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Gift Guide: Puttin' On The Dog

Odd and wonderful gifts to get your favorite furry friend at Christmas

I have tried, on several occasions, to explain the story of Christmas to my Golden Retriever, Happy. But I always get carried away and give way too much historical background. And if you think my canine looks confused now, you should've seen him after I tried to explain the trial of Apostle Paul in Achaea. Plus, I did the whole thing in Aramaic. Hap has enough trouble with pop-up books.

So, in retrospect, it was probably wrong to then swing into the Nativity accounts of both Luke and Matthew. By the end of my talk, the dog was on suicide watch.

So, this year, I'm skipping the lectures and just getting Happy a nice gift. But what? In the past he's loved a rawhide chew stick and a sweater. I can tell, because he ate them both. So, I did a little investigating and came up with some new and different gifts for the woolly little savior in everybody's lives.

In The 'Hood: Does your dog's head get cold in the winter? If that question looks familiar, it's because it was first posed in Soren Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling." Still, if the answer is 'yes,' a company called Voyagers K9 Apparel makes hoods for virtually every breed. Except the Mastiff, who looks and acts like a hood, no matter what he's got on. These head coverings are warm, thoughtful gifts. But if you see a bunch of dogs together, all wearing them, they can look pretty scary. And if they break into "Straight Outta Compton"? Get out of there, fast!

Fill 'Er Up: A company called Bongo International makes something called the Lime Squeeze Plush Toy, that looks just like a big wedge of lime. Before you give this to your dog, though, make sure there's no alcoholism in his family. You don't want to come home and find he's using this lime to make the world's biggest Vodka Collins. From there, your pup might develop a real problem. And good luck trying to explain the 12 Steps. As you might imagine, dogs take this way too literally. And they just keep walking.

His Master's Voice: Maybe the nuttiest toy I've seen this season is the "Talk-to-Me Treat Ball Dog Toy Record And Play Your Message." A cool gift. And coincidentally, also the name of a book by Kierkegaard. You can record your voice into this ball and it will actually play back for your dog. Try to put something meaningful on the tape, though. Don't just record, "Chaka Khan let me rock you, let me rock you Chaka Khan." Or, your dog's worst suspicions about your I.Q. will be confirmed. And believe me, once they start smirking, they never stop.

A Muffin Basket: There's a company called Boston Baked Bonz, that makes all sorts of organic, holistic treats for dogs. And, I think, Nehru jackets and love beads. If your pooch has been really good, why not get him some of their Wild Blueberry Muffins? These delicious-looking treats are made with organic soy milk, cinnamon and wild blueberries. They're a bit pricey, but your pup, like mine, is worth it. Of course, the irony is, you'll probably need to economize afterwards. And you might be eating dog food come January. If that's the case, I'd go with Beneful. Which are the closest things imaginable to a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. How do I know? Well, as with most Americans? It's been a pretty rough year.

Locally, and on a more serious note, at 547 Valley Road has a lot of great pet accessories—and it's also across the street from which has all sorts of pet items including homemade dog treats.

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