By Katy Cable-The Weekly Runt
A 4 min. Read
Happy Holidays! I think we all deserve to be at the top of Santa’s “GOOD LIST” for surviving this crazy year! I'll be honest with you, when it comes to the holidays, I tend to be a bit of a "Grinch"! I over-commit and never remember to take traffic, crowds, budgets, or my own energy levels into consideration. I’m usually left sick, tired, broke and frustrated before most people have their Christmas lights up. Every year I promise I'm going to "scale-back" and do things differently but it never happens. This year, the universe did for me what I couldn’t do for myself and I’m enjoying the season so much more! Whatever your situation, here are a few suggestions and gift ideas for a less chaotic, “happier” holidays!
It's all about the gifts.
It astounds me when these catalogs and websites showcase “perfect” gift ideas that START at $300! If I had funds like that, I sure wouldn’t need a gift guide for assistance. But coming up with a personal, unique wonderful gift on a limited budget is difficult. More so when we’re socially distancing and most activities are closed! So, I spoke to pet experts and top pet retailers to find the newest, coolest, most unique finds PRICED UNDER $50.
So here it is: The Weekly Runt's 5th Annual 🐾"Paw-liday" Gift Ideas 🎁
When it comes to Pugs (or Labs and several other breeds for that matter) nothing is a bigger hit than:
F O O D! So why not treat your pet to delicious, healthy meals all year long with a splurge on a better premium food. This is the gift that will pay you back in huge dividends, with better health for your pet and less expensive vet bills. Check some of my pet nutrition blogs for recommendations. Then, how about remembering the four-legged friends in your life by taking a can or small package of Salmon or Turkey over so they can enjoy a healthy"Christmas dinner in a can". -Or it can be stuffed in a Kong for a holiday treat!
Treats are also very high on the list and there is one MUST-HAVE: CBD treats by PAWS EFFECT Not just a nutritious, healthy, treat, these biscuits which come in a variety of flavors, as well as pure, medical-grade CBD oil. All ingredients are sourced in Hawaii. CBD is a MIRACLE WORKER on anxiety, pain management, mobility issues and even immunity. They are 100% safe for both pets and humans to enjoy. A large bag of treats is priced under $50 (Visit my site to order and use WEEKLYRUNT discount code for 10% off your purchase.) A large bag of treats will make a perfect gift or stocking stuffer pet parents will no-doubt thank you for.
NULO has an amazing line of healthy jerky, training treats and raw toppers. While most treats contain wheat, molasses, sugars, and other additives, Nulo uses it’s clean, human-grade meat, poultry and fish proteins, one fruit pairing and a touch of organic honey for sweetness. These treats also contain their signature, patented, viable probiotic BC30 which activates in the gut and boosts health and immunity. So finally, a treat you can feel good about offering. A bag of treats is between $5-10 dollars so it’s a great deal. Especially for sensitive, sick or elderly pets.
Training Classes make a perfect gift that keeps on giving. They can provide a fun way to bond with your pet while teaching them new skills. This can be especially important with rescue/shelter dogs trying to overcome past trauma and learn to trust again. Training classes are typically very reasonably priced and there are a number of different options to choose from. Some dogs enjoy agility and active training skills while others thrive learning basic skills or commands needed to work as therapy dogs. Check the ZOOM ROOM for a variety of agility classes and PETSMART for basic skills, tricks and therapy dog training. Both use positive reinforcement and fun to build confidence in your dog. They also teach YOU how to properly work with your pet for desired results.
I have had a lot of bad mishaps when it comes to dog toys. Too many times I’ve watched teeny-tiny-teacup-sized-pups deceive me by ripping up stuffed toys faster than I can put down the lid on a toilet seat. Kongs, bones, and bully-sticks have also quickly been devoured turning into choking hazards. Now, my favorite toys are by Multipet! They have a duck that quacks, a pig that pinks and chew tits with calming aromatherapy. These have toys have been a favorite of my little Olive and with most items under $10, they make perfect gifts.
Now that I've checked the dog off the list, my holiday gift guide wouldn't be complete without clueing you in on some great finds for YOU or your DOG-LOVING friends.
A PET WITH PAWS offers the most amazing, designer handbag inspired, poop bag & pet carriers I have EVER SEEN! I went crazy when I saw these and I get complimented on mine everywhere I go. They are the PURRR-fect gift for any fashionista pet owner. Offered in a variety of sizes, styles and price points, these tres-chic items are also multi-functional. They can hold not just poop bags but keys, credit cards and of course, tennis balls. Pet carriers come with a patented “Pet Trek” roller attachment. The carrier can slide over the roller allowing for easy convenient travel with a pet. The real surprise is all the accessories are made from recycled plastic bottles. This environmentally conscious company creates cruelty-free products and plants a tree for every purchase.
DOG IS GOOD offers perfect finds for NOT the DOG but the DOG LOVER. Created by my amazing friend, Gila Kurtz and her husband of more than 20 years, retired USN officer Jon. Gila is an award-winning author, motivational speaker and dog trainer turned entrepreneur. This creative, hard-working, husband/wife team started their company with a catchy "Dog is Good" T-shirt back in 2008. It has now evolved into a global lifestyle brand featuring unique decor, and gifts. Some of my all-time favorites are the pop-art T's, totes and prints. However, their "Dog is my Zen" yoga hoodie nearly gets ripped off my back every time I wear it. It was awarded "Best in Show" at the Global Pet Expo. So whether you're into yoga or just want to dress like you are, I know you (or one of your friends) will LOVE-LOVE-LOVE❤️ this piece. Check out their website catalog and go crazy with some one-of-kind gifts any dog-lover will treasure. While you're at it you will be supporting a wonderful small business and giving back to some worthy dog causes.
The holidays can be a very difficult time for those who have lost a pet. ONE FUR ALL PET HOUSE CANDLES, offers a beautiful line of candles in a variety of fragrances and designs. My favorite is their “Rainbow Bridge Memorial Candle”. These candles are exquisite and the long-lasting fragrance is ideal for getting rid of pet odors. In addition they offer paw-shaped “no-flame” wax melts which are nice for college dorms or places where candles aren’t allowed. I have several of these candles and I just love them. With seasonal designs and fragrances, they make a perfect small hostess gift for a pet-parent year round!
SHUTTERFLY, VISTA PRINT or WALGREENS offer a variety of creative ways to honor a special pet. You can make a coffee mug or other keepsake items with a favorite photo of a beloved pet. I have made several mugs with my first Pug Raisin’s picture on them and I always feel happier taking him along on my commute. Watch for sales where you can save up to 50% off list price. Ask the recipient for a favorite picture and create a personalized piece on your computer or download the app and make them a treasure on your smartphone.
FOR A GOOD CAUSE:
While there is no shortage of terrific holiday (and otherwise) books featuring Pugs, I would like to feature some local favorites which will support worthy causes. My daughter Karley wrote a book about our pug Raisin when she was just 12 years old. "Raisin, -A Doggie's Tale," received national attention from President Obama and Oprah Winfrey. This heartwarming, inspiring tale of overcoming obstacles and responsible pet ownership is told through the eyes of Raisin, a rescue pug. Great for all ages. A must-have for a pug lover!
Speaking of fun books, my fellow pug lover and friend, LAURREN DARR has many terrific cat & dog themed books under her LEFT PAW PRESS website. but her PUGDALA/CATDALA/DOGDALA coloring books will certainly be a hit. Particularly after this challenging year. Books feature 50 Pugs (cats/dogs) in beautiful mandala designs with meditation worthy sentiments on every page. Visit her site to learn more and check out her entire library of titles.
SURF GIDGET THE PUG is my hero! This little 16lb white Pug is originally a rescue who hails from Maine. She has now found her perfect home on the West Coast where she’s become the infamous “surfing Pug” who’s taking the world by storm. Surf Gidget is a true inspiration as to what is possible with love and dedication. Read her life story in her new book, then you can own a little piece of “surf-pug” culture and shop Gidget’s entire line of hip, cool collectibles for yourself or a pug-loving friend. All purchases support rescues and pugs in dire need.
Speaking of your wallet, don't feel bad if you can't afford holiday gifts for your fur baby. The best gift of all is of course your love and devotion all year long. Heck, with that, it's Christmas everyday. If the pandemic has clobbered your finances, go on a long walk, look at the beautiful holiday lights, celebrate each other by watching a holiday movie together and giving belly rubs. If you're plagued with guilt you can celebrate a few days later and buy a few things on clearance. Your dog will never know the difference.
Many of you strapped for cash can give the gift of your time. Instead of purchasing a gift, why not make up coupons for your dog-walking or dog-sitting services. Another idea is to donate some time volunteering at a local rescue or shelter. Many of them are featuring a “Home Fur The Holidays” program where families can foster a shelter pet for the holidays. This allows prospective adopters to try things out before committing and gets a needy animal out of the stressful shelter for the holidays. Hopefully the pet will end up being a “foster-fail” and become a new family member. Check your local shelters or rescues for info. and CoVid protocols.
And lastly, to get in the holiday spirit, I went a little crazy and hit the 50% off sale at KOHLS. They had a huge selection of light-up Pug stocking caps, ugly Christmas sweaters, socks, ties and PJ's. And it wasn't all "Bah Hum Pug!" They had crazy-cat Christmas wear too. I love wearing my goofy Pug Christmas sweater. It's getting me in the holiday spirit and bringing a chuckle to everyone I meet. Go check out the dwindling selection FAST!
I want to thank those of you who offered such terrific gift suggestions. It was a huge help. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.! 🎄🐾🎁.