A Fur-Giving Gift Guide

Have you hit a roadblock on your holiday shopping gift list? Maybe you’re stuck on what to give a friend for Christmas. Well, if your friend has a dog, you’re in luck with suggestions from our Fur-giving Gift List. We’d also like to remind you that every one of the following businesses supports animal causes by donating food, money, time, and/or their services to various charities. Now, more than ever, they need our support and continued business.

Our friends at Cartoon Collections have a unique gift idea from their Customizable Cartoon collection, like this classic by Harry Bliss. Black gloss framed and matted 12×12 starting at $150. Click here to view the available prints and to order.

Customizable cartoon prints from Cartoon Collections.


Dog Lovers Tarpon Springs is celebrating with their 25 Days of Christmas sale. From treats to toys; accessories to supplements, they have everything for the discerning dog lover. Free curbside and delivery service available. Call for assistance and suggestions: 727.934.8756.

Stocking stuffer dog treats for your dogs? Find them at Dog Lovers Tarpon.

Dade City’s Dog-Mania & Cats store greeters Cole and Lilly will be happy to help you shop for your favorite fur-friend. The store also has gift items that can be personalized with engraving. Give them a call at 352.467.9622.

Be sure to say hello to Cole and Lilly, Dog-Mania & Cats store greeters.

Emerson’s Studio Store is tucked away in a cool cottage on Anna Maria Island’s Pine Avenue. Just walking through the doors of this place will put a smile on your face. Fun art pieces from aprons to cocktail napkins; t-shirts, hats and notecards; even hand-painted customized furniture. All for the fun at heart.

At Emerson’s Studio Store be prepared to laugh. Emerson will most likely start laughing with you.

A fun place for people-wear is South Tampa’s Imagine That Boutique. Owner Cheri Hudson and her staff will offer expert assistance, service and gift-wrapping. They have a fun selection of tees and tanks just for the dog lover on your list. Be sure to treat yourself to one as well.

The tees and tanks at Imagine That Boutique are oh-so-soft.

One Lucky Dog Boutique & Grooming continues to stock up on some of the most unique items for dogs and dog lovers. Their eye for quality and trendsetting design is exceptional. You have to check out their lines of collars, harnesses and leashes. We always say, a dog cannot have too many collars.

One Lucky Dog Boutique in St. Pete offers a wide array of beautiful collars.

You could give the gift of health for the dog of the dog-lover on your gift list. Take bone broth from Pawsitively Pure Dog Food. Perfectly packaged and shipped right to the recipient’s door, bone broth is one of the most healing foods we can feed our pets. We also love their Pure Paw Balm, by the way. This Florida-based company knows what they’re doing when it comes to the health and well-being of our dogs.

The paw balm is very soothing on human hands and feet as well (we know).

Pet Food Warehouse carries the fun shirt and accessory line, Teddy the Dog Apparel. Hoodies, classic long-sleeve and short-sleeve tees with funny quotes and illustrations. Pet Food Warehouse is also having a 20% off sale on Christmas toys, collars, harnesses and leashes. Shopping options include online, curbside or free delivery. Give them a call at 727.521.6191.

Make somebody’s day with a tee from Teddy, available at Pet Food Warehouse.

Shop Nature’s Food Patch in Clearwater and Dunedin for specials on pet food, treats, supplements, and supplies. Gift certificates are available too. A fun stocking stuffer idea: sign a friend up for a free Patch Perks membership card.

Sign somebody up for a free Patch Perks membership card. Cool stocking stuffer idea.

Another healthy gift-giving idea comes from Nature’s Pet Herbals. If you’re confused by all of the different CBD products for pets on the market, check them out, and even give them a call with your questions at 406.578.HEMP (4367). We’ve successfully used this product for our dogs’ anxiety during short or long car rides.

Nature’s Pet Herbals CBD line of products.

The Doggie Bag Boutique in Lakeland is an all-round fun store for every dog lover. No matter where you live, a trip here should be part of your shopping bucket list. They even have a section of brand new dog-themed children’s books. This store recently helped The New Barker secure a year’s worth of dog food for a gentleman in Polk County struggling, economically, to take care of his three small dogs. His dogs are his life. A special thank you to NutriSource Pet Foods.

What more can we say? We have the best advertising partners in the world.

Have you shopped at The Doggie Bag Boutique in Lakeland?

Dog Star, Be The Light

In this new year, let us all find ways to be the bright spot for someone else.

by Kerry Kriseman, for The New Barker

The tiny 10-week-old black Labrador puppy nuzzled my ear with knife-like baby teeth while her sweet puppy breath erased the scent of my Coco Chanel Mademoiselle perfume. Her mission the day we met Christie was to snuggle and be held, like any baby. Her life’s mission was to lead. It’s what she was born to do.

As I held her like a baby, with her pointy head resting over my left shoulder and her arms folded into my chest, I thought about her destiny. We didn’t name her. In their grief, our friends donated money to name her Christie to honor their 16-year-old niece who died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She had been an elite swimmer, and beloved daughter, sister, and friend. She was a leader among her peers, the kind of friend who responded to texts in the middle of the night when her friends were sad. She was compassionate and kind. 

Our Christie had big shoes to fill. For the next year, we loved her and trained her, hoping she would join the elite corps of Southeastern Guide Dogs that are matched with visually impaired individuals. She was to be ours for just a year before she returned to Southeastern Guide Dogs’ 23-acre campus in Palmetto, Fla., for her next phase of training. 

Christie was the seventh pup our family raised for Southeastern. She made us feel like we were the best raisers. As Mary Poppins said about herself: “She was practically perfect in every way.” Stay off the furniture? Check. Sit politely at the door before entering or exiting? Check. Stay when told? Check. Training Christie was effortless.

Every one of the roughly 60 commands she learned was for one purpose: to be someone’s eyes in a world that had gone dark. 

Sometimes, we are lucky enough to hear from the people who receive our dogs. They are resilience personified in an unkind world that robbed them of their vision. They describe their lives before blindness, how they lost their sight, what led them to get a guide dog. These dogs change lives even before they leave campus with their new forever friend. 

After Christie came home with us, I read about Christie the swimmer and how she impacted others’ lives through her altruism. Our Christie would someday to be the light in someone’s dark world. We were sure of it. 

Everyone says that returning the pup to Southeastern for advanced training is like taking your firstborn to college. What it really feels like is ripping a Band-Aid off the hairiest part of your arm. We wince, cry, and mourn. That was tough, but the news that Christie had torn her ACL and would need surgery, was worse. Her destiny was forever changed. She had to find a new purpose, just like the people whose vision is stolen from them. 

When I learned that Christie would not become a guidebecause of her injury, we jumped at the chance to adopt her. We loved having her as a forever family member, but we knew she needed a mission. While Southeastern designated her an Ambassador, which meant she might be called upon to appear at events to promote the organization’s mission,I wanted to do more with this pup who was still eager to learn and serve. I completed an easy course through Alliance of Therapy Dogs so that Christie could become a certified therapy dog. An application, background screening and interview at a park was all it took for Christie to become certified. 

To heal from her injuries, Christie had to be resilient.  And because of Covid-19, we too have had to be resilient. It has challenged all of us to adapt, adjust, learn, and heal. Itderailed our plans to visit hospitals and nursing homes this year, but it elevated the vital work of our frontline workers. They care for the sickest patients, many of whom suffer alone in hospitals because of the deadly virus. They put themselves first in dangerous situations.They are resilient. Day after day.

Christie and Kerry Kriseman

As a community, we must do what we can to honor these workers. The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg hosts Frontline Workers First Friday each month, in gratitude for the selfless work first responders perform. Christie and I will be at the Museum this Friday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., to greet and thank frontline workers. 

Animals, especially dogs, teach us more about resilience than any self-help book or Google search. Like the people Christie was born to serve, her destiny was changed the moment she took a wrong step while playing with her kennel mates. My dream for her was quashed. But we can always find a job to do, a way to be of service that helps others. 

In this new year, let us all find ways to be the bright spot for someone else, to shine the light when days are dark, and remain resilient in a world that never stops surprising us.

About Kerry: She is a communications professional in the non-profit arts industry. The Florida native lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband, City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, their two children, Jordan and Samuel, their two dogs, Christie and Jake, and their current puppy from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Hannah.