With November’s arrival, Chicagoland is not only bracing for the possibility of early (and snowy) winter, but for the onset of the holiday shopping season. For those who need to mail gifts or those who celebrate gift exchanges at Thanksgiving with part of the family, shopping may already be a concern. If you’re shopping for pets, I have a source you should look into: PurrfectPlay.com.
I don’t do product endorsements often, but the products of this fairly new and very entrepreneurial company deserve all the publicity they can get. . All the company’s products, designed by the company’s founder Pam Wheelock (who bills herself as “head honcho, cat soother and dog walker” on her cards) and handmade in Indiana, contain only natural, undyed fibers: wool and cotton. PurrfectPlay.com makes toys, blanket, beds and other accessories that are perfect gifts for pets of people who would prefer to avoid synthetic materials in their lives. These products keep you from worrying about your pets chewing up (and swallowing) plastic, rubber and synthetic fiber scraps from shredded balls, tug-of-war toys, chewie toys, and even bedding.
My favorites are her felted wool balls … unfelted wool scrap centers with up to nearly two inches of tight felting around the outside. I have a shiba inu who likes to play with tennis balls but chews through them in as little as 2-3 hours of play. Seiki has been playing with her ball for at least 3 weeks now; it shows only minimal damage to one side after much fetching, general play and determined gnawing. If I remember to take the ball away from her the next time I do wash, all I need to do is wet the ball, pull the frayed up fibers back into place, tie it into the cotton bag it comes with … and throw it into the dryer to re-felt the outside into an intact ball.
Probably the most beautiful creations from this company are also 100% recycled: pet (or person) throws and leash-wallets made from ruined wool sweaters. The company gathers shrunken or holey wool sweaters (that would otherwise be discarded) from resale shops and cuts the material into squares and rectangles. The color, pattern and texture combinations on both small and large blankets make them one-of-a-kind art. The wallets attach to your leash and will hold the essentials for walking your dog(s): a poop bag supply plus license or other ID cards (and coffee money).
For those trying to avoid use of animal-sourced materials, the company sells cotton versions of most of the toys and the pet sleep sacs and bedding. Go to the website and check it out. (But if you want to get one of the purses or blankets, it might be worth trying to find Pam at a show. They’re all beautiful but it’s more fun when you can hand-pick your colors!)