security or the person living with disabilities who is unable to work. While the companionship of a pet can greatly improve their quality of life, they may be forced to give up their pet (or endanger their own well-being) because they can't afford to feed it. If you would like to offer your help, contact your local food bank and ask if they accept pet food and supplies.
There are also food banks that serve just pets, for example The Humane Society for Seattle/King County. You may be able to find a food bank for pets that serves your locale by searching online.

All year long, but particularly in this season of celebration and joy, let's remember to help those all those less fortunate.

A Charming Gift for Your Dog

Let Your Dog Show Off His Astrological Sign

Birthbone Here's a birthstone -- make that a birthbone -- charm you can add to your dog's collar. Each birth bone has 100 sparkling Swarovski crystals pave-set into jewelry grade silver. They come in all the traditional birth stone colors, October Pink for example, and will add an elegant and glittery touch for your new age pet. They are available from amazon.com for only $39.99.  That's a small price to pay in exchange for your pooch's unwavering loyalty.

Birdcages Aren't Just for the Birds

Birdcage Personally I wouldn't care to have a bird as a pet. I'm just not confident I would know how to properly care for a bird and aren't they a bit messy and noisy anyway? However, a beautiful birdcage is a different matter. Here is a decorative one with an Arabian silhouette that is designed to hold tea lights and could be used inside or outdoors. It is available at The Conran Shop for $175 and would also make a wonderful gift.

I love the graceful curves and the exotic profile. And I like that you don't have to line the bottom with newspaper and clean it out everyday.

Green Pets: Topiary Gardening

Ngatopiary Topiary gardening, the art of fashioning living plants into ornamental shapes, has been practiced for centuries. Found in the best formal gardens, they are always a beautiful accent or stunning focal point. Animals, not surprisingly, are among the most popular forms for topiaries.

If you have a garden and would like to create an animal topiary you can look at Rittenhouse for a wide selection of forms including farm animals, house pets, zoo animals, sea creatures, birds and insects and dozens of different dogs.

If you'd like to try something on a smaller scale, consider creating a table-top topiary. It's easy to create the rabbit topiary shown here. You buy the form and set in over a boxwood plant (left in photo), clip it from time to time and eventually all the wires are covered and you have a very cute rabbit (right in photo). This form stands 12" tall, costs $19.95 and is available from the National Garden Association.

Creating an animal topiary would be a fun way to introduce children to gardening and, with only periodic watering and clipping, is easier to care for than a pet (and no allergies). A topiary would also make a wonderful, lasting gift and, while they will take longer to grow, aren't they ever so much nicer than a (ch-ch) Chia Pet?

Stocking Stuffer Gift for Your Cat

Catcollar When you're checking your gift list don't forget about the furry one that purrs into your ear every night -- I'm referring to your cat of course. This Princessa Crystal Cat Collar is $45 but it's made of the finest materials -- sparkling Swarovski chain and a shimmering glitter band -- and it's handcrafted in Italy. Nothing is too good for your princess and here is your chance to prove it.

This will have your glamour puss purring for joy!

Cashmere: The Perfect Gift for Your Dog

Starlight What makes a more luxurious gift than a cashmere sweater -- and what posh poochie wouldn't love this one? This Starlight Sweater is pea green with golden star appliques. Trixie and Peanut Pet Emporium has a lot of cashmere offerings but this is the one that caught my eye. It's available online for only $39 and is sure to make your loved one stand out in the pack.

Be prepared to have your face licked clean in gratitude.

Kiehl's: Old World Apothecary for New Age Pets

Kiehldog I love stores that offer new-age-related products. That is, useful items that have perhaps an aroma-therapeutic angle, or something that revitalizes with all natural ingredients. One of these standouts is Kiehl's which happens to have its flagship store in NYC. This company, founded in 1851, has a long history of offering unique, proprietary products formulated with the finest ingredients (and, it should go without saying: they do not/have never tested products on animals). They have about 23 stores across the country but you can save your gas (and the environment) and check out Kiehl's online. Their stated mission is, in part:

"A worthwhile firm must have a purpose for its existence. Not only the everyday work-a-day purpose to earn a just profit, but beyond that, to improve in some way the quality of the community to which it is committed. . ." Sounds good to me.

Kiehl's develops most of their products for humans but they also have a few offerings for dogs. Their Cuddly-Coat Grooming Shampoo effectively removes dirt, debris, and odor while being gentle on the dog’s coat, face, and skin. It is a blend of chamomile flower extract (soothing and comforting properties) with efficacious and gentle cleansing ingredients. Its soap-free, pH-balanced formula will leave the coat and skin clean with a light and refreshing lavender scent (always appreciated). A 12-oz bottle is $16 and there is a companion conditioning product available as well.

Anyone out there have a favorite new-age-ish store to share? Please send it on.

The Separation Anxiety Blues

PetmusicHome Alone. How well does your pet handle this? If you come home and find the toilet paper has been shredded, see "skid marks" on your white carpet, or find his dry food has been scattered all over the kitchen floor -- your pet may be suffering from separation anxiety.

The solution: While You Are Gone, Music Pets Love a collection of instrumental music mixed with short stories designed to soothe your pets anxieties. Playing this CD creates a peaceful environment and helps pets relax when they are left alone (or when the owner needs quiet time). Amazon customers give this a 4.5 star rating for effectiveness and many say they it enjoy it as much as their pets.

There is more than an hour of music including: Basking in the Sun, Wet Kisses, and New Leash on Life -- all for $12.99. That's less than the sales tax on your pair of Jimmy Choos that Fido may be chewing on tomorrow.

The Kitty Kama Sutra

Kitty Billed as "the only sex manual your cat will ever need," this little book offers the feline version of a sex manual. Written by Richard Smith and delightfully illustrated by Susann Ferris Jones, you might consider buying The Kitty Kama Sutra.

Discover the pleasure of the earlobe lick or even the Hindu Kish Fondle. Hey and did you know that even the paw has erogenous zones? Me neither. Purrrrrr.