Albert’s Holiday Gift Guide

Albert the Dog with Gifts

I am here to guide you.

There are far too many gift guides out there already, so why, pray tell, do I feel the need to offer one here? No good reason, I’m afraid, but I can’t resist sharing my dog and/or New York-related choices with you. I can promise you that my People and I get no financial reward from my recommendations, and I have checked out almost all of these products myself. As such, you’ll see that some of these might be better for small dogs like me than for the big guys. Of course, many of these are for the dog-loving humans you know.

Jonathan Adler

For posh humans celebrating the Festival of Lights:

Is there a more elegant way to celebrate Hanukkah than this sleek, dignified member of the hound tribe? No, of course there isn’t.

Jonathan Adler Ceramic Dachshund Menorah, $128. 

The New York Dog by Rachel Hale McKenna

For full-grown humans who love dogs and New York:

The New York Dog by Rachel Hale McKenna is chock-full of charm, wisdom, and beautiful photos. Full review here.

Hardcover, $29.95. Look for it at your local bookstore.

The Pushcart War

For smaller humans who love New York:

There aren’t really any dogs in this book apart from hot dogs. It was first published 50 years ago, and New York was not quite as dog-crazy a city back then. But the Lady says it was one of her favorite books growing up, so she’s making me include it.

Small humans will enjoy its colorful, funny portrait of the city and its characters. If they don’t already live in New York, it may make them want to live here someday. It may also inspire them to become pushcart peddlers and join a union, so I guess don’t give this to little Molly if you want her to grow up to be a hedge fund manager.

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill. 50th Anniversary Edition. Hardcover, $15.95.

balance-board-productFor small, agile dogs and their somewhat fit humans to share:

Periodically, my People attempt to stave off impending decrepitude by contorting themselves into weird postures and hopping about the living room. As much as I’d like them to stay healthy, I usually run into another room so that I don’t have to witness this alarming and grotesque spectacle. A wobble board is perfect, because it enables them to exercise while making a minimal amount of ruckus.

Even better, we can share it. You see, when I took a beginner agility class, I was a whiz at the tunnel and jumps but had a great deal of trouble with the wobble board, which was required practice for the see-saw. Through repeated training and meatball treats, I mastered my fear and eventually was able to hop on the board without batting an eyelash. Conquering the wobble board was a great boost to my confidence.

On rainy or cold days, the wobble board is still an excellent way for me to get some exercise. It takes up little room in a city apartment, and my personal trainer says it’s great for my core and leg strength.

The model we have is no longer available, but this one from GoFit looks very similar to the one used in my agility class. Note that this might be too small for dogs bigger than I am.

Zoomies® Fleece-Berber blanket

Zoomies® Fleece-Berber blanket

For dogs in cold climates:

In winter, it’s important to keep elderly pets or dogs without double coats warm. There are plenty of handsome blankets out there, but when it gets really cold and windy, nothing beats my thick fleece blanket from Zoomies. It’s made of smooth fleece on one side and fuzzy Berber fleece on the other, and it comes in bright hues that complement my coloring. It can also be folded up to make a thick and comfy cushion.

I’ve had mine for two years, and the Lady says that even after repeated washings and pawings from me, it hasn’t faded or pilled (whatever that means). On very cold nights, my People have been known to steal it from me.

Zoomies Fleece Berber Blanket, $55. Made in the USA.

For active, well-behaved dogs and their city-dwelling humans: Albert on a hike

Discover Outdoors runs guided trips from New York and Philadelphia. Sure, your people could rent a car and drive themselves to the nearest state park (and mine have done that plenty of times), but the Hike & Hound trip will give them a chance to mingle with other humans and you with other dogs while being led by a trained guide. I’ve been on it twice and had a delightful time exploring the woods and scrambling up rocks with other dogs. In the winter, they offer a Snowshoe & Hound trip (we haven’t tried that one yet).

For humans who love dogs but don’t have one of their own, there is a Hike & Adoptable Hound trip with shelter dogs when the weather is warmer, or a Hike & Howl that includes a visit to a wolf sanctuary where you can observe our canine ancestors.

Discover Outdoors Gift Card, available in denominations of $50, $100, or $200.

IMG_0040For dogs from humans who like to give homemade gifts:

Sweet potato chews are one of my favorite treats, and the Lady prefers to make them herself, since some store-bought varieties have occasionally had contaminated batches. Make a sheet of these for your favorite dog and put them in an airtight container tied with a pretty ribbon. They’ll last for a week in the refrigerator.

Recipe available here.

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