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“One of Desert Dog Pet Store’s most popular gift items, the colorful pet face puzzles from the Dean Russo collection, are featured behind our decked out Christmas tree,” says Jennifer Wood, owner of Desert Dog Pet Store. / Laura Austin Photo

Include your pets this Christmas Season

By Laura Quezada News Review Staff WriterAs you prepare your Christmas gift list, don’t forget your pets. And if you can’t think of a gift for your family and friends, Desert Dog Pet Store will likely have the perfect something for them if they are pet parents. “We cater to pet parents,.” says Jennifer Wood, owner of Desert Dog Pet Store. “There’s a difference between pet owners and pet parents. We see our pets as our kids – as part of the family.”

Even if you aren’t shopping for pet items, you really should drop by and check out their window display. At eye level for little kids is a pet-themed Christmas Village with a nod to their neighbors at 211 Balsam Street, there is a Village Bike Shop and a Village Barber Shop. One of their most popular gift items, colorful pet face puzzles from the Dean Russo collection, are featured behind the decked out Christmas tree.

“We do have some holiday gifts for dogs and cats. Not so much for reptiles,” says Wood. However, she admits to having a stocking filled with treats for her tortoise. “We have some holiday themed treats, Muttcracker is a good one from Lazy Dog Cookie Company who also do other animal themed treats. We also have some holiday themed toys so that everyone gets little piece of Santa and gets to play and open up presents.” They also stock a variety of stocking stuffers for cats and dogs, plus they sell gift cards if you just can’t decide. You can also shop online

Wood offers some safety advice for pet parents. Mistletoe, poinsettias, and the water that the Christmas tree sits in are toxic for cats and dogs.  She shares how she keeps her home dog safe, “We have a smaller Christmas tree which we have on a table top because otherwise our dogs will get to it. When my children were younger, we did a pen around the tree so that the kids and dogs couldn’t get to it.” She doesn’t have cats, but she has seen some clever solutions online, including hanging your tree from the ceiling.

Wood lends her support to local animal organizations. Guide Dogs for the Blind Ridgecrest Puppy Raising Club has their fundraising display within the store. Wood is on the board of Socks & Paws Animal Rescue who is not accepting new rescues. Desert Dog will be working with Almost Eden Rescue who is going through administrative changes. They have worked with the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter in the past doing adoption events, but right now the Shelter doesn’t have enough volunteers to hold those events. But Desert Dog is looking forward to hosting adoption events again. 

Wood assumed ownership of Desert Dog Pet Store in 2020 when her parents decided to retire. She has been a part of the store since 2013 after graduating from college with a degree in healthcare administration. After being offered a position with the Veterans Administration, she chose instead to join her family in their boutique neighborhood pet store.

“Love and passion” drives her. She says, “I can’t picture doing anything else.”

Wood started in the industry working for Petco by opening San Diego’s first Unleashed by Petco locations as a nutritionist and dog trainer; this gave her and her family a great starting point for designing their business. “This store began as something to keep my parents busy after retirement, and I ended up finding my own path with them. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity to have a career that I take pride in and absolutely love”, says Wood.

“We believe in taking preventative measures with natural solutions to keep your companions healthy. We like to say ‘Everything is pet-dependent’, meaning ‘it depends on your pet’. Each pet will have varying preferences, health concerns, allergies and more. Lets help them live their best lives.” They have products for cats, reptiles, and the aforementioned gifts for pet parents. “We offer grooming, nutrition consultations, and soon training services. In-store we have natural chews and treats, natural supplements, including CBD for pets, toys, pet gear, collars and leashes. I’m trying to focus on bringing in products that you won’t find on Amazon, and support other small businesses within the pet industry. Our reptile and small pet section is growing and I am also excited to bring more awareness for these groups on species-appropriate care.”

   Groomer Chelsie White works out of the store and schedules her own appointments. She can be reached at 760-793-2777. Desert Dog Pet Store, 211 Balsam Street, 760-375-7007,  is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. They will close early at 3pm on Saturday, December 24, so they can spend time with their pets and family.