Gifts to Honor Relationships Between People and Pets
The right gift for a devoted pet owner can also open up conversations that help those owners through grief at the loss of a pet or celebrate the joy of an emotional connection with a beloved animal, says designer Elaine Seamans, owner of At-Choo, which offers an entire line of pet products designed to accomplish just those intentions.
Her products express the love she felt for a pet who died almost two decades ago but who is still remembered. “I had the company before my dog passed, but I didn’t really have a focus,” she says. “When she passed, I put everything into the line in honor of her, and that’s when it took off. When you do something that you’re passionate about, people respond.”
Some of the items in her collection are intended to be presented to the pets themselves; there are pet tags engraved with sayings whose emotional content ranges from the deeply poignant to humorous observations of behaviors that distinguish an individual pet from other animals. Other items in the collection are intended for the humans in the relationship, some to celebrate the love of a living pet and some to provide a means of opening a difficult conversation about the loss of a pet. There are, for instance, stationery items for memorial announcements and memorial jewelry. “They’re all quiet ways to let people know that this is important to me,” Seamans says.
Retail prices range from $15 to $220. The pet tags are at the $15 end, with fine jewelry items at the upper end. ”See the line at www.at-choo.com.
Designer Dylan Kendall is a new home accessories designer and cat rescuer who’s using crowdfunding to get her line of footed pet bowls off the ground and into the marketplace. The bowls are stoneware, dishwasher and even microwave safe. “Sometimes kitties with colds like their stew warmed up ever so slightly,” she says. “Why should our furry friends have boring bowls? Show them you love them with chic new food and water bowls that are not only better for them but help all animals in need.”
$1 of each dog bowl pre-sold through Kendall’s Indiegogo campaign will go to Hope For Paws — a remarkable dog rescue doing critical work in South Central Los Angeles, where Kendall has family, and $1 of each cat bowl pre-sold through the Indiegogo campaign will go to Stray Cat Alliance whose work rescuing homeless cats and advocating for a No Kill Los Angeles is vital to raising awareness and making a difference to the lives of cats on the streets, she says. The campaign runs through October 10, and there are a variety of prices at which you can participate.
Pearhead Inc. offers kits with frames to hold a photo and a pawprint for a beloved canine companion. The frame designed to hang on the wall is 11”x 14” while the desktop version has two 8”x10” frames hinged together to hold the picture on one side and a pawprint on the other. The frames retail for $34.95. The company also offers a memory box kit to hold a picture and pawprint on the outside, with a space for mementos inside. Occasionally used as an urn, the box retails for $39.95. The company’s online store is at www.pearhead.com.
Jen Curry, the owner and designer of Kitty Jones, a small studio based in New York City, takes a different approach to producing gifts for pet owners, particularly the owners of cats. For her, it’s all about offering a product that will entertain the family cat while enhancing the look of its owner’s dwelling.
Her handmade cat toys are based on classic items that we already know that cats enjoy, but they’re made from fabrics that Curry hand-prints with nontoxic water-based inks on organic cotton canvas. The catnip mice are filled with high-quality catnip that’s grown under clean conditions in Massachusetts. “Great care is taken to make them current in terms of trends in interior design. You’re bringing something into your house that’s going to contribute to the aesthetic that you enjoy in your house, and your cat is going to enjoy it too,” Curry says. “What we’re doing is contributing to your style as well as entertaining your cat.” Kitty Jones products are being sold at stores across North America and online at www.kittyjones.com, and retail prices range from $8 for a felted wool ball to $120 for a cat tepee.