The kids know something’s up.

First there was the trip to Quintard Mall for pictures with that man with the white fur. Then the fancy tree in the living room, which Kollee’s not allowed to eat and Koopa’s not allowed to pee on (you should see the looks of incredulous outrage I’m getting— like it’s an enormous bacon-wrapped fire hydrant we put up just to mess with them).

But I know what’s under that tree, and come Christmas Eve, Kooplee will be nestled all snug in mom’s bed with visions of peanut butter and chew toys dancing in their heads.

Now to answer your question... Yes, that’s a celebtastic amalgamation of my furbabies’ names. And no, that’s not crazy dog ladyish at all…

Oh, your other question — here’s what pets and pet parents want under their tree:

Festive frocks

Sure, your dog acts like turtlenecks are itchy and ruffles are for babies, but may I draw your attention to the happy, dapper pups pictured above? You see my point.

The boutique at Piper’s Playhouse has snuggly knit sweaters in colors and patterns to please every picky pup and pup parent on your list, in sizes from Chihuahua to Bernese Mountain Dog.

So your furbaby is more Jingle Bell Rock than Chestnuts on an Open Fire? Got one of those myself — see the pretty girl in the frilly Christmas tutu? That’s my Kollee rocking the hottest canine Christmas couture with a comfort belt, handmade by local dog lover and fashionista, Presley Taylor. (It pains me to admit, but tutus are also available in AU orange and blue... if you’re in to that sort of thing.) $7.50-$28 at Piper’s Playhouse.

Who’s a good dog?

With the help of April List, Piper’s certified trainer on staff, it could be your dog.

List’s basic training course teaches socialization and positive reinforcement techniques you can continue at home, both of which are key for happy, healthy pups, not to mention pup parents.

Two six-week classes get underway in January: on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. starting Jan. 7 and on Saturdays from 2-3 p.m. starting Jan. 11. Space is limited. Call 256-405-4261 to reserve a spot. $99 at Piper’s Playhouse.

Snack for a cause

OK, now how about a stocking stuffer that’s delicious, homemade, all natural and supports a cause near and dear to your canine companion. Snips for Dogs pumpkin and peanut butter bones are made right here in Calhoun County by dog mom and animal lover Annette Maddox. All of the ingredients are listed right on the packaging — you’ll know exactly what you’re feeding them. Plus, every sale gets S.A.V.E. one step closer to ending the county’s overpopulation of unwanted pets through low-cost spay and neuter assistance (hence the name Snips...).

Place an order for Christmas delivery by calling 256-452-8153 or emailing 6 for $3 or 12 for $5 at

You lucky dog

What if the dog on your list is well dressed, well behaved and well fed? See if these ideas don’t get their tails wagging.

• Custom pet portraits: The 12x12 canvas work by area artist Leigh Cummings comes with guaranteed squeal upon opening (something Features Editor Deirdre Long can vouch for after giving me my Christmas gift this week). $55 on

• Toys, obviously!: If you still take a one-size-fits-all approach to dog toys, you’re doing playtime wrong. Countless products out there now specifically target your pet’s particular issues. Pickette’s has two great brands in stock: Nylabone, designed to meet the needs of every type of chewer, and Chuckit!, for active dogs who need more from fetch than your non-canine throwing arm can muster. $6-$32 at Pickette’s Pet Supply.