Category Archives: Weekend Window Shopping

Dog Bookshops

Since getting three whippets, I’ve discovered two wonderful bookstores for dog books, Dog Lovers Bookshop and Dogtales. (Those are in addition to using the New York Public Library, always my first stop!) They both reside online, so are accessible to everyone. 

Bob with our three whippets, C-Biscuit, Sesame and Machu Picchu

Bob with our three whippets, Machu Picchu, Sesame and C-Biscuit, in Central Park

I learned about Dogtales last year when I was searching for an out-of-print dog training book. I ordered the book, paid for it, and soon got an e-mail from Dogtales: “Thank you for your order of this book. Upon pulling it from the shelf, I noticed that there is highlighting in one section – a fact that I did not notice when listing it. I do not sell books with highlighting, so am sending it to you free of charge, refunding all charges.” Including the shipping. 

One of the books I ordered on dog handling happens to have whippets on the cover!

One of the books I ordered on dog handling happens to have whippets on the cover!

I wrote back saying thanks, but I didn’t mind some highlighting and where could I send a check? To which Mary at Dogtales replied, “Thanks for being so great about it.  There is no need to send a check.   Please just enjoy the book.” Dogtales proved that an online retailer can be just as wonderful as a local merchant, and deserves a loyal following.

This week I also ordered from Dog Lovers Bookshop in New York City and was equally impressed. I ordered two used copies of books on beginning dog showing, and asked if they had “The Culture Clash” by Jean Donaldson. After a couple e-mails back and forth about Donaldson’s books, Margot Rosenberg from Dog Lovers Bookshop called me to discuss differences between two of her books and to decide which was the one I wanted.

Our order from Dog Lovers Bookstore, hand-wrapped and including a dog folk-art card

Our order from Dog Lovers Bookshop, hand-wrapped and including a dog folk-art card

Talk about personal service! In exchange for that, I didn’t at all mind paying full-price for the new copy of “The Culture Clash,” and will surely enjoy shopping there again. Our order arrived with each book lovingly double-wrapped in recycled plain paper and pages from The New York Times, and included a dog art greeting card. How nice!

It would be heaven to be able to stop into a dog bookstore and shop in person – but finding the right dog bookshops online is the next best thing.

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Fashion Hounds: The Well-Dressed Dog

Poncho and C-Biscuit: Some dogs have coats naturally, others need to outsource

Poncho and C-Biscuit in Northern Michigan: Some dogs have coats naturally, others need to outsource

Let’s be clear: Whippets – and a few other select breeds – need clothing. Just last night, as the temperature dipped below 70 degrees and we tried to lounge outside, C-Biscuit stood at the screen door as if to cry, “Let me in! Let me in!”

But buying whippetwear, admittedly, goes beyond the need for protection from the elements. I’m no Paris Hilton, so would never use my hounds as fashion accessories (I mean, not really…), or put fashion accessories on them (definitely not). And yet, there are certain reasons I do enjoy not only dressing them, but dressing them well:

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu, fashion hounds

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu, fashion hounds (Sweaters handmade by Greyt Sweaters)

  • They’re busty! Yes, I have become one of those awful parents who pin their secret, lost hopes and desires on their children: At last, I can loudly complain, “It is so hard to find clothes to fit such a big chest and such a narrow waist!” 
  • James Andrew of "What is James Wearing?" with his whippets, Rupert and Nigel

    The Dogs Have No Clothes: James Andrew of "What is James Wearing?" with his whippets, Rupert and Nigel

    They can compete for best-dressed: I’ve never had much interest in fashion, and could never, ever be the best-dressed New Yorker, or even the best-dressed in my building…or even on my floor. But with the dogs, a little effort and expense goes a very long way towards being the most fashionable hounds in town!

  • No malls, No dressing rooms: For the deliciously-shaped sighthound, there is no shopping off-the-rack. Even in Manhattan, the dog boutiques do not stock pret-a-porter whippetwear. The best stuff is all online! All we need is a measuring tape and the Internet, and – fetch! – perfectly-fitting clothes come to us. 
Whippets love new clothing, really they do

Whippets love new clothing, really they do

  • No growing up, growing out, or growing fat: Whippets don’t have the fat gene, so don’t need fat jeans and skinny jeans. If it fits today, it’ll fit in 15 years. So we can invest in nicer clothing, made to last.
All dressed up and ready to go out! (Winter coat by Blue Willow Dog Coats)

All dressed up and ready to go out! (Winter coat by Blue Willow Dog Coats)

  • C-Biscuit in her Chilly Dogs raincoat

    City Slicker: C-Biscuit in her Chilly Dogs raincoat

    Matching shoes not required: I would dress better if I didn’t have to wear nice shoes too. And walk in them, I mean. With the dogs, it’s BYOF – bring your own footwear! (Well, there are the winter boots…and granted Biski has a black-and-leopard print winter coat and sporty red boots, hm…)

  • Support small business: Custom-made clothes for humans are too expensive – and I wouldn’t even know where to go to get them, or why – but bespoke dogwear actually costs the same or less than ready-made, and the money goes to small businesses in a niche of a struggling American industry. So, support the economy, dress your dogs!

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Weekend Window Shopping: Dog Beds

Sesame might be here sooner than we thought, which gives me the excuse to be looking at getting another dog bed. Much as the dogs love their pita beds, we’re thinking to add variety. I’ve got my eye on two new dog beds:

This one is massive: nearly 5 feet long and 3 feet deep, meaning even more of our living room would go, ahem, to the dogs. But with three dogs, a dog “sofa” like this could prevent dog bed pile up. (Bob thinks we can also use it ourselves to watch movies. …haha?)

It’s got “a medical grade orthopedic foam base that’s designed to relieve pressure on bones and joints – ideal for older or arthritic dogs.” What’s good for older or arthritic must also be good for dogs who are, in a word, bony.

Another plus for whippets are those bolsters they can drape their giraffe -like necks over. 

 

The best part is, it’s beautiful. 

Another huge plus is it’s 100% organic cotton, printed with non-toxic dyes and filled with an “eco green fiber,” i.e. probably little to no danger of harmful off-gassing. It’s also made in the USA, which is meaningful to me especially since I’m from a manufacturing town (Flint, Michigan) and now live in a major garment center (NYC).

I’d considered this one the luxury option, but the environmental elements even the score. Please let me know if your dogs have tested either style and what your experiences have been.

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Weekend Window Shopping: Rope Toys

You know what whippets say: You can never be too thin or have too many toys. 

This week, I discovered Good Karma Rope Toys. They’re cute, cute, cute, handmade from natural dyed cotton, look pretty durable, and are supposed to be good for the dogs’ teeth. A portion of the proceeds goes to a non-profit to help distressed pets, Rescue Train. There are 19 animals, and they cost $14-$16. 

The Good Karma Squirrel is Biski and Picchu's top choice!

The Good Karma Squirrel is Biski and Picchu's top choice!

 

The Good Karma Lion is irresistible too - Biski & Picchu might not go to my alma mater, but they can play with its mascot!

The Good Karma Lion is irresistible. Biski & Picchu might not go to my alma mater, but they can play with its mascot!

 

If my friend Kendra from Maine had a dog, I would give her the Good Karma lobster!

If my friend Kendra from Maine had a dog, I would give her the Good Karma lobster!

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Weekend Window Shopping: Bird Collars

To save for Sesame, I need to resist buying whippetwear. Tempting as it is, because there’s so much great stuff out there, much of it made by lovely whippet-owning individuals. It’s nice to support them while supporting my whippet habit. My compromise is to enjoy window shopping. And when Sesame is here, he will not go cold, you can be sure of that. Or be unfashionable, for that matter. I’m just following the Golden Rule: Save first, then spend. 

Here is one item I’m lusting after, telling myself “Look, but don’t buy. Yet.” It’s a stunning bird collar from 2 Hounds Design.

Red bird collar from 2 Hounds Designs

Red bird collar from 2 Hounds Design

At $32, it’s an affordable splurge. But any collar is more fun with the matching leash ($29). And with two dogs, how can we not treat them (meaning us) both?

Turquoise is Machu Picchu's color!

Turquoise is Machu Picchu's color!

Sesame, you have not been forgotten. 2 Hounds Design makes the birdie collar in 3 colors! We see how having three dogs changes the budget – three new designer collars and leashes would push $200. Yowza!

 

 

No boy of mine will wear pink. (Well, until he asks.) Biski, looks like you'd have to give the red one to Sesame!

No boy of mine will wear pink. (Well, until he asks.) Biski, looks like you'd have to give the red one to Sesame!

 

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