Santa Claws

Throughout history dogs and cats have survived just fine in their standard-issue fur, but some people insist on accessorizing their animal companions, especially during the holidays. For example, at the Humane Society of Broward County's Pet Boutique, strands of pearls adorned with silver charms are selling like hotcakes. They're marketed as "cat necklaces," but because those charms are shaped like fish, they seem more like torture devices. They also cost $15 each.

Sure it's pricey for petwear, but the proceeds benefit the society's shelter, and, according to boutique volunteer Sondra Michels, some people take their pet products seriously. Maybe too seriously. One customer buying a doggy pillow asked: Do you think the dog would be offended by the cat-print fabric? Michels and the customer decided the seven-year-old dog was secure enough in its canineness to handle the feline design.

For pooches that love to hang with their masters by the pool or aboard boats, the shop sells doggy life preservers. A stuffed-animal model sports a neon pink preserver, which goes for $22.99. On the other hand, fashionable hounds that want to avoid frizzed-out fur during a downpour can style in a yellow canine rain poncho for just $18.99.

In the hygiene department, peanut butter-flavored doggy toothpaste is available, though it doesn't sound like much of an improvement over typical dog breath. For those times when a pet just can't brush, the shop has breath drops.

Those who treat animals just like people may as well go all the way when they get a new pet by sending friends "new dog" or "new cat" announcements. And if Mom wears a necklace with a charm for each of her children, she can add sterling silver cat and dog charms ($9 each) in recognition of the rest of her "kids." "We have pink (stones) for a girl, blue for a boy, and the white ones are for the neutered animals," Michels explains.

The shop even offers a line of craft products, for those aspiring artistes. Paint sets and clay kits ($13 each) enable pets to create works of art with their own paws. Who knows, maybe Fluffy will be the next Jackson Pollock.

-- Patti Roth

The Humane Society of Broward County's Pet Boutique is located at 2070 Griffin Rd., Dania. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call 954-989-3977.

 
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