GIFTS TO PURR FOR
From beautifully baked cookies and cakes in flavours to tickle doggy tastebuds to haute couture collars and coats, there are plenty of choices to spoil that special pet in your life
Christmas is about goodwill and enjoying time with family and friends - a time to renew ties and give thanks. Pets are important family members, often akin to surrogate children. They should not be excluded from the festivities and consideration.
The health of a pet is important. Like people, they should have regular medical checkups to ensure their longevity. Yet not all animals are happy to be carted around in a car or, perish the thought, a minibus.
For the delicate dog or cat there is Dr David Gething.
While Dr Gething has a clinic in Shau Kei Wan, his speciality niche is making house calls so that pets can be examined and treated in the familiar surroundings of home. It is a popular service.
An international city attracts a transient population and a moving man's best friend may need to be transferred with the family to postings around the globe this festive season.
When Hong Kong's last governor, Chris Patten, left the city, his two Norfolk terriers, Whiskey and Soda, were transported to France by Export-a-Pet.
Owner Paul Slade's Sai Kung operation offers a door-to-door service. In his time, he has transported a tarantula (it was a Christmas present); a snail, flown to Malaysia at a cost of about $5,000; guinea pigs; hamsters and even tigers.
Most clients, though, are dogs and cats.
Mr Slade takes care of all transportation and documentation procedures - a sometimes sticky process due to quarantine requirements that vary from country to country.
This is the season to give (and receive), but what can pet owners bring home for their well-loved animals as tokens of affection?
With excess still the way in Hong Kong - or so we like to think, at least - here are some suggestions for a little something for Fido and Fifi.
Dogs, and some cats, are not discriminating diners, so caring owners might like to take charge of their nutritional requirements this Christmas.
Doggy Cookery (tel 2537 6248) has a tongue-tickling selection of doggy biscuits and cakes.
The biscuits, priced from $38 to $98 a box, come in five flavours - cheddar, liver, carrot and honey, chicken and lamb. The cakes, in apple and cinnamon and carrot and liver, cost $288 to $380 each. Products contain no salt, sugar, chemicals or artificial preservatives.
Sam the Dog (tel 9324 3868) has a line of natural, aromatic grooming products containing essential oils for dogs. Its extra-gentle shampoo for sensitive skins contains lavender, chamomile and tea tree oil, and retails for $180 for250ml. The flea and tick shampoo costs the same.
An antiseptic gel containing the essential oils tea tree, aloe and yarrow will soothe minor wounds and insect bites on your pet's skin. A jar of 50 grams costs $160.
For the brand-conscious dog owner, Louis Vuitton makes a pet carrybag decorated with its trademark monogram for $10,000 to $10,900. A complementing dog collar will set you back $1,300 to $1,650. Available at the LV boutique.
Not to be outdone, Hermes' line of doggie accessories includes a fitted blanket, priced at $2,000, for those chilly nights. It also has collars for $2,500 to $3,000 and leashes for $3,000 to $3,900. Available at Hermes boutiques.
Gucci turns its attention to the feline with a Gucci Cat product line. How about a silver or gold-plated food and water bowl? Or a signature leather collar in calfskin or lizard?
There is also a dog line of tags, food bowls in solid silver and beds. Prices are $2,860 for a dog leash; $960 for a cat or dog pendant, $400 for a dog collar and $450 for one for kitty. Available at Gucci boutiques.
Dyed-in-the-wool anglophiles will be happy to learn of Burberry's canine collection. A trench coat for the active pup is available in different sizes, priced from $2,150. A leash costs $995, a woollen knitwear coat starts at $1,495 and a doggie bed costs $850. Available at Burberry boutiques.