Hide a Squirrel by Kyjan
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 leather 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 elevated pet bowls with an Eames aesthetic from Modern Mews.
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 dog lawn stakes. In the toy department, we’re partial to the Kyjen brand specializing in products that keep dogs active and engaged. Especially intriguing is their collection of traditional and non-traditional treat-hiding puzzles, some with spinners, sliders and hidden chambers requiring multiple steps to solve.
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.