As we draw closer to Christmas, we also get nearer to another, very important time of year, which brings a mixture of joy and dread: Last-minute Christmas shopping. The days dwindle down to a precious few, and we still haven’t completed our shopping list.
Fortunately, a group of Dogster readers have dedicated themselves to helping others in their time of need. They can be found at the Dogster Marketplace. Pet products are their specialty, of course, from wonderful toys to high-quality art. The group was launched in December 2008 along with the Catster Marketplace by Pam Ingram (and her cats, Winnie and Chester), just in time for Christmas that year. Four years later, they’re still going strong.
Here are seven cool merchants who are selling ideal holiday gifts. (Special thanks to Dogster Community Manager Lori Malm for helping compose this list.)
1. Nina Lyman, Nina’s Big Store
Hand-painted original dog and cat pottery. Can you imagine how cool it would be to have a set of dishes with your fur friend’s face smiling up at you for morning tea?
Say hello to Nina’s cat Simon.
2. Barbara Lambert, Flecken’s Flea Market
A fleece blanket with paw prints. Can’t you just imagine how soft these blankets must be? And 50 percent of all sales are donated to the SPCA of Central Florida or other animal welfare organizations, which is way cool.
Now visit Flecken the dog.
3. Nicole McBride, Metropawlitan Art Noseprint Jewelry
As Nicole’s site points out, your pet’s noseprint is one of a kind, like a snowflake or a human fingerprint. I admit I’ve never thought of this, but having visited Nicole’s shop I wish I had thought to preserve Sterling‘s noseprint.
The process is pretty straightforward. Nicole sends you a mold kit and you send the completed mold back to her. Before you know it (sniff sniff) you have an individually handcrafted pendant in either silver or bronze. I smell a unique gift for that special someone here.
4. Donna Lenz, Morgan’s Beds
Morgan’s Beds are for cats and dogs, with many styles available. I’m thinking even Jackie the guinea pig would enjoy the high-quality fleece fabrics and poly-fill stuffing. Although the more I look at them, the more I’d like to see if Donna makes one big enough for this ol’ Watch Dog to curl up in.
As with most of our pet store entrepreneurs, there’s some interesting history as to how Morgan’s Beds got started. Morgan the Pirate Gato is a rare juvenile diabetic kitten, born with bilateral cataracts. He had double cataract surgery at Cornell University and continues to deal with diabetes and other health issues. Morgan’s Beds was created to help offset his medical care.
5. Laura Strickland, The Cat in the Clover
Who can’t resist a pack of puppies? There are several styles, themes, and colors to choose from, but the Dalmatian puppy really popped out at me. Then I saw all the other pups. What’s not to love? And can’t you just feel the softness of the fleece?
I know this is Dogster, but in the spirit of giving (and because so many of you have cats as well as dogs), we thought we’d include a couple of kitty stores. After all, sometimes we get stuck trying to think of the right gift for our feline friends, too. So here are two cat-centric stores where you can scratch around for all sorts of cat-themed specialty items.
6. Nancy Zuninga, Zunigatos
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for cookies, so they won’t be surpised that the kitty cookie-jar caught my eye. But there are lots of other cool things to be found in Nancy’s shop, lovely jewelry being one of the highlights.
Be sure to say hello to Nancy’s kitty, Curly.
7. Jana Belcher, Colorado Cat Nip Toys
Colorado Catnip Toys not only sounds Catster cool, it is Catster cool. Blankets, beds, catnip toys, and all things cat are waiting to fill out your gift list for the felines (and their humans) in your life.
Here’s Jana’s kitty, Mr. Tigger.
There you have it. No excuses now as to where to go for that last-minute Christmas shopping, whether you’re shopping for someone who loves dogs, cats, or both!
Remember that if you become a member, you’re welcome to join both Marketplace groups. And if you happen to be making something cool for dogs or cats, you’re also welcome to join the band of merry entrepreneurs and set up a shop of your own.
Good luck shopping and happy holidays!
Photo: Beagle puppy with shopping basket by Shutterstock