Christmas gifts for the dog

Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:36 AM

For many animal lovers, pets are viewed as part of the family. Devoted owners may even shower them with presents at Christmas. Here are some unusual gift ideas for that special family pooch. They are sure to raise a tail wag:

Lord of the Manor: Honestly, sometimes it’s good to be sent to the dog house. Beyond the Crate sells mini canine mansions that will set you back hundreds – in some cases thousands – but your dog really will feel like a Prince. They are the ultimate in domestic doggie decadence. You may even want to ask the company to construct one with a mother-in-law plan, and move in yourself. For the pampered pooch, life can be “ruff!”  (

Nail Pawlish: Lying around all day in his new digs, you can also have a designer dog with nail polish for pooches. With bold, bright colors like Fire Hydrant Red and Doghouse Blues, it’s the perfect pet-i-cure for around $10 a bottle. Available from Upscale Pup. (

PupLight: Don’t think your dog is bright enough? When he emerges from his canine castle for an evening walk, your dog can be a shining example in the neighborhood with PupLight. This LED light attaches to his collar, and the powerful beam illuminates your pooch’s path for some 200 feet. Now each day – and night too – you really will see Spot run for around $20. Available from PupLight. (

Zoo Doo: Having spent a fortune on your doggie’s mansion, you will want to plant a nice garden outside for Fido to explore. Since there’s nothing like fresh fertilizer to make those dogwood’s bloom, how about a canine Christmas stocking ripe with manure? But this is no ordinary waste. Some zoos are now recycling and selling their pachyderm poop. At the Seattle zoo, the cost is about $13 for a 2 gallon bucket. The manure is actually a blend of waste from several herbivores, including elephants and hippos, and has proven very popular. Hey, we’re talking big business here! Available from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle – sorry, no delivery, just carry outs.   (

Pachyderm Painting:  An elephant can also contribute to the inside of that canine mansion with  an elephant painting. No, it’s not a painting of an elephant; it’s a painting by an elephant! “Lucky” the elephant is mammothly talented. From her zoo studio in Colorado Springs, Lucky can clasp a brush in her trunk and create some wild abstract art on canvass. You will receive a jumbo 18 x 24 inch original painting for a few hundred dollars, which is peanuts for art from this great African master. Available from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. (

Mummified Pets: When the time comes for your beloved pet to move to that dog house in the sky, a Salt Lake City company has the perfect solution if you don’t want to be parted: pet mummification. But these guys are not your typical raccoon stuffing, backyard Redneck taxidermists. Using a secret mummification technique that even King Tut would be proud of, pets will be wrapped in fine linens bathed with fragrant herbs, oils, and resins, and placed within a bronze mummiform. Sure, the process is a little time consuming (several months) and a little pricy ($6,000 or more); but Rover will be eternally grateful. Available from Summum. (

Diamond in the Ruff: If storing your mummified pet on the bedroom dresser is a little too ghoulish for you, how about converting the cremated remains of Fido into a diamond? A Chicago company came up with the sparkling concept to convert pet ashes into pure carbon which is then subjected to 3000 degree heat and 1 million psi pressure to form a diamond. It can then be cut and mounted into a ring or pendent. The process, in fact, has been used for half a century to produce synthetic diamonds, but trust a group of young entrepreneurs to come up with this gem of an idea. You will need some patience, however, because the transformation takes nine months. And the cost for this service? A 1.5 carat stone will set you back a cool $25,000. The process can also be performed on people, which I suppose is better than the Norman Bates method of storing mama. Available from Life Gem. (


Thomas' features and columns have appeared in more than 200 magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor. He can be reached at