Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Gift Guide #1: Gifts That Give Back

So much about the holiday season is about spending money, going to the mall, and running around for last-minute gifts... It often makes me feel kind of...I don't know, selfish?  That's probably not the right word to use.  But as Cindy Lou Who would say, "Isn't this all a bit much?" 

Instead of getting your dad a tie he'll toss in the back of his closet, or that new purse for your sister...consider purchasing a gift that gives back instead.  That way, even if your friend's dog turns his nose up at the treats you gave him, you will rest easy knowing that your purchase will have gone toward helping an animal in need.  Here's a few of my picks to get you started!

For your dog:

Cloud Star All Natural Pet Products is a great example of businesses giving back.  With each purchase, they donate to organizations not only helping animals, but those benefiting women, children, and the environment.  In addition to dog treats, Cloud Star offers cat treats, grooming products, and some great accessories for humans.  They pride themselves on using only natural ingredients that are super safe and healthy for your pets.

Haven't heard of BarkBox?  What planet are you living on?!  When you and your dog sign up for BarkBox, you receive a box chock full of goodies every month - toys, treats, hygiene products, and even new gadgets could be inside!  You're guaranteed at least 4 quality items in your box per month.  Better yet, BarkBox donates 10% of their sales to animals in need, in the form of everything from rescues and sanctuaries to spay/neuter programs and training.  Sign up for BarkBox, and your dog will learn to love the mailman instead of fearing (or loathing!) him :)

For your cat:

Fun and functional, this DJ Cat Scratching Pad will amuse you and your kitty.  Plus, the proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.  Perfect for a cat lover who also loves music...Emily at Kitty Cat Chronicles, whaddaya think?! ;)

For you:

I am obsessed with Marnie the Dog.  Absolutely obsessed.  She was rescued at 12 years old, and she is now universally adored for her lopsided gait and sweet face.  So when I posted on her Facebook asking about a calendar, I was overjoyed to see that there was one in the works!  Of course I ordered it immediately, and it was icing on the cake to see that a portion of the proceeds is donated to senior animal rescue.  (I may have also ordered a t-shirt.  With Marnie's face on it.  For the cause, people!)  Click the link above to order yours!

I saw this amazingly quirky and perfect tee on the Cyber Monday sale on Stylish Canine, and I had to have it.  The price was right, and the sentiment fits me to a...well, to a tee.  (Sorry.  Terrible pun.)  It shipped quickly and is super soft and comfy.  (Psst:  If you like your tee shirts oversized, order the men's size!  I am a size 8/10 and ordered a women's XL, and it is a bit snug.  I forgot to read the fine print.)  Though I would have ordered it anyway, I was delighted to see that $5 of the proceeds are donated to The Perfect Dog Rescue in California!

Rescue Me is a fairly new magazine, and it focuses on all things animal rescue!  I have purchased every issue so far, and it hasn't disappointed me yet.  Full of wonderful and useful information about spay/neuter programs, different rescues across the country, even "voluntourism", this magazine is worth the subscription price of $29.95...especially when you consider that 50% of the cost is given back to a rescue of your choice!

I love great photography, especially when the subject is a dog!  Traer Scott's "Shelter Dogs" is a perfect addition to your library, featuring gorgeous dogs in need of homes.  The portraits are sometimes heart-wrenching, other times funny - this photographer is always able to capture the dogs' emotions and personalities.  Be warned, the portraits may make you cry (each dog's story is given at the end, and some of the dogs do not end up finding homes...), especially if you're a sap like me, but it's worth it for such a beautiful book.  And $.50 of each copy sold goes straight to the ASPCA.

Pup Art is an online art show that is dedicated to raising money for shelter dogs, and I haven't stopped browsing the site since I stumbled upon it last week!  All of the prints for sale were inspired by adoptable dogs and painted by a volunteering artist, and 50% or more from each print sold will go to whichever rescue the featured dog came from.  There are all sorts of breeds and pictures, but my personal favorite is this one, titled "Uncle Larry" - who wouldn't want to take this face home?!

Organizations for everyone:

Hooray for the Underdog is a wonderful business that gives back in many ways:  photographing adoptable shelter animals, donating art work to fundraisers, and designing bus billboard campaigns are just a few of the ways they have helped pets in need.  Their shop offers one-of-a-kind greeting cards and stationery, along with treats and other fun dog accessories.

Another great resource for gifts that give back is the organization itself - many rescues/shelters will have items for sale on their website, and, of course, all proceeds go into helping the animals.  My personal favorites are National Mill Dog Rescue, Best Friends, and Underdog Rescue MN.

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for posting these items and businesses.  I just love these products and thought my readers might too! :)

Happy shopping! <3


  1. That cat scratching pad would be fun for my cats!

  2. I love the idea of gifts that give back. Great list!

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

  3. Gifts that give back are the best gifts to give! Thanks for sharing all these great holiday gift ideas.

    1. I agree! I will admit I definitely need to think more about giving back this Christmas. Thanks for reading! <3

  4. Great gift list! Love the cat scratching post.

  5. I hadn't heard of a few of these so that's an excuse for more shopping, right? ;) I almost bought that same Stylish Canine tee shirt!

    1. Oh, absolutely...and you don't need an excuse when you buy something that benefits animals, right?! :D

  6. The cat scratcher is super funny! I am glad to see you featured Stylish Canine's shirt. Great company. Photos are wonderful too.

  7. All really wonderful ideas! Sharing.

  8. These are all great gift ideas. I laughed out loud at that DJ booth scratching pad! HA! Nice compilation. Sharing!

    1. I am pretty sure Caster NEEDS that scratching pad! LOL would make for some hilarious photo opportunities ;) Thanks for reading! <3

  9. Replies
    1. Thank you so much...glad you enjoyed! Two more gift guides yet to come! :)