On our fireplace mantel hang six Christmas stockings. Three human and three animal.
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My husband, Ed’s, my daughter Jordan’s and mine on one side. Abby, our cat, Teddy, our lab, and Wednesday, Jordan’s newly adopted kitten, on the other side.
The humans’ stockings are filled with fun bric-a-brac, gift cards, lotto tickets and festive candy.
The pets’ stockings are unfilled.
Teddy loves toys. But the toys need to hold up under his gnashing jaws of steel. The treats must be grain free. A tummy rub would be his favorite gift, but I’m not sure how to fit one in his stocking.
Abby doesn’t like toys. The queen bee doesn’t like catnip, either. Only fish treats are acceptable. On occasion, Abby’s been known to enjoy sitting on torn wrapping paper or in emptied gift boxes. She’s as difficult to buy for as Ed.
Wednesday, the newest member of our family, is head over paws in love with toys. The small black kitten also loves empty toilet paper rolls, curly ribbon and paper clips. Wednesday’s not sure if she should eat treats or play with them.
Do they really need Christmas gifts?
According to petMD.com, 86 percent of their readers say they are buying gifts for their pets this holiday season.
I’m not about to be in the 14-percent group, so the furballs are on my “gifts to buy” list.
But what do I buy when I have one pet that destroys toys, one that hates toys and another who loves empty toilet paper rolls as much as toys?
Websites like planetdog.com and consumerreports.org give helpful suggestions in choosing the perfect gift for a deserving pet. Both address appropriate size of the toys, durability and knowing what a pet likes.
PetSmart tracks pet and human trends to create its holiday toy and food offerings for both dogs and cats, according to Sherry Jane Love, VP of Hardgoods Buying.
In the 2016 holiday season, PetSmart sold more than six million pet toys.
Staff buyers, designers and trend experts work on PetSmart’s seasonal collection. The design process, including product testing, takes about 12 months. Testing is done to ensure each toy satisfies regulatory and safety standards as well as longevity.
I took my newly acquired information and confidently walked into my local pet store. But my eyes quickly glazed over as I strolled the aisles looking at the all the holiday toys.
I envisioned all the photos I could take. Teddy cuddling a stuffed Santa bear. Abby rolling around with a catnip-filled mouse. Wednesday turning her nose up at a toilet paper roll and playing with a store bought toy.
Then I got real.
This Christmas, Teddy will be getting a Kong toy that should out last his chewing for quite some time. For fun, the toy destroyer will also get a snake with four squeakers placed throughout the body. It should last about 20 minutes, tops. Tummy rubs are a given.
There will be emptied gift boxes for Abby to lounge in Christmas day. The toy hater will be getting a bag of tuna treats in her stocking.
Wednesday, the toy lover, has hit the mother lode. Her stocking is filled with fun toys that light up and twirl.
On the very top of her stocking instead of a toilet paper roll, there is a paper towel roll. Go big or go home, is my holiday motto.
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Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.