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The author's dog, Goobie, recites his wish list.
The author's dog, Goobie, recites his wish list.

Creature Comforts

I stand before the racks of merchandise, overwhelmed by the endless possibilities: aisles of enticing edibles followed by rows of delightful diversions and festive finery. But where to begin when holiday shopping for the most discriminating and highly exacting name on my list? No, it's not my husband. It's my dog, Goobie.

It appears I'm not alone. A recent PETsMART survey found that 86 percent of customers plan to buy a holiday gift for their pet. And with so many gift options, it comes as no surprise that pet owners will spend an average of $95 per pet -- almost double that of last year.

One of the season's hot new gift items is the cat SPA, an activity center equipped with "body-stroke groomers, ripple massager and accu-pressure pads," guaranteed to provide Fluffy with "instant gratification" for only $19.99.

The more petite pet may be tempted by Holiday Hamster Chews "in red and green, shaped to look like Christmas trees and stars," priced at $1.99. Or deck your underwater halls with aquarium ornaments like a Yule log, igloo or chimney for $9.99. All of the above goodies are available at PETsMART stores.

Come Christmas morning, Goobie will wake to find his stocking stuffed with treats from Three Dog Bakery at Biltmore Fashion Park. Among his personal favorites are "Pawlines," a chewy cookie topped with an unsweetened vanilla chip, and "Big Scary Kitties," a large crunchy biscuit that pretty much lives up to its name.

Just to be safe, I'd better throw in Pet Kiss, an all-natural blend of parsley seed and sunflower oils. Just two to four drops mixed with pet food is said to leave pet breath "kissing fresh" for hours. The elixir is available at Three Dog Bakery for $8. And that's what I call money well spent.

Regardless of what holiday gift you choose for your pet, don't forget the wrapping paper. The PETsMART survey also found that 60 percent of customers let pets open their own presents.

To find the PETsMART store nearest you, call the "store locater" number at 1877-4PETSMART. Three Dog Bakery is located at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback. Call 602-522-2333.


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