SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

December 11, 2013

Christmas goes to the dogs ... and cats

Specialty shops do brisk business as families add pets to the holiday gift list

(Continued)

For the holidays, there’s not only a wide selection of Christmas gifts for dogs and cats, but a selection of Hanukkah-themed pet gifts, such as plush toys and treats.

“We are very fortunate to live in a town with so many wonderful dogs,” said Williams. “There are probably 3,500 registered dogs in Marblehead alone.”

Williams knows the local pet landscape well. She has operated the Creature Comforts dog-walking, pet-sitting service for 20 years. She has had another pet specialty store on Atlantic Avenue for 12 years, which is the headquarters of the service end of Creature Comforts.

Come January, the store on Pleasant Street, which is 4 years old, the Atlantic Avenue store and the service end of Creature Comforts will merge into one location at the former location of Irresistibles on Atlantic Avenue, Williams said. The doggie daycare business will remain on Canal Street in Salem.

“I think most pet owners I speak to do purchase something for their pets,” said Marblehead resident Steve Luck, who drops by Pawsitively Marblehead with his 1-year-old son, Will, and 4-year-old golden Labrador retriever named Lucy, who has lost one of her front legs to cancer. “They are part of the family and you want them to be included in the day.”

His wife will probably buy Lucy a matching collar and leash and some chew toys for Christmas.

“The dog will certainly receive numerous gifts,” Luck said. “... My wife calls it Santa Paws instead of Santa Claus.”

At the 9-year-old Barking Cat Pet Emporium on Essex Street in Salem, owner Jeff McKee said his store is focused on high-quality dog and cat food and treats, gifts and supplies.

“We tend to be somewhat utilitarian,” said McKee, who said the store does not carry a lot of pet clothing, though it does have some high-quality, fleece-lined waterproof coats, which make practical winter gifts for dogs. The store also offers a selection of collars and leads.

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