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Staff Picks: Gifts that give for animal lovers

There are so many ways to help animals this holiday season, and many can provide unique gifts for animal lovers at the same time. Here are a few of our favorites:

Dog Lovers Wine Club
The ultimate gift for wine and dog lovers, these wines are wonderfully drinkable and feature custom paintings of inspirational pooches – and the proceeds benefit shelters and rescue groups across the country. Our very own Jasmine Blue is featured on Chalk Hill’s 2005 Cabernet Franc! You can also order custom labels with your pets or the pets of your gift recipients. Currently, the club is featuring a line near and dear to my heart, the Vicktory Dogs Collection – a two-case set celebrating 22 of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s property last year by Best Friends Animal Society (National Geographic’s reality series, Dogtown, takes place at their sanctuary in Utah). If you know someone who loves horses or cats, the company recently launched clubs for them, too. Prices vary.

Kuranda Dog Beds
Help provide shelter dogs with a soft, comfortable bed to lie on through the Donate a Bed Program, which allows people to send beds directly to a dog in their favorite shelter or rescue organization at a special discount. The donation can be sent in your own name, or as a gift in the name of a pet lover or family member and a personalized gift acknowledgment card will be mailed directly to them. Prices vary depending upon the individual shelter’s needs; most start around $50.

“Adopt-a” programs or sponsorships
Any Internet search engine
Just do an Internet search for “adopt a” and you will get thousands of results (over 25 million for Google alone). You can adopt a manatee, a whale, a sheep, a horse, a shelter animal (virtually, in case you can’t adopt one literally), and many other creatures. Adoptions can be made in the name of a loved one and sent directly to them. Photos, videos and information about their virtual pet will be included along with your personal message.

You can also sponsor an animal. For example, for a $25 sponsorship with Best Friends, your loved one will received a personalized e-greeting, a link to a biography of the sponsored animal and a high resolution photograph, as well as a subscription to Best Friends magazine. You will also receive members-only rates for area accommodations should you or your gift recipient like to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Visit to see the animals available for sponsorship, including cats, dogs, horses, farm animals, bunnies, and wildlife. Who wouldn’t want regular updates on a cutie like Elfin, the white-tailed antelope squirrel?

Good Search
In this tough economy, Good Search allows you to help your favorite charity without donating a dime. Simply choose a cause (or add one of your own) and start your Internet search – every time you search, a donation is made to your charity. We signed up BADRAP (Bay Area People Responsible About Pitbulls), and a day later we were searching to support them! The program has over 69,000 nonprofits onboard with 100 more joining daily. The ASPCA has earned $19,000 so far to help in their fight against animal cruelty. Free.

Support shelter/rescue groups
Make a donation to a shelter or a rescue group or buy merchandise that helps support them. Most charities now allow you to donate online via PayPal – how easy is that? Log on to a group like Rocket Dog Rescue ( and click the “donate” button. Most rescue groups also offer really cool merchandise that allow your loved one to promote a cause they care about while the proceeds benefit a favorite rescue group or shelter. For example, on the Rocket Dog site you can buy the cute “animal rights are never wrong” T-shirt by Loyal Army Clothing for just $19.50 – what animal lover wouldn’t want one?

Shelter Dogs by Traer Scott
Available in stores or online
Photographer Traer Scott’s beautiful and haunting portraits of dogs living in American shelters helps raise awareness of the crucial need for more adoptive homes. The 96-page book features 50 dogs, their souls and spirits revealed through Scott’s images. The author includes notes explaining how each dog came to the shelter and what eventually happened to him or her – some found homes, but sadly, many did not. Millions of abandoned dogs are put to death every year; this gorgeous book gives a face to the voiceless and helpless while honoring them, and is an everyday reminder about how important it is to adopt. $19.95.

– S. D. Reynolds

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September 2011 Issue


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