Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cool Holiday Gift Ideas and an Important Gift DON'T

Santa, reindeer and sleigh-loads of twinkling lights are appearing in malls everywhere. More critically, Black Friday is around the corner, and will be upon us before you can even say "arf."

Given that we have spent more time that we can ever justify looking at, reading about, and trying out an avalanche of canine products, we thought we would share our knowledge with you and help make your holiday shopping easier. Thus, with no further ado, here are our picks for all the canine-loving people on your gift list:

1. Happy Dog: Caring For Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit

Since this is our blog, we couldn't resist recommending our own book! HAPPY DOG is top choice for all the dog lovers on your list. Whether your giftee is a new dog owner or an experienced one, HAPPY DOG will teach him/her new tricks that will make Fido happy!

HAPPY DOG is available at bookstores and on-line retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you purchase the book on our website, we will personally sign the book and Barker and Meowsky will donate a portion of the sale to American Humane, the only national organization dedicated to protecting animals and children.

2. Richards Harness Coat

We used to cut holes in Shadow and Arthur's sweaters and coats to accommodate their harnesses. But that was before we found the Richards Harness Coat. This clever coat combines climate control, fashion, safety and convenience.

The coats are fully lined, machine washable, and come in a satisfying array of fashionable patterns and fabric choices for every weather condition. Choose fleece for winter, water resistant versions for rain, spa cooling coats for warmer weather and field coats to protect Fido when he's in the brush. The built-in harness is easy to adjust and closes with 2 simple clips. Fido's leash attaches to a sturdy ring sewn into the top of the coat.

We compared the Richards Harness Coat to others and it's no contest -- the quality and construction of the Richards coat are best in show.

Richards Harness Coats are reasonably priced ranging from $21.95 for XXS to $59.95 for XXL Long. Order on line or call 248-693-7422. Happy Dog Land readers can save 10% on their purchase by entering: HDL-2009-10 into the promo code box from now until 12/30/09.


For all the people on your list who love to walk their dogs, the WACKYwalk'r is a perfect gift.

Constructed from stretchy natural rubber tubing that's reinforced with an internal safety line, the leash extends to twice its length, thus allowing your pooch to explore without ripping your arm out of its socket. How? The leash's flexible tubing reduces the kinetic stress on both the human and the dog. With the WACKYwalk'r, you and your pooch will no longer feel the jerk caused by rigid leashes.

The leashes, which come in 14 vibrant colors, are available in 6 different sizes based on Fido's weight) and in 6 different styles to accommodate various walking environments and the pooch's strength.

The WACKYwalk'r ($24-35), which extends from 3 ft to 6 ft, is the longest leash. The URBAN ($22-$31) extends from 1.5 feet to 3 feet and allows for more control in congested areas. The STUBB'R ($27), which extends from 10 inches to 20 inches, is ideal for large dogs who are strong pullers. The X'TENSION ($8-$15) attaches to retractable leads and acts as a serious shock absorber for the dog and human.

Multiple dog families are also in luck. The CRAZYcoupl'r ($24-$35) allows you to walk 2 dogs comfortably on one leash. For a 3 dog family, the TRICKYtripl'r ($28-$33) is a perfect choice.

Our WACKYwalk'rs have made squirrel watching much easier to bear when we walk Shadow, Zeke or Arthur. Purchase the WACKYwalk'r products on line or call 610-222-0679

4. Port-A-Poo

Nobody likes hauling around a full poop bag while searching for a garbage can. The clever folks behind Port-A-Poo make life with a canine so much easier (and less smelly) with this must-have gizmo for anyone who walks their pooch.

We were initially drawn to Port-A-Poo's cute logo and pithy slogan ("picking up where your dog left off"). Then, the cleverness and usefulness of the product won us over.

The Port-A-Poo is a hands-free way to carry poop bags whether they're empty or full. The Port-A-Poo easily and securely attaches to any leash. Once attached, it's literally a snap to use. Just open the clip, slip in the bag and you're good to go. Now, you'll be able to throw a tennis ball instead of clutching Fido's poop bag.

At $9.95, the Port-A-Poo makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for one of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Choose from 5 bright colors and 2 sizes that fit standard and retractable leashes. Purchase the Port-A-Poo on line or in retailers in the US and Canada and around the world.

5. Nose Print Jewelry By Robin's Loving Touch

Indiana artist Robin Durnbaugh of Robin's Loving Touch offers one of the most unique and meaningful jewelry ideas we've come across.

Robin's nose print pendants, charms and identification tags are made from an impression of your pooch's schnoz in yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver or solid chrome ($195-$625 depending on the metal and most include a matching chain).

Robin's jewelry keeps your best friend close to you at all times. Robin also offers finger print pendants to keep your human loved ones with you.

The pendants, charms and tags are personalized and instant heirlooms. Included in the price of the jewelry is a kit with easy-to-follow instructions for making the impression for the piece.

Both Jill and Billy have put in their orders. Jill will be wearing Shadow's nose print and her son's fingerprint. Billy will be sporting Zeke and Arthur's nose prints. Order on line or call 260-489-0671.

8. No Ears In Here Dog Bowl

Here's some welcome relief for all the long-eared dogs on your list. The cleverly designed No Ears In Here Bowl keeps pendulous ears out of the food or water so Fido's ears and the floor stay clean and dry while he eats or drinks.

The bowl is 9 1/2 inches tall so it won't tip over. The inner bowl, however, is just deep enough to hold 2 cups of food or water. This means that Fido is less likely to gulp his food and swallow excess air, which might upset his tummy.

The bowls are made in the USA and at $9.35 a piece make an economical and practical gift. Fill the bowl with treats, wrap it in cellophane and voila you have a snazzy gift that didn't break the bank. Order on line or call 574-267-6258.


Honor the people or pets on your gift list by helping animals in need. Making a donation to a favorite local or national animal welfare organization, shelter or rescue is a perfect gift for any animal lover. Most charities will be happy to notify the honoree of your gift, which saves you the time and effort of sending a card.


We hope our suggestions help make your holidays easier and removes some of the stress of finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. One thing you will never see on our list is a live animal: dogs (or any pet) make lousy gifts! Taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is something that should not (and cannot!) be "given" to someone.

Everyone doesn't share our love of animals, and even animal lovers may be reluctant or incapable of assuming the responsibilities, time commitment and expense of a new pet. Animals are not returnable or disposable and, therefore, should never, ever be given as a gift.

Instead, wrap up a creative stand-in for the living, breathing animal, such as a picture, toy, food or cute collar and leash. Better yet, purchase a gift certificate from a local shelter or rescue. This allows the recipient to decide for him- or herself whether she’s ready, willing and able to welcome a pet into her family.

Moreover, the holidays are a dreadful time to introduce a new pet into a household. Routines are altered, celebrations take everyone from home and everyone is probably too busy to provide a new family member with the required care, stability, love and attention. Wait until after the holidays. Local shelters and rescues will be overflowing with rejected holiday gifts that are anxiously awaiting their new home.

We hope that this provides you with some good ideas on how to make your holiday season doggone amazing!


  1. Great list! Most of these items I had never heard of. Of course, my favorite is your book:) Next would be Richards Harness Coat. Thanks for the info.

  2. Donation to a pet charity or cause is a wonderful idea and even more important in this stagnant economy. I am going to combine donations to my local humane society along with a signed copy of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy,Longer Life by Dr. Nancy Kay (www.speakingforspot.com)for my group of dog loving friends and family this year. The humane society will benefit, my family and friends and their dogs will benefit from a great book, and for signed copies ordered through the end of December Dr. Kay is donating 10% of proceeds to the Morris Animal Foundation. Combine that with "Happy Dog" and it's a win win for dogs and people and pet charities.

  3. While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

  4. Thanks for all the comments! Remember if you buy "Happy Dog" from our website, American Humane receives a donation!

    Have a happy and safe holiday season!

  5. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.