One-of-a-kind gifts carry a different connotation than mass-produced goods. Even if you can’t personally meet the crafter, you can usually feel the love. That’s certainly the case with Paco Collars, the Berkeley-based crafter of one-of-a-kind, bling-enhanced collars, leashes and tags that make an undeniable fashion statement. Completely different in style are the colorful and distinctive leather collars made by Ruff Haus and available from the online shop at Etsy.com, a buy-direct site for independent sellers. Etsy is in fact overflowing with gifts for dogs and dog-lovers: Search “dog and handmade,” and you’ll access about 250,000 handmade gifts for pooches and their people. Our favorite finds include a selection of pet beds creatively crafted to fit inside recycled vintage soda crates.
Another supplier of handmade, pet-themed gifts is UncommonGoods, committed to creative merchandise made by individual artists and small manufacturers. Type “pet and handmade” into the search field to reveal artisan creations ranging from dog and cat necklaces made in Oakland to whimsical pet wind chimes and old-fashioned “Pup-Pie” (we’ll leave it to you to unravel that one). At Creative Pet Gifts, you can assemble a doggie gift basket filled with handcrafted treats and toys, while at Whirley Dog, you’ll find oh-so-cute, small-dog dress-up clothes made from designer fabrics.
Of course, nothing says “hand-made” more clearly than something you make yourself. Frugal Living and Raise A Green Dog are just two of many sources for food and treat recipes and directions for making your own dog toys, clothing, blankets and beds. Our favorite DIY find: a pouch for holding (empty) pick-up bags that that slides onto your dog’s collar. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, this is one gift that would be appreciated by every dog-lover on your list.