Saturday, December 1, 2012

Garth's Gift Guide!!!

Welcome to my first EVER edition of 

Garth's Gift Guide!

Since it's the time of year when many of us are thinking of Christmas shopping, I thought I would provide you with some gift ideas. 

I like to support small businesses and local businesses, and I love to get cool stuff.  Here are a few of my favorite products (which would make GREAT gifts for the pups in your life), in no particular order.

1. Collars from Coconut Retriever
Coconut Retriever collars are very colorful, and you can pick from a number of different patterns.  The collars look great and they're very well made.  They're hand made in the U.S. and we think the prices are quite reasonable ($12 to $20).  The collars are made of webbing covered with cloth, with heavy-duty buckles and D-rings, so they're very strong.  They're also washable, which is a plus for those of us who like to get dirty. 

We bought one Coconut Retriever collar when we were in Key West last year and two this year.  Back in October, we met the woman who makes them, and we always see her brother with his cart on the corner of Duval and Eaton Streets.  Mom thinks it's great when she can meet the person who actually makes the products she buys. 

This is the collar I got last year
It's one of my favorites

This is my new pirate collar

This is my other new collar
The tropical pattern makes us think of Key West

Coconut Retriever also makes very cute doggie clothes in wonderful, colorful patterns.

2. Wag-in-the-Box membership
With a Wag-in-the-Box membership, you receive a box full of dog-related goodies each month.  It gives you a chance to try new products and brands without buying a whole big bag of things.  

We met the Wag-in-the-Box lady at the Fetch-a-Cure Mutt Strutt and were pleased to learn that they were based in Richmond, Virginia, because we love to buy locally.  The Wag-in-the-Box lady was very nice to me and let me try a sample of Bowser Beer.  I liked it so much she gave me another sample, then she gave me two bottles to take home with me.  (I know how to charm the ladies.)  

Mom thought it would be fun for me to try Wag-in-the-Box, so she got me a three-month membership as an early Christmas present.  We received the box a couple weeks ago, and it was FILLED with yummy stuff: Buddy Biscuits grain free treats, Buddy Biscuits dog cookie mix, Whole Life organic sweet potato treats, a Barkworthies curly bullystick, Whole Life cod treats, a Wag More Bark Less oval sticker, and a Snoutstick nose balm for dogs.  We were impressed by not only the variety and amount of goodies in the box, but also the fact that only a couple of the goodies were sample sizes -- the rest appeared to be regular size.  Based on the amount and types of products, we thought it was well worth the monthly membership fee.

There's definitely
something good in here

LOOK at all these goodies

I'm loving the Barkworthies
curly bullystick

Nom nom nom nom

For each box you purchase, Wag-in-the-Box makes a $1 donation to a nonprofit organization of your choice (you have to chose from their list, but it's a big list).  They also made an extra donation to Fetch-a-Cure because we bought our membership at the Mutt Strutt! 

Locally owned, a great product, and support of nonprofits -- this is the type of business we like to support.

3. Treats from Babka Bars
Babka is one of my dog blogging pals who lives in Key West (lucky dog).  Her mom started making these gourmet, all natural, and very yummy treats because she had difficulty finding treats with healthy ingredients for Babka.  Babka Bars have no sugar, salt, butter, oils, flavor powders or fillers and are made with real fruits, nuts, whole grain oats, whole grain flour "and a whole lot of LOVE", per Babka. Babka herself is in charge of quality control, and she taste-tests one cookie from each batch (very lucky dog).

There's even a picture of Babka on the label

We ordered some Babka Bars when we were in Key West, and mom found their customer service (Babka's mom) to be extremely nice and very helpful with suggestions about visiting Key West.  Unfortunately we missed them when we were in Key West this year, but I hope to get together with Babka for a play date on our next visit.  

When the bars came, I found them to be extremely yummy!

I hate it when mom makes me
practice impulse control

Just thinking about Babka Bars
makes me drool

Don't they look nommy?

Babka Bars also supports nonprofit organizations.  A portion of their proceeds from holiday sales will be donated to Paws 2 Care Coalition.  Bravo Babka!

4. Dog tags from Dog Tag Art
We learned about Dog Tag Art when my friend Mayzie did a product review and giveaway.  (You can read Mayzie's review here.)  Dog Tag Art's tag selection was so amazing, we had difficulty deciding, but ended up ordering the Colorful Pirate Skull tag because we liked the colors, and because I am a pirate.  Our order came promptly with no problems at all, and Mom and I LOVE my pirate tag!  I'm hoping to get another tag for Christmas.  

Name & phone number
are on the other side

At Dog Tag Art, you can even make your own custom tags out of your own photographs or graphics!  We think the prices are reasonable and we love that they don't gouge us for shipping costs (shipping is $1.99 for all U.S. orders).

The tags are made of a recycled steel core coated with a polymer and have a very high-quality look and feel.  They're made in the United States.  Dog Tag Art is based in Asheville, North Carolina, which is practically local - if you're using a very broad definition of "local".

Dog Tag Art also has a service called "Virtual Leash" that lets you maintain a unique website for your pet with unlimited emergency contacts that can be instantly notified.  We haven't looked into this service yet, but you can read about it on their website at Virtual Leash.

5. Adventure Walk for a rescue dog from Canine Adventure 
- OR -
a cool Canine Adventure Magnet
Canine Adventure - Sponsor a Rescue Dog
Canine Adventure - Magnets for Mutts
For the dog lover who has everything, why not give them a rescue dog Adventure Walk in their honor -  and make a rescue dog's Christmas!  

Looking for something smaller, more of a stocking stuffer?  For $5 you can get a super-cool-looking Canine Adventure magnet (just like the one on the Garth-mobile), and the proceeds of magnet sales during the month of December go to support the Richmond Animal League's Operation Silent Night.

Cool Canine Adventure magnet,
proudly displayed on the Garth-mobile

Canine Adventure is a Richmond, Virginia dog walking service that takes dogs on Adventure Walks.  (I go on an Adventure Walk with my buddy Tim from Canine Adventure every Wednesday.  We have a GREAT time -- it's so good to get out for a hike mid-week, and Tim is awesome!)  

Canine Adventure does a tremendous amount to support local organizations such as Fetch-a-Cure, Richmond Animal League, Ring Dog Rescue, Odessa Rescue and Rehabilitation, Adrati Rescue, and probably others.  We think the world of Canine Adventure and its founder, my buddy Josh, and we love that they do so much to give back to our community -- in addition to providing a great service!


Neither my staff nor I have been compensated in any way for including products and services in Garth's Gift Guide.  (In fact, these businesses don't even know we're listing them.)  Perhaps in the future, I will sell advertising, and a space in Garth's Gift Guide will be highly prized.  But at this point in my blogging career, I'd simply like to share with my readers information about products/services I like and that I'd like to support.  

As you can probably tell from reading this, to us it's more than just the product.  We're interested in the people behind the product (or service), where it's made, and how it's made.  When a company does good things, we want to reward them with our business and tell our friends about them.  It's that simple.


  1. Great reviews Garth. We love to shop locally too and it's such a bonus when you get to meet the maker of the item. :)

  2. Very cool Garth! You did some pawsome reviews. Detailed and informative...I don't thinks you would have any problems in the future selling spots for your Garth's Gift Guide!


  3. We really want to try wag-in-a-box, and when Mom is a bit less scattered, she will order us a sampler like your mom got. We will tell the Garh Riley sent us! Maybe you will get more beer!

    Muzzer also is gonna see about getting us the occasional Canine Adventure, but we have to wait til she gets back from St. Loulis.

    love your pirate tag

    gussie n teka

  4. This is an excellent guide! I'm pretty interested in the Wag in the box thing, I went to their site and saw they wrote "free shipping within the United States", so would they send it overseas, or is this just for people in USA? Let me know

  5. Those all sound great Garth. So nice of you to share them with everyone. Also, I love the garth mobile's license plate... that rocks!

  6. Hummmm, very interesting Garth, even though we live WAY out here in Oklahoma we are going to vist the site and check out the collar and wag-in-a box. Thanks much for the gift guide.

    Your Pals
    Susie & Bites

  7. We luv this idea! The wag-in-a box sounds great. Us kittehz need one. We lives WAY out here in Oklahoma, too!

  8. Those are some good gift ideas. Cool collars
    Benny& Lily

  9. Great gift ideas for us Garth. Your impulse control is amazing. Have a super Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  10. Hi Garth! Thanks for sharing your list. I will leave it lying around to give mum and dad some hints. xx

  11. Hiya Garth pal! I bet that pirate collar makes you a star with the parrotheads in Key West :) Mom found some interesting things here like the Virtual Leash, and she's ordered the Canine Adventures magnet fur our Jeep & she's thinking about what she could put on a Dog Tag Art tag fur me *snoogles* from yur furriend Gizmo

  12. We LOVE your gift guide Garth! Try saying that 3 times fast.

    We will surely check all of these places out. Your new pirate tag is mighty fine. Mommy said she loves you even more because you're a Parrothead!

    Hey, its five o'clock somewhere.....

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  13. hello garth its dennis the vizsla dog hay that is sum snazzy stuf in yore gift gide verry kolorful kollars and tags!!! i think this yeer for krismas heer we ar all just chipping in to git tucker his colonoscopy ha ha but we wil keep this in mind for fyootcher gifting!!! ok bye

  14. Thanks for all the information! Now I know what to get all my furiends for Christmas.

  15. Nice list Pal !!
    Our favorite is the pirate medal ;-)

    Woos of love.

    Echo & Link

  16. These are great gift ideas, Garth! I need to make sure mom reads this a few times at least :)

  17. Those are pawsome gift ideas Garth. I am wooing about Frosty Paws today. ~Fenris

  18. Those are pawsome gift ideas Garth. I am wooing about Frosty Paws today. ~Fenris

  19. Great list Garth! We like the pirate medal too! It is awesome! Hey, tell your mom that we are having an Angry Birds Dog Toys giveaway and she should enter so you will have a chance to win some cool dog toys!!!!!

  20. Hi Garth!

    Yes, my Mommy and Daddy are parrotheads! And full blown crazy ones I tell ya. But we gotta love them. Well, maybe not so much the singing. Sounds more like fingers on a blackboard if you know what I mean. But because it's Christmas time and Santa is watching, Muffin and I just sit and smile while they belt out a tune or two. Hoomans! Go figure.

    I'm glad to hear that it was nothing serious with your toe. Muffin had the same thing last year. Had a lump removed and was healing nicely. They took the stitches out and 10 minutes after we got home, the dang thing split wide open again and back to the vet's she went. They put a staple in it and we had to wait a few weeks again for it to heal. But she came out just fine and you'd never know she had any surgery at all. So we're glad that you're OK too my furend.

    Hope you have a good weekend.

    Lily Belle

  21. What is this 'impulse control' thing of which you speak? We don't understand... Great gift list! Mom is being cheap this year (SHE says she's trying to save money in preparation for refinancing the house, but WE say she's just being cheap - she just bought a bunch of grooming stuff - how is THAT saving money, huh???) so I doubt we'll get anything from her, but our Granny and Grandpa love us, so we'll be sure to forward this to them!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus