It’s hard to shop for someone who won’t tell you what they want. No matter how many times you ask, you just can’t get a straight answer. It’s enough to make a Grinch out of anyone.
If that silent someone is your favorite four-legged friend, however, help is waiting. Stop in to your local pet shop, and you’ll find more than a huge selection of toys and treats. You’ll also get personalized help from someone who cares about your pet as much as you do.
Sandy Calvin, co-owner of Farfel’s Farm in downtown Boulder, makes sure everyone who comes into her store finds a special gift for their special friend.
“The difference between a box store and a small store is that we talk to everyone who comes into the store, and we figure out what their needs are,” she says. “Because who wants to waste their money and buy something that’s wrong for their pet?” Founded in 2005 on the belief that pets can lead a sustainable lifestyle too, Farfel’s stocks a wide array of recycled products — like pet beds made from recycled plastic bottles — and pet food made from humanely raised livestock.
For a truly special gift, Calvin and her partner Jeff Richey, both professional photographers, offer pet portraits at just about any location. Any location except a studio, that is.
“We got rid of the studio and we’re doing everything outside,” she says. “[Outdoor] winter portraits are among the most beautiful.”
And don’t worry about getting your feisty puppy to sit still. Between the two of them, Calvin and Richey have decades of experience getting animals to cooperate for the camera.
“We have photographed everything from your typical dog-and-cat combo to a graduation photo of a chinchilla in a matching tuxedo with the woman who was graduating,” Calvin says.
And while pet products make great gifts, Calvin stresses that pets do not.
“It’s sort of scary around the holidays because people just don’t listen to the fact that you should never get a person a pet as a gift, because very often it’s not a gift. They don’t want it.”
If you really want to give someone the gift of pet ownership, Calvin suggests a gift certificate to the humane society. Not only can the recipient experience the joy of choosing their own pet, but if he or she isn’t ready to take in a new animal, the money can be given back to the shelter as a donation.
But what do you get for that lucky dog that has everything? How about some peace of mind? According to Calvin, one of the most exciting products she’s seen this year is the Anxiety Wrap. A lightweight, modified blanket, the wrap uses a set of straps and buckles to gently “hug” Fido when he’s upset or anxious. Calvin says the constant pressure releases endorphins that calm the dog, which is perfect for dogs that suffer from fear of thunderstorms or general anxiety, like shop mascot Farfel, a bearded collie.
Calvin decided to give the wrap a try because Farfel’s anxiety was so severe he regularly injured himself when he became upset.
“I put it on. Within five minutes he laid down and went to sleep. It is a profound product,” Calvin says. “Farfel has a life now. All we have to do is put it on and he suffers from nothing.”
The wraps come in different sizes, and for a perfect fit, you can bring your frightened pooch in for a custom sizing.
Giving a little health and happiness for the holidays — what a great idea.
For more gift ideas, check out these local pet stores: Only Natural Pet Store (2100 28th St., Boulder) offers high-quality natural dog and cat products consistent with a holistic approach to pet health.
Whole Pets Natural Pet Food & Supplies (2835 Pearl St., Boulder) has been serving pets and their people in and around Boulder for seven years and offers a large variety of preservative-free foods, staff-tested toys and treats and more.
Four Paws & Co. (1225 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont) has specialized in premium natural foods and treats, including frozen diets and raw bones, since 2003. Four Paws also carries supplements, grooming supplies, leashes and collars, toys, beds and cat condos.
And if you’re too busy to run to the store for pet food during the holidays, give Left Paw Pantry in Niwot a call at 303-652-6060. They specialize in delivering healthy pet food, treats and supplements.