Sunday, December 21, 2003

Pamper your pet during holidays

By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Don't want your furry friends to be left out in holiday gift-giving? From Santa hats, reindeer antlers, angel wings and snowflake bandanas to a weekend in a luxury suite, there are plenty of opportunities for pet-pampering.

"We have nail polish that is available for the canines, and I suppose for cats too, that is safe for their nails," said Tammy Metzger, store director of the Huber Heights, Ohio, PETsMART.

"For smaller animals, we have Critter Trail extreme homes, which are glow- in-the-dark, so it's fun for children. For the bird enthusiasts we have the bird factory, with rope and bells and toys."

Pet clothing is also a popular gift item, according to Metzger.

"We have the regular sweaters and coats, and we have holiday apparel like the Santa hats for pets and we have a moose antler set," she said. "We have two piece sets - one for the pet and one for the pet parent - kind of like twins."

For those who are leaving town, don't worry - there are options available for your pet too.

One is you can leave your dog or cat at PetSuites and your pet will feel as if you just checked them into a resort, although it is a contemporary boarding facility near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

The spacious, temperature-controlled rooms provide an atmosphere much like their homes, according to Joe Mason, who is a managing partner of PetSuites with his wife, Tracy.

Not only will the staff take your dog out twice a day, feed it and administer all medicine, but you can purchase reasonably priced "playtime activities" for your pet from a menu.

The "playtime activities" include the Charles BARKley, which is a 15-minute game of "fetch," the Frequent Flyer, which is a 15-minute Frisbee toss, the Love Me Tender, which is a 15-minute petting session and several other pet indulgences, according to Mason.

Don't want to bring your pet to a boarding facility? Then check out The Dapper Dog Sitter, a professional dog sitting service.

The sitter service will check on your pet at your house at least twice a day, while you are at the office, away on vacation or just in need of some extra help. In addition to caring for the pet, The Dapper Dog Sitter will provide home services such as bringing in mail and turning on and off lights, to ensure the house has a "lived-in" look.

"You are there to give the dog some attention and make sure it's happy," said The Dapper Dog Sitter owner Marilyn Dapper. "We are also keeping an eye on the owners' house. It's like house sitting, too."



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