Gift Guide 2010: Pets

Puppy love

That merry holiday season is rolling around yet again. Whether you’re looking to acquire a pet for yourself or as a gift for your special loved one, place a pet, find a pet sitter or purchase pet supplies, Craigslist should be one of the first places you check. With the economy still lagging, Craigslist might also save you the cost and headache of pet adoption or purchase through pet stores or humane societies. The free online classified site has a specific section devoted to all things pets and the local boards for Charlotte, the Triangle and Triad cities are always bustling.

Searching for a pet through Craigslist is a particularly good way to avoid supporting puppy mills or owners who breed their animals for profit. Pet-for-sale ads are quickly flagged for removal by the site’s users, although requests for a reasonable “re-homing” fee to recover the costs of shots, spaying or neutering, or supplies is acceptable.

Ads related to dogs and cats dominate the message boards as you would expect, but listings for other pet varieties are common. These range from the more typical guinea pigs, hamsters and snakes to the rarer sugar gliders, lizards and hedgehogs.

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Many of these pets are being offered by people who love them but due to unavoidable circumstances — primarily economic hardship — have no recourse other than to give them up. Craigslist provides such owners a means to place their companion animals in good homes rather than make the gut-wrenching decision to take them to a shelter.

On the other side, people using the site to secure a new pet have a range of healthy, well-taken-care-of prospects to consider when they’re looking for their newest family member.

To begin your search for a devoted companion animal or to find a new home for one you already have, visit craigslist.org.

— David Stout

King of the Kongs

Let your dog or cat have a bit of fun with Kong toys. The company makes a variety of treat-dispensing toys for both cats and dogs, including their classic Kong and catnip toys. Your dog or cat will wear themselves out, having fun and getting the treat they crave. All the while, you’ll get a few minutes break from playtime while they entertain themselves. (Various prices; kongcompany.com)

— Matt Comer

A basket-full of goodies

Does your partner, niece, nephew or other special loved one have a little furry friend of their own? Do you want not only to give a gift to them but also to their pet? It’s a wonderful gesture, you know, and pure “icing on the cake.” It says, “I love you and love the things you care about, too.” Well, if that’s the case, then you might consider throwing together an affordable, yet useful goodie basket. Head out to any pet store. Pick up treats, toys, collars and other small-sized, relatively affordable items, stuff them into a nice, holiday-themed basket or bag and place it right alongside your loved one’s presents this year.

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— M.C.

Country cookin’

Everyone loves some good ol’ fashion holiday cooking. Why can’t your doggie enjoy it too? Bake them some special Christmas treats. To make our dog treats you’ll need 1 cup of wholemeal flour, ½ a cup of grated cheese, ½ a cup of cooked frozen vegetables such as peas, corn and carrots, ½ a cup of margarine or butter (melted) and a little bit of water.

To make, mix together the flour, cooked vegetables, cheese and melted butter (or margarine). If it is too stiff, add a little water until you have a dough-like consistency.

Pop this in the fridge to chill for an hour or two, then remove from the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Roll out to about half an inch thick, then use seasonal cookie cutters to cut out Christmas shapes.

Place these on a greased baking tray and cook at 185°C / 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before placing in an airtight container.

Note: you can make more biscuits by doubling the ingredients, however these biscuits do not keep for as long as traditional dog biscuits (due to the cooked vegetables). Can be refrigerated.

— Di Ellis, BestDoggieTips.com

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One Reply to “Gift Guide 2010: Pets”

  1. Sorry, but Craigslist is rampant with puppy millers selling dogs. A “reasonable rehoming fee” of $100 is profit to a puppy mill that would just kill the pup anyway. I can name many instances where puppy mills selling their “unsold stock” got rid of it on Cragislist for what would seem like a bargain to the puppy buyer. Many puppy mills are actually posing as “rescue organizations” as well, to dupe the public. Buyer Beware. Don’t believe anything you read. Make sure you actually visit the home where the dog is kept to confirm with your own eyes that you aren’t supporting a puppy mill. These people are devious.

    You are better off supporting your local humane societies or other rescues, who make sure the dogs are healthy (and desexed) before they are adopted.

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