Monkey the Saint Bernard Gets His Very Own HollyWOOF A-List Gift Bag

It's good enough for the dogs of A-list celebrities, but does that mean a regular pup like Monkey will like it?


Though Monkey is definitely a celebrity in our neighborhood — he can’t go more than 10 feet without getting stopped, and I’m fairly certain almost every resident has a selfie with him — he’s far from a real celebrity, which is why he was very excited to receive the HollyWOOF A-List Gift Bag. What’s that? Oh, no big deal, just the annual pooch-motif gift bag that marketing company Distinctive Assets hand delivers to 25 high-profile celebrity dog owners. You know, like Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Kristen Bell, and … Daisy Barringer?

Okay, to be fair, the bag Monkey was given didn’t have everything those famous people got, although, golly, we sure would have loved the $5,000 Krystal Klear under-sink water-filtration system. Maybe next year?

Monkey did get a bunch of other fun stuff the celebs received, though, and he was excited to try ’em all out and see how the other half woofs, especially since, even though the HollyWOOF gift bags aren’t available to regular Joes like you and me, anyone can buy the stuff that comes inside of it.

First item out of the bag was the Systerli bandana Monkey wears in the photo above.

Systerli’s dog clothing and accessories are all handmade and limited edition. After all, how embarrassing would it be if your dog showed up to the park wearing the same poncho as Spike, the English Bulldog? I mean, can dogs ever recover from that kind of mortification? It would be worse than when Kelly and Brenda wore the same dress to prom!

Jokes aside, Systerli’s stuff is all super cool. Monkey was given a $35 plaid bandana, which I was excited about because I thought perhaps it could double as a drool rag. Unfortunately, even the large was too small for my giant dog (I used a diaper pin to fasten it around his neck), and since it’s hand-wash only, the bandana is definitely more of a fashion-over-function accessory. So, maybe not great for Monkey, but it would be a fun gift to give a smaller dog. Also: Seriously, how cute is this jacket from the company?

Another item in the bag was Epic Pet Health’s Clean Teeth. Not gonna lie: Getting a spray that’s supposed to reduce tartar and bad breath in this allegedly super-swanky bag was a bit like getting an apple on Halloween, BUT… dental hygiene is of the utmost importance in humans AND dogs, so I was willing to give it a go.

The spray is super easy to use, mostly because you just spray it on your dog’s food or water. That being said, I still couldn’t manage to do it every day. Probably not a huge shock, since as my dentist would loooove to tell you, I struggle with consistent flossing. (What? It’s so boring!)

Truthfully, it’s hard to know if it worked, since I love Monkey’s breath no matter what. Seriously, that moment when he gets really close to my face in the morning and breathes directly into my nose is one of my favorites of the day. But Monkey did just go to the vet, who said his teeth looked great, so I’m gonna say there’s something to this Clean Teeth spray. It’s $19.99 bucks for an ounce, but it lasts a lot longer than you’d think. (Especially if you forget to use it every day!)

Luckily for Monkey, it wasn’t all clothing and dental products.

The good news? I only gave him a few of the treats in that photo before I realized they were meant for humans. I mean, I’m fairly intelligent, and if I thought Boxtera was a monthly snack subscription for dogs, I’m pretty sure Monkey isn’t the only pup who got a taste of this people food. Oops!

By far the best part of the gift bag (for Monkey anyway; I personally love a good snack) was the Tuggo Dog Toy.

Tuggo’s a hard, hollow plastic ball with a rope going through the middle so that it can be pulled from either side. The trick, however, is filling it with water, so that it adds more resistance and makes a sloshing sound that Monkey seems to looooove. One of the biggest issues Monkey and I have is that he gets bored when I leave him alone, and the Tuggo actually seems to entertain him when he’s by himself because he can play with it alone. And unlike stuffies and toys that squeak, this actually requires him to be active and engaged.

The downside is that it’s not necessarily an ideal apartment toy, but for around $30, it’s a good investment, since, again, it keeps your dog entertained. It would be an especially amazing buy for people with more than one dog, since two dogs can tug on it at once. (Check out adorable videos of dogs doing just that.)

Bottom line

Ultimately, though Monkey enjoyed living like an A-Lister for a few days, being a neighborhood celebrity is plenty for him. After all, money can’t buy the things he loves most: lots of attention, hugs, and, of course, belly scratches.

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About the Author: Daisy Barringer grew up in San Francisco and didn’t let the fact that she’s a city girl keep her from getting her dream dog: a Saint Bernard. She and Monkey love to romp in the snow in Tahoe, visit dog-friendly bars, watch 49ers football, and drool. Yup, both of ’em.

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