It goes without saying that a spoiled pit bull gets extra spoiled this time of year, but when it comes to gift ideas for Jasmine Blue, she and I have very different tastes. I favor sparkly collars and snazzy sweaters to keep my pittie in pink. Jasmine needs all the help she can get in the girly department – I often call her “my unfeminine flower” because, well, she’s not the most petite pooch on the block and grace is not her forte.
Jazzy favors things she can eat, chew and destroy; preferably smelly things that come from offal or other strange parts of a beast.
This holiday season, I decided to share a few of our favorite things; actually, two lists – one for me and one for Jazz – and the stores and Web sites where you can find them.
Susan’s holiday shopping list for Jasmine Blue
Custom-designed collars from Collar Mania: Local girl Lisa does incredible, creative collars in every color of leather and fabric imaginable for cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes. Select your material, width, color, hardware, and stitching; then choose from a wide array of metal conchos, studs, rivets, leather flowers, and crystals, and tell Lisa how you’d like them arranged. Or, choose the elements you like and have Lisa design the look for you. That’s what I did when I ordered Jasmine’s pink leather collar with “broken heart” conchos, pink rhinestones and nickel rivets (see photo). It’s one of the most beautiful, well-made collars Jazzy’s ever worn (and she’s worn a lot of collars). Heavy duty but feminine, she can wear it to the dog park or to our lunch meeting at Rose’s Café – and the $57 price tag is unbeatable. (Prices vary depending on size and design.) You can also choose from ready-made collars. Lisa donates part of the proceeds from Collar Mania to animal rescue groups, so when you buy a collar for your pet, you are also giving a gift to homeless pets in need. www.collarmania.com
“I Dream of Pinkie” leash from Ella’s Lead: Just around the cyber corner from Collar Mania, Ben and Rebecca Smith are creating high-quality, durable, custom dog leashes and leads in a variety of colors and sizes. Most of the rope options have a weight limit of around 7,000 pounds, so Jazzy’s 60 pounds of muscle is no sweat. It’s tough to find a leash that is durable but still attractive, so I was thrilled to find the “I Dream of Pinkie” double-braided rope leash. It comes with heavy-duty hardware (zinc-plated steel rope clamps with a chrome-plated brass bolt snap), and is built to last a lifetime without sacrificing that oh-so-important fashion statement. $25, www.ellaslead.com
Isabella Cane collar from Bow Wow Meow: When the nice folks at Macy’s asked if Jasmine would like to grace the in-store posters and ads for their holiday costume contest, I knew she had to have the right collar. There’s no shortage of cool collars at Polk Street’s Bow Wow Meow, but I naturally gravitated to the elegant Isabella Cane collection. I picked up a soft pink leather number with clear and pink Swarovski crystals (see photo), which Jazzy wore for her recent Macy’s photo shoot. She will also be on hand … er, on paw … to collect the ballots at the event, so come meet Ms. Blue between noon and 4 p.m., Dec. 8, on Macy’s level 1. She’ll be dressed in another one of her gifts from mom – a Mrs. Claus suit! (Visit “store events” on macys.com or call 415-393-3724 for details.) Isabella Cane collar, $109, Bow Wow Meow, 2150 Polk St. (at Broadway), 415-440-2845, www.bowwowmeow.net.
Dog Lovers Wine Club: OK, this one’s more for me, but it’s a great gift idea for the dog lovers in your life. Club members receive premium California wine delivered to their doorstep monthly, quarterly or every other month. Each bottle label features a custom illustration created just for the Dog Lovers Wine Club along with the dog’s story on the back, and part of the proceeds benefit rescue groups and shelters around the country. Right now, they’re offering a special – just $2 for the first shipment. Memberships are $48 and $72, depending on frequency. They wanted to start the year off with a beautiful pit bull terrier, so Jasmine Blue will be featured on January’s label! Visit www.dogloverswineclub.com for more information.
BioBag Dog Waste Bags from Cole Hardware: OK, this one is more for me, too – and the earth – but I love using these 100 percent biodegradable and compostable bags to pick up Jazzy’s business. Regular dog waste bags stay around forever; using a bag that is as biodegradable as its contents makes good sense for the planet and everyone on it. A 50-bag box is around $6. Cole Hardware, 2254 Polk St. (at Green), 415-777-4400, www.colehardware.com
Jasmine Blue’s holiday shopping list for Jasmine Blue
Steak treats from Omaha Steaks: Trying to get Jazzy to take her “beef flavored” vitamin in the morning used to be a struggle, but now she unhappily swallows it whole because she knows what comes next – a steak treat from Omaha Steaks. Cut from genuine round steak, dried and sprinkled with all natural preservatives, it looks better than any beef jerky I’ve ever had (truth be told, I took a nibble and it tastes like barbecued steak without the salt). She loves these things. On sale for $3.99 for a 3 oz. bag at www.omahasteaks.com.
Merrick “Wingaling” and “Smothered Comfort” entrées: The first time I popped open a can of Smothered Comfort and poured it into Jazzy’s bowl, she looked at me as if she’d gotten away with something. “Isn’t this people food?” Merrick slow-cooks whole chicken thighs and wings until the meat is tender and the bones are mushy and safe for your dog to eat (I still chop it up and mix it up with the rest of the stew). The chicken parts are mixed with premium ingredients like brown rice, carrots, peas, barley, sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries, and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. $1.75-$2.00 for a 13.2 oz. can at many pet supply stores.
Solid Gold green cow tripe: Tripe is the stomach lining of the cow’s “fourth” stomach, or abomassum. This is where the actual digestion occurs. Green tripe contains the partially digested plant matter the cow ate, as well as the naturally occurring gastric juices and digestive enzymes. It smells worse than any tripe my grandfather ever made, but Jazzy loves it and it works well with her sensitive pit bull tummy. $1.80-$2.00 for a 13.2 oz. can at many pet supply stores.
Kong “Wubba”: It looks like an octopus with two heads and four legs and it’s basically a couple of tennis balls wrapped in fleece, but Jasmine can’t get enough of it. When someone comes to the door, her pink fleece Wubba is the first toy she grabs to bring as a “gift” (when they try to take the gift, however, she changes her mind and keeps it to tease the next visitor). They also make a water version that floats – it’s perfect for tossing and sturdy enough for a game of tug-o-war. $8-$13, depending on size, at many pet supply stores.
Rogz Jaw-Gym “Flying BoneHead”: We found this indestructible big, blue rubber bone on a rope at Jeffrey’s in North Beach. When you have a pit bull, finding toys that last more than a few hours is a challenge, but the BoneHead passed the test – you can throw it, bounce it, or play tug-o-war. When you’re at Jeffrey’s, you can also check out their organic blend of raw food for dogs and cats – they were ahead of their time on this trend and the friendly staff can answer all your questions (we’re going to try converting Jazzy after the first of the year, and I’ll be chronicling it in this column). $12 for the large size at Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Food Company, 1841 Powell St. (at Filbert), 415-402-0342, www.jeffreysnaturalpetfood.com.
Due to Jazzy’s growing fan club and numerous love notes from charming single male dogs around the Northside, the staff decided it was time she got her own e-mail address. You can write to her at [email protected].