Thu, July 18

Spend It Here: Part 9
Pets are a Christmas gift that continue giving for years

Small pets, such as rabbits, fish, birds and reptiles are available from Pet Kingdom in Cottonwood. VVN/Philip Wright

Small pets, such as rabbits, fish, birds and reptiles are available from Pet Kingdom in Cottonwood. VVN/Philip Wright

VERDE VALLEY - Giving a pet for Christmas can be a one of the most thoughtful gifts of all. But for it to work out well, it does in fact require a lot of thought.

Jay Pond owns Pet Kingdom in Fry’s Shopping Center in Cottonwood. He agrees that giving a pet deserves considerable thought and planning. “I don’t want any buyer’s remorse,” Jay said.

“Consider the age of the child,” he said. “Make it an age-appropriate animal.” Jay said it isn’t a good idea to give a real small child, younger than 5 or 6 years, a hamster or gerbil. Those little critters will bite little fingers.

He recommends coming into the store to talk about pets as gifts. “We’ll guide you to what we feel is the appropriate pet,” Jay said.

“We don’t sell dogs or cats anymore,” Jay said. He feels there are already too many of those animals that need to be adopted from humane societies and animal shelters. But he does have kittens from the Humane Society of Sedona on display in the store. Jay or his employees can start the adoption paperwork, but the humane society itself will complete the process.

“I don’t make a red cent on that,” Jay said. He does it because he loves animals and wants those animals to find good homes.

What Pet Kingdom does offer are plenty of small pets to choose from, including hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, birds, including parakeets, finches and macaws and many types of fish and reptiles.

“Bearded dragons are great Christmas gifts for kids who’ve never had a reptile,” Jay said. “We’ve got all the stuff to go with them.”

All the stuff is exactly what Pet Kingdom does have. The store offers just about any kind of pet food or supplies that anyone could need. If Jay doesn’t have something, he’ll order it.

“We’ve also got some cool things for gifts for your pets,” he said. “One of the biggest things is the cat condos.” And those are marked down right now. The store has some really great specials and sales that will run until Christmas Eve. Set-ups for reptiles are 20 percent off, and Jay is offering some deals on a line of fish tanks.

On two Saturdays, Dec. 12 & 19, Pet Kingdom will offer photos with Santa Claus for $9.99 each from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from the photos will go to the Humane Society of the Verde Valley.

Hours for Pet Kingdom are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Dec. 21 through 23 the store will be open until 7 p.m. It will close at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

B Skielvig, executive director at the Humane Society of Sedona, agrees completely that giving pets for Christmas requires a lot of careful thought and planning.

“One downside during Christmas is that it is such a hectic time,” she said. Doors can be lift open and trees unattended. There are a lot of hazards during this time when people are busy with the holidays and guests.

“We recommend a gift certificate for a dog or cat,” she said. “We give out gift packets. It works out great.”

Those packets contain a lot of useful items, such as a collar and I.D. tag, as well as a DVD about training a pet.

Skielvig said parents can put a stuffed animal in a wrapped package to represent the dog or cat. “Then, the person receiving the gift certificate can come in and select the animal for themselves. It’s a lifetime commitment.”

Sedona Pet Supply also keeps animals on display for the Humane Society of Sedona, according to Skielvig. But she cautions that adopting a pet from the humane society through Pet Kingdom or Sedona Pet Supply is still a process. The society checks things out to make sure the dog or cat is going to a safe, loving home.

“We pretty well know what to look for,” she said. “We don’t want these animals tied to a tree. These are companion animals.”

Hours for the Humane Society of Sedona are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is located at 2115 Shelby Dr. Call (928) 282-4679.

All humane society locations and animal shelters and sanctuaries love for their animals to find good homes at any time of year, but especially during the Christmas holidays. Finding homes for their animals is the reason they exist.

The Humane Society Verde Valley is located at 1502 W. Mingus Ave in Cottonwood. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Call (928) 634-7387.

The Camp Verde Animal Shelter is open 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday (noon to 5 p.m. by appointment) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Call (928) 567-7855.