CLOSE
Original image

Sexy Beast Perfume, The Furcedes & 8 Other Lavish Dog Gifts

Original image

Dogs are generally easy creatures to shop for, but what do you get the dog that has everything? Consider this list your guide—or a reality check—as you put the finishing touches on your holiday shopping this week. For the record, I know that my dog will be perfectly content with a large bag of Beggin' Strips and a new bone.

1. Sexy Beast Dog Fragrance

perfume
If you're thinking about spending $65 on a 3.4 ounce bottle of Sexy Beast's signature dog fragrance, a "highly addictive, classic blend of bergamot, vanilla, mandarin, and nutmeg oils," you should at least consider spending a little more for a limited edition version encrusted in Swarovski crystals. The sparkly bottle is hand-numbered, engraved with your dog's name, and costs a cool $850. Why dog perfume? Because, like it says on Sexy Beast's website, giving your dog a bone is so 80s.

2. Jog A Dog Treadmill

dog-treadmillYour pooch might need a few spritzes of Sexy Beast after a workout on the Jog A Dog, the gold standard of canine treadmills. The Jog A Dog, which has been refined over more than 30 years since company founder George Hyland developed the first model in the 1970s, is the perfect gift for the pooch who's hoping to shed his paunch in the new year and the owner who's too lazy to walk him. Among its many benefits, the Jog A Dog helps pups develop muscle strength and stamina, exercise in adverse weather, and maintain a vibrant coat year-round. The Jog A Dog comes in four sizes, with an adjustable incline setting up to 11 degrees. The DC4, for the smallest dogs, weighs 84 pounds and costs $1,195. The DC7, for the largest dogs, weighs 261 pounds and costs $2,995.

3. Brick Estate Dog House

dog-mansion

There's no word on whether Obama's first-time home buyer tax credit applies to this monstrosity, which was created for a celebrity through Beyond the Crate for the low, low price of $25,000. This particular house includes running water, lighting, air conditioning, and heat. Designers can create a house for your dog that is perfectly scaled to match your own house, or something completely different. It's up to you and your dog. But mainly you.

4. Cape Cod Kennel

dog-house

Doowaggle, which specializes in dog houses, offers two luxury models, including the Cape Cod Kennel shown here. The house costs $2,695 and comes as a kit with all of the necessary hardware for assembly. Rain gutters, however, are not included. The Cape Code Kennel includes a 4-foot by 8-foot enclosed area for your dog and two working windows with screens. If the Cape Cod model isn't your style, Doowaggle also offers a Victorian luxury house kit.

5. Helmutt House

helmuttThere's finally a way to shelter your dog and let the neighbors know where your college football loyalties lie. The Helmutt House is heavy duty and weather resistant, and promises to keep your dog warm or cool in style. The standard size Helmutt House retails for $399, and even if you don't have a dog, it makes one heck of a lawn ornament. Company headquarters are in Osage Beach, Mo., which explains why the Missouri State Bears are one of 15 NCAA teams—along with the Georgia and Mississippi State Bulldogs—currently available. According to the company's website, NFL teams will be available soon.

6. Designer Clothes

designer-dog
You could get lost for hours browsing the selection of dog clothes on sites such as Bling Bling Poochies, if canine apparel inspired by luxury designers is your thing. From Aberpup & Fido to Burbaby and Christian Dioggie, Bling Bling Poochies has you—and your dog—covered. The all-inclusive outlet has apparel for big and small dogs, a size chart, and a scrapbook of customer-submitted photos. The Posh Puppy Boutique's collection includes a pair of $32 pink leopard hot pants.

7. Armoire

armoire-dog
Your dog is going to need a place to keep all his designer duds and the PL Bon Armoire, available for $200 from Uptown Poochie, is the perfect solution. From the site's description, this piece of furniture "neatly organizes and protects your pet's apparel while keeping outfits within convenient reach." No one likes a dog who leaves his clothes all over the floor.

8. Furcedes

dog-car

While less privileged dogs wake up on towels or traditional padded dog beds, your dog will be ready to tackle the day after a great night's sleep in the luxurious Furcedes. Features of the Furcedes include a removable, machine-washable ultra-soft plush cover, plump poly-fill interior cushion, and an "LA Dog" license plate. The Furcedes retails for $250-$350.

9. Diamond Collars

i-love-dogs

He went to Jared? No, he went to I Love Dogs. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to produce one of their diamond collars, which were featured on Dogtime.com's list of the top 10 luxury dog gifts. You'll have to call for a price, but the Amour Amour, the most exquisite collar in La Collection de Bijoux, features over 1,600 hand-set diamonds, 52 carats, and crocodile leather. From the website: "'Amour' means 'love' in French, and Amour Amour represents the love you have for your dog, and the love your dog has for you. Its striking design is inspired by this special bond that lasts forever." Perhaps a better name would be Cher Cher.

10. Luxury Travel Kit

travel-kit

The Global Gallivanter Trunk by Lila Paws is the perfect gift for the doggie on the go. The handcrafted trunk, which doubles as a bed, includes a pet passport holder, water bowl, bone-shaped cushion, leash and collar holders, and plenty of room for towels and puppy apparel. The Scandinavian leather case with damask fabric interior costs about $2,300.

Original image
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
arrow
#TBT
Paw Enforcement: A History of McGruff the Crime Dog
Original image
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Jack Keil, executive creative director of the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample ad agency, was stuck in a Kansas City airport at three in the morning when he started thinking about Smokey Bear. Smokey was the furred face of forest fire prevention, an amiable creature who cautioned against the hazards of unattended campfires or errant cigarette butts. Everyone, it seemed, knew Smokey and heeded his words.

In 1979, Keil’s agency had been tasked with coming up with a campaign for the recently-instituted National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), a nonprofit organization looking to educate the public about crime prevention. If Keil could create a Smokey for their mission, he figured he would have a hit. He considered an elephant who could stamp out crime, or a rabbit who was hopping mad about illegal activity.

A dog seemed to fit. Dogs bit things, and the NCPC was looking to take a bite out of crime. Keil sketched a dog reminiscent of Snoopy with a Keystone Cop-style hat.

Back at the agency, people loved the idea but hated the dog. In a week’s time, the cartoon animal would morph into McGruff, the world-weary detective who has raised awareness about everything from kidnapping to drug abuse. While he no longer looked like Snoopy, he was about to become just as famous.

In 1979, the public service advertising nonprofit the Ad Council held a meeting to discuss American paranoia. Crime was a hot button issue, with sensational reports about drugs, home invasions, and murders taking up the covers of major media outlets like Newsweek and TIME. Surveys reported that citizens were concerned about crime rates and neighborhood safety. Respondents felt helpless to do anything, since more law enforcement meant increased taxes.

To combat public perception, the Ad Council wanted to commit to an advertising campaign that would act as a preventive measure. Crime could not be stopped, but the feeling was that it could be dented with more informed communities. Maybe a clean park would be less inviting to criminals; people might need to be reminded to lock their doors.

What people did not need was a lecture. So the council enlisted Dancer Fitzgerald Sample to organize a campaign that promoted awareness in the most gentle way possible. Keil's colleagues weighed in on his dog idea; someone suggested that the canine be modeled after J. Edgar Hoover, another saw a Superman-esque dog that would fly in to interrupt crime. Sherry Nemmers and Ray Krivascy offered an alternative take: a dog wearing a trench coat and smoking a cigar, modeled in part after Peter Falk’s performance as the rumpled TV detective Columbo.

Keil had designs on getting Falk to voice the animated character, but the actor’s methodical delivery wasn’t suited to 30-second commercials, so Keil did it himself. His scratchy voice lent an authoritarian tone, but wasn't over-the-top.

The agency ran a contest on the back of cereal boxes to name the dog. “Sherlock Bones” was the most common submission, but "McGruff"—which was suggested by a New Orleans police officer—won out.

Armed with a look, a voice, and a name, Nemmers arranged for a series of ads to run in the fall of 1980. In the spots, McGruff was superimposed over scenes of a burglary and children wary of being kidnapped by men in weather-beaten cars. He advised people to call the police if they spotted something suspicious—like strangers taking off with the neighbor’s television or sofa—and to keep their doors locked. He sat at a piano and sang “users are losers” in reference to drug-abusing adolescents. (The cigar had been scrapped.)

Most importantly, the NCPC—which had taken over responsibility for McGruff's message—wanted the ads to have what the industry dubbed “fulfillment.” At the end, McGruff would advise viewers to write to a post office box for a booklet on how to prevent crime in their neck of the woods.

A lot of people did just that. More than 30,000 booklets went out during the first few months the ads aired. McGruff’s laconic presence was beginning to take off.

By 1988, an estimated 99 percent of children ages six to 12 recognized McGruff, putting him in Ronald McDonald territory. He appeared on the ABC series Webster, in parades, and in thousands of personal appearances around the country, typically with a local police officer under the suit. (The appearances were not without danger: Some dogs apparently didn't like McGruff and could get aggressive at the sight of him.)

As McGruff aged into the 1990s, his appearances grew more sporadic. The NCPC began targeting guns and drugs and wasn’t sure the cartoon dog was a good fit, so his appearances were limited to the end of some ad spots. By the 2000s, law enforcement cutbacks meant fewer cops in costume, and a reduced awareness of the crime-fighting canine. When Keil retired, an Iowa cop named Steve Parker took over McGruff's voice duties.

McGruff is still in action today, aiding in the NCPC’s efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse, internet crimes, and identity theft. The organization estimates that more than 4000 McGruffs are in circulation, though at least one of them failed to live up to the mantle. In 2014, a McGruff performer named John Morales pled guilty to possession of more than 1000 marijuana plants and a grenade launcher. He’s serving 16 years in prison.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Animals
Watch a Panda Caretaker Cuddle With Baby Pandas While Dressed Up Like a Panda
Original image
iStock

Some people wear suits to work—but at one Chinese nature reserve, a handful of lucky employees get to wear panda suits.

As Travel + Leisure reports, the People's Daily released a video in July of animal caretakers cuddling with baby pandas at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province. The keepers dress in fuzzy black-and-white costumes—a sartorial choice that's equal parts adorable and imperative to the pandas' future success in the wild.

Researchers raise the pandas in captivity with the goal of eventually releasing them into their natural habitat. But according to The Atlantic, human attachment can hamper the pandas' survival chances, plus it can be stressful for the bears to interact with people. To keep the animals calm while acclimating them to forest life, the caretakers disguise their humanness with costumes, and even mask their smell by smearing the suits with panda urine and feces. Meanwhile, other keepers sometimes conceal themselves by dressing up as trees.

Below, you can watch the camouflaged panda caretakers as they cuddle baby pandas:

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios