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Pets included on holiday shopping lists

Posted: December 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Manager Iris Dawson displays Zanies Festive Unstuffy stuffing-free pet toys at Kriser's in Valencia on Tuesday.

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On Christmas Day, Vanessa Brookman’s son Myles won’t be the only one to find a gift underneath the tree. Her dogs Jack and Ginger will also have a few presents to open. Brookman, who lives in Val Verde, wraps toys and treats every year for her pit bulls, which enjoy ripping off the paper and bows. Each dog also has a stocking.

“In our house, pets are without question family,” Brookman said. “They are treated like family and I always include family in the holidays.”

She’s not alone. According to a Petfinder.com poll, 63 percent of dog owners and 58 percent of cat owners surveyed said they give their pets presents at Christmas, while 40 percent of dog owners and 37 percent of cat owners hang Christmas stockings for their pets.

All told, Americans spend about $5 billion on holiday presents for their furry friends.

“Our customers definitely buy gifts for their pets. It’s part of their holiday shopping list,” said Brad Krisers, founder and chief executive officer of Kriser’s For Your Pets All-Natural Life. The Chicago-based premium pet supply chain has several locations in Southern California, including Valencia.

Toys, treats and chews are the most popular gifts, according to Kriser. “Customers also like to buy Christmas and Hanukkah-themed gifts,” he said.

And if you’re going to a holiday party, don’t forget about the dog or cat of the house. “One trend is instead of brining a bottle of wine or flowers for the hostess, I have found that people love it when you bring a gift for their pets,” Kriser said. “It shows that you thought beyond the basics and they really appreciate that.”

Sandie Sigrist Allaway of Valencia not only buys gifts for her dog Olive and cat Spike every year, she also includes Olive’s best friend next door, a dog named Sophie. “She’ll get some cookies and a toy,” Allaway said. “Pets are family and part of whatever celebrations their people do. It makes them happy. It makes me happy.”

What about homeless pets in rescues and shelters? One local animal-loving business is hosting a holiday blanket and towel donation drive to help AngelDogs Foundation Deaf Dog Ranch, a rescue in Acton.

The Poached Pair, an upscale bakery in Newhall, placed collection barrels in the lobby of its yellow Victorian location at 22722 Lyons Ave., though some customers just couldn’t wait to donate.

“One customer has already started collecting blankets at her work,” said Megan Gonzalez, who owns The Poached Pair with her mother, Marcy. “We did this for another rescue last year. It was so successful, and our customers had so much fun with it, we wanted to make it an annual thing.”

Customers have also been known to donate collars, leashes, toys, treats and food. “We’re all pet lovers here and we know the dogs can’t help themselves,” Gonzalez said. It warms everyone’s hearts to know these blankets are keeping rescue dogs warm this winter.”

Kriser’s in Valencia is also collecting donations for AngelDogs Foundation Deaf Dog Ranch. Customers can purchase items in the store from a designated wish list and place donated items in collection box. Kriser’s is located at 24272 Valencia Blvd., Valencia.

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