In Today’s Herald: Pampering Your Pet

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SANTA PAWS | Holiday pet spending on the upswing

Editor Billy Liggett wrote a great story for Friday’s edition

about how pet owners lavish their pets during Christmas…in case you missed it, here it is…

By BILLY LIGGETT
bliggett@sanfordherald.com

SANFORD — Maria Moffa’s four dogs love Christmas.
There may be some out there who’ll argue with her that dogs don’t know Dec. 25 from July 7, but Moffa won’t hear it. Her “babies” — Schatzi, Rocco, Chatham and Hannah — each get their own stockings on Christmas mornings, and in those stockings are toys picked specific to match their personalities.
“Chatham, my border collie, has the most energy, so we have to get him toys that are very durable,” said Moffa. “He’ll chew the heck out of just regular plush toys. Hannah, though, is very passive and sweet … and she loves the little squeaky toys.”
Christmas morning isn’t just stockings either. Her dogs get special biscuits, new collars (each a different color and size) and more.
Sounds over the top to some. In actuality, Christmas mornings like at the Moffa house are getting more and more common.
According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, total spending on pets in 2007 is expected to reach $40 billion. Retailers say much of that is going toward holiday gifts for dogs, cats and other four-legged creatures.
According to the APPMA, about 56 percent of dog owners plan to buy gifts for their pets this year, along with 42 percent of cat owners. Those numbers are both higher than last year.
Moffa, unlike most, has the easiest access to gifts that will pamper her pets year-round. She’s owner of Dapper Dander, a pet boutique located inside the Shops of Steele Street in Downtown Sanford. Open since 2005, Moffa’s store has catered to pet owners who like to spoil their loved ones, and every December, business picks up just a little more (though she says it’s pretty constant all year).
“People love to buy anything that has to do with Christmas — Christmas sweaters, bandanas or collars,” she said. “A big seller this year is a little kit where you can make a paw print into a clay Christmas ornament, and the clay hardens. I sold out of those this year.”
Moffa’s store isn’t the only one seeing a spike in pet gifts this month. Kathy Brady, manager at Fins, Furs and Feathers along South Horner Boulevard near downtown, says people buy a lot of stocking stuffers like squeak toys and treats.
“Somebody spent more than $200 this week in one trip,” she said. “They bought toys, a bed, treats, leashes and even furniture for their dogs.”
Brady said she buys gifts for her dogs, too, though she does it more for the joy she gets out of watching the dogs play. Moffa, on the other hand, said she believes her dogs “know” what’s going on.
“I would say that because my dogs give me unconditional love, and this is my way of giving back to them,” she said. “They love the attention. They even love the collars.”
While dogs dominate by nearly 90 percent, according to Moffa, more and more cat owners are getting in on the gift-buying this year, she said. 
“This year, it’s been unbelievable how many cat items I’ve sold — cat treats, cat bowls … we didn’t sell this much last year,” she said.
One cat owner who gets her felines in the Christmas spirit is Tammy Dyer, an employee of Let’s Pet, located at 1944 S. Horner Blvd. 
“My cats seem to enjoy opening the presents,” she said, but admitted, “but I probably get more out of it.”

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