Hat Accessories: Margaret Kelly and Snuggles are showing off a Santa harness and board shorts from Margaret's Pet Coats and Accessories.
Hat Accessories: Margaret Kelly and Snuggles are showing off a Santa harness and board shorts from Margaret's Pet Coats and Accessories. Scottie Simmonds

Gifts for our furry fashionistas

FEW things represent the joy of Christmas quite like giving.

And with pressies at the ready for our two-legged loved ones, it's no surprise our furry family members are being included in the tradition more than ever.

Whether it be by playing dress-up or receiving an extra special treat, it seems there are plenty of ways to pamper our pets when Santa comes to call.

One person in Bundaberg who knows how to spoil our four-legged friends is Margaret Kelly of Margaret's Pet Coats and Accessories.

Ms Kelly has spent the best part of five years creating cute wearables for many pets, including rats and guinea pigs - and she's even received a request to make clothes for a parrot.

But the most popular items in her line-up of animal fashions are for the humble canine.

"When I first came up here, I started making little kids' clothes and I went to the markets selling them, then I decided to make bigger, adult clothes. But it didn't do too well because of clothing from overseas being cheaper than you can make them," she said.

But Ms Kelly didn't despair, because a suggestion from her nephew's wife to make outfits for dogs came at just right time.

"I bought all the patterns and tried out the pyjamas and they went well and I thought 'why not stick with it?'"

The festive season always proves busy for Ms Kelly, as she sets about creating Christmas outfits for fashionistas of the animal world.

"I've been very busy with Christmas stuff because there's a lot of people wanting to do up their dogs," she said.

"After seeing the people at the Pageant of Lights and at the Shalom Markets (with dogs dressed festively) I think it brings that lovely feeling, that Christmas spirit.

"There were a lot of people at the Shalom Markets who said, 'this is a little Christmas present for my pet'."

Ms Kelly said she was expecting a last-minute Christmas rush for her tailor-made outfits.

"I've got the Christmas dresses, the harnesses - it looks likes a harness and you wrap it around the neck and the body - and the Christmas hats. I haven't started making the booties yet," she said.

"I do ones for big dogs, but only by order. I tell the people to measure them because there are so many different sized dogs out there."

Although Ms Kelly loves making clothes for dogs, she admits dressing up is not for every pooch.

"The first coat I made, I tried on my big dog and he just showed me a mouth full of teeth," she said.

"I love my dog, but he doesn't like dressing up."

Regardless of whether or not your pet likes to don the latest item hot off the dogwalk, Ms Kelly said the most important gift for animal companions this Christmas was love.

"Just keep loving your pet and give them plenty of love. They only ask for three things in life and that is a warm bed, food and lots of love," she said.

Total Pet Care owner Natasha Jensen said dog bowls, dog beds, kennels, guinea pig hutches, dog treats and toys were all proving to be popular gifts for pets this year.

"I think people tend to buy something a bit special for pets at Christmas," she said.



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