We're not sure if you've noticed, but Austin's rather an animal-loving town.
From the Humane Society pets up north to the furry running companions on the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail, animals are a huge part of the city's population, so we want to make sure they don't get forgotten this holiday season. Check out these animal-centric gifts, along with all the rest of our staff picks in our holiday gift guides.
We can't in good conscience recommend giving animals as gifts – pet ownership is a time-consuming and expensive decision that needs to be planned, not given as a surprise – but if you and your family have made all those pro/con lists and decided you're ready to give a pet a home this holiday season, the volunteers and staff over at the Austin Animal Center can certainly help you find your new family member. Not quite ready? Consider fostering or volunteering.
Keeping Austin a no-kill city isn't a cheap endeavor. If you're able to give a few bucks to your rescue center of choice, we know they'll go to a good cause. And as they say, time is money, so if you're able, stop by and learn how to become a volunteer.
If you're more about the tangibles, the Austin Animal Center has a list of needed items on its website, including canned and dry food, washable toys, new and gently used collars and leashes, pet shampoo, and more.
Austin-based design studio Creative Suitcase developed a series of five cards to raise money for Austin Pets Alive!, the local nonprofit animal rescue program. The holiday cards include "holiday tips for humans," including "Don't swallow the shiny things," a reminder for which we're eternally grateful.
Jordan Smith already previewed the Austin Humane Society 2013 calendar in the Politics Gift Guide, but it's not too late to order one of those for $10 and support the efforts to save homeless pets in Austin.
It's easy to overlook the wild beasts of the animal kingdom when there are corgis in reindeer antlers running around, but there are plenty of organizations you can donate to to adopt a big critter on someone's behalf. You can symbolically adopt lions, tigers, bears (oh my), foxes, sharks, turtles, and more through the World Wildlife Fund, which works to protect endangered species and their habitats.
There are also more specialized organizations, such as the Save the Manatee Club, if you're looking to donate to a specific species. Adopt a manatee for $25, or throw in an extra $10 and get a 2013 calendar.
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