Happy Pet.
 by Laurie Buckley!

Passion 4 Pooches, Articles by Laurie Buckley

Holiday Pets.

For many of us, pets are an essential part of our lives. Their happiness is important and at no time is that more true than during the holiday season. We purchase gifts and special food for them, and include them in our holiday plans.

Amelia Island is a pet-friendly place with many opportunities to show our love for our 4-legged friends. The holiday season kicks off in Fernandina Beach with the Red Bones Bakery’s 11th Annual Paws Parade, to benefit the Nassau Humane Society, on Saturday, Dec. 3. This is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All breeds, sizes and shapes parade down Centre St in their holiday finest. For more information and to register your pet, visit www.nassauhumanesociety.com.

Featuring fresh baked goodies made with all natural ingredients, Red Bones Bakery, located at 809 S. 8th Street, is at the top of every dog’s holiday list. They also carry a fantastic choice of toys, designer collars and leashes and the latest in canine fashion. Don’t let your dog go naked to the Paws Parade. Red Bones always has holiday attire to decorate your pooch!

Another favorite stop for pet lovers is Harbor Wear, located at 212 Centre St, knows to many as the “Life is Good” store. Canine fanciers can find leashes, collars, water bowls and toys with the “Life is Good” trademark. For humans, Harbor Wear also carries t-shirts and other clothing with “Rocket” the dog. I always have one of these t-shirts, long sleeve or short on my Christmas list.

While continuing my holiday tour through downtown Fernandina, I am aware that unfortunately, our pets don’t live forever. Every holiday season with them is a blessing. My dog Mae, at the ripe old age of 15, suggested that a portrait of her likeness would be an appropriate tribute to her longevity. So my next stop is the Blue Door Artists Gallery, at 205 ½ Centre St. Suzanne Batchelor is the creator of Mad Dog Art. Suzanne is amazingly talented and can render a photo of your petinto a digital image on canvas. She also paints original oil paintings. Her unique use of color and light creates images that express your pet’s true personality. And despite the name, Suzanne also works with cats. To see Suzanne’s work, you can visit Blue Door Artists or visit her website, www.ameliaislandartist.com. Suzanne also displays her work at A Passion 4 Pooches Pet Spa, 1881 S. 14th street, gift certificates are available.

Another holiday stop is Christmas by the River at 110 Centre St. They carry everything you could possibly want for your holidays, including a wide selection of cat and dog ornaments. They’ve inspired me to decorate a dog-themed Christmas tree. I’ll also be adding the Peanuts, a.k.a Snoopy, nativity scene to my decorations. Oh, that’s right! I am supposed to be shopping for others!

So on I go to visit Gigi Grubner at Amelia’s Fine Jewelry, 317 South Centre St, Suite 3. Gigi is a pet lover and always has a bowl of water outside her shop for thirsty pups. Gigi showed me some wonderful jewelry for the pet lovers on your list. Heart U Back jewelry expresses your love for your furry friends with gold and silver pendants and charms proclaiming, “Dog/Cat Lover,” Rescue,” “Unconditional Love,” and “In Memory of.” Best of all, 2-6% of the sales go to the ASPCA.

This brings us to our next stop, the local shelters. All of our local humane organizations including the Nassau Humane Society, STARS, RAIN, Cats Angels and Nassau County Animal Services need your support. Many pets won’t be in a home for the holidays. In these tough economic times, local shelters need help feeding, housing, providing medical care and finding homes for homeless pets. These organizations all have wish lists of their needs. And what better gift to give the pet-lover who has very everything, than a donation to a local shelter, in their name.

Another convenient gift that is always the right size is a gift certificate to the groomer, pet sitter or pet supply store.

Lastly, remember that the holiday season is never the right time to get a new pet. Once the chaos and commotion of the holidays has died down to their usual routine, a furry friend can be brought home to a much greater chance of success.