By LuAnn McLain
Shopping for Christmas gifts can sometimes be a little mind boggling. If you are shopping for your favorite pet lover, though, you need not despair for there is no shortage of new items available.
There are lots of wonderful books that will delight the pet lover. This year there is a new book out that is about Montana animals. The name of the book is Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig, and sells for $7.95. The author, Dianne Armstrong of Helena, has written a collection of stories about dogs and cats that have overcome great odds to be reunited with their owners after being separated from them. These stories have been taken from her experiences working with the Lewis & Clark Humane Society located in Helena. The book is available in paperback through some national chains. It can also be purchased locally through Kitty Keepers, at 262-2279 and the Sands Memorial Foundation at 265-4271.
I always love a good mystery and have discovered several authors who include animals as important characters in their stories. Rita Mae Brown is one of my favorites. Among the ones I have read are Rest in Pieces and Murder She Meowed. Her books have both a dog and cat playing important roles in the story. In fact, much of the story is told in dialog that takes place between the heroine's pets and among the other animals in the story.
Susan Conant has written books in which dogs play an important part. Any dog owner will appreciate Conant's use of the typical dog owner's experiences in her works.
Lillian Jackson Braun also has produced many books using cats to assist in solving mysteries, all of which have titles that begin with "The Cat Who ..." These books are very entertaining, the hero being closely associated with news papers.
My all time favorite among non-fiction books is a collection of short stories by Irving Townsend, entitled Separate Lifetimes, available from J. N. Townsend Publishing. His stories are heartwarming, coming from his experiences during his later years lived in the country. It was published in 1986 but is still easily available and affordable. Most of the stories had been published previously in magazines like Reader's Digest.
Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul is enjoyable reading and will be appreciated by the animal lover. For the horse lover there is Horse Stories, Riding with the Wind by Gayle Bunney. Kindrie grove has put together the Field Guide to Horses, which includes 150 breeds and types. For each breed of horse and other equine she covers conformation and markings, origin and evolution, and many other topics.
A very short but powerful book to assist the dog owner in understanding and training dogs is On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. Anyone who reads her book is assured a changed view of communicating with a dog.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman has written a couple of entertaining and very informative books. The Dog Who Loved Too Much and The Cat Who Cried for Help are views of people and their problems with pets. He explains how he has found ways to help pet owners with all kinds of problems related to behavior.
Children's books also abound. One series children and parents will both find delight in is the McDuff series by Wells and Jeffers.
The Ugly Dachshund, a revived classic from 1938, and The Master's Cat: The story of Charles Dickens as told by his Cat, are two that sound intriguing and hopefully I'll get the chance to enjoy.
Most of these books should be available at local bookstores or can be ordered by them.
Beyond books, there are many other choices. You can obtain almost anything with logos of almost any breed. T-shirts, mugs, key chains, rugs, jewelry, pictures, you name it, it can be found in the shape of the dog or cat of your choice.
Calendars make good gifts this time of year and those can be found with photos or illustrations of certain breeds, or of puppies, or kittens, or horses, or just about any animal you might want. The stuffed animals can also delight the animal lover.
At the Havre Animal Shelter, it is reported people are adopting pets for the holidays early, which is what we would hope. The holidays can be a busy and confusing time for a new pet so getting one earlier lets every have some time to adapt in advance!
Don't forget that if you are looking for a nice pet this year, contact the Havre Animal Shelter at 265-4361, Kitty Keepers at 262-2279, or PAWS at 357-4119. You can also check out some of the animals at the above shelters or in shelters around the state by logging on at montanapets.org.
Wishing you happy holiday gift hunting! If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, please send your letter to PO Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.