Presents for petsWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry Mrs. Claus, but Mrs. Doolittle takes the reins when it comes to Christmas gifts for pets.
Organic cat nip; a fancy dog collar; a bouncy toy, maybe even a cozy sweater suggests Laurie Reece, owner of Mrs. Doolittle’s Pet Boutique.
The boutique opened one year ago within the Anthony Wayne Animal Hospital, 900 Conant St. Laurie’s husband, Steve Reece, purchased the practice in 2006, and the space occupied by Mrs. Doolittle’s was formerly a food room, which Laurie thought was a waste of space.
“Pet owners really do put their pets on the Christmas list,” Laurie said. “Last year, we had a few more higher-ticket prices, and the minute I put them out, they were gone.”
Mrs. Doolittle’s Pet Boutique is a unique, yet practical store. Anyone can visit the boutique, but it is especially nice for pet owners who are taking their dog or cat in for a visit, she said. Gifts range from $1.99 to $20, including clothing.
The store’s name was inspired by a nickname Laurie’s friends gave her because of the famous fictional doctor who could speak to animals. Not only is she married to a vet, but “some friends of ours have a dog that follows me around,” Laurie said.
In addition to “Good Cat” “Good Dog” bowls to match the kitchen, the boutique offers veterinarian-approved toys and gifts. She also offers a variety of warm clothes for pets.
“For Christmas, some people do not want to get an outfit, but we have handkerchiefs to put around their necks,” she said.
Also, just at Christmastime, Laurie carries Aunt Fergie’s homemade dog treats.
“People who are not even patients are coming in,” Laurie said. “They find us in the phonebook, or what I found is that we are drawing people from UT and BGSU. The college kids are looking us up online.”
Laurie opened the boutique because she and her husband have four dogs. They didn’t like what bigger chain stores offered as far as pet gifts.
“We went to a show in Chicago where there were 1,500 vendors and made some purchases … I have a background in advertising, but I am also a paralegal. I just love animals and we wanted to get some unique things … but not super expensive.”
Since opening, Laurie has expanded the cat offerings because of demand. Cat nip comes in cute packaging like cigars, fish and fruit. One of the fun gifts for cats, and quite popular this year, is the Santa Paws Hat Cat Toy for $7.99.
For those whose love doesn’t end with furry pets, Dave’s Tropical Fish, 4602 Lewis Ave., has a variety of products suitable every type of pet.
“We carry dog beds, any type of decorations for lizards or snakes like a little cactus for their tanks,” said Debbie Shockey, store employee for 14 years.
Shockey said Dave’s doesn’t emphasize holiday-themed gifts as much as everyday items for pets like food and litter. And giving Christmas gifts to pet isn’t as unusual as it might seem. She seems it all the time.
“I do put my pets on my Christmas list,” she said.
Mrs. Doolittle’s Pet Boutique
Anthony Wayne Animal Hospital
900 Conant St., Maumee
Dave’s Tropical Fish
4602 Lewis Ave., Toledo