Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Wonderful World of Pet Boutiques: Paws for Murder Guest Blog/Review/Giveaway

Truffles cuddled up with Paws for Murder & Packer the bulldog

The Wonderful World of Pet Boutiques, by Annie Knox 

I confess:  despite hours and hours of research on pet boutiques, I am hard-pressed to explain their sudden allure.  One would think that purveyors of pure luxury items would be hurting in an economy that is just bouncing back from a recession.  But the bottom line is that high-end pet accessories are all the rage, with online retailers and brick and mortar stores popping up all over the place.   

How does a boutique differ from the big box pet stores? 

First, boutiques are less likely to carry the things you need for the day-to-day care of your pet.  They may have cans of specialized cat pate, in flavors like rabbit or sockeye salmon, but they aren’t going to have jumbo-sized bags of kibble.  And forget about cat litter.  Boutiques are meant to supplement your pet care needs, not replace them. 

The items carried by boutiques tend generally to be less practical and more aesthetic.  In addition to clothing (sweater sets, seasonal dresses, and costumes), boutiques carry indulgent soaps and shampoos, crystal-studded collars, designer leather pet carriers (that look as good as any high end handbag), and a huge variety of pet jewelry (from snap-on bracelets to collar dangles and glitzy barrettes.  These are items your pets don’t need—and may not want—but that give owners more of a chance to interact with their pet. 

Many of the items are geared toward smaller dogs, the type of animal that is as much accessory as pet.  But they offer gear for larger dogs and cats, too.  In fact, some of the merchandise at a typical pet boutique will be aimed at pet-loving people (for example, pet-themed iPhone covers and ceramic figurines of your favorite breed).  

Check out the selection on the website for this brick and mortar spa and boutique:  

Perhaps the biggest difference between the big box stores and pet boutiques is the quality of the products you can purchase.  You might be able to purchase a generic dog sweater at a big box store, but it will be mass-produced abroad.  Pet boutiques carry handmade items.  In fact, one of my friends who has pet rats recently found handmade pirate hats made specifically for rats, toads, and lizards.  The little tiny hats are crocheted by hand and adorned with itty bitty skull and crossbones patches and exquisitely small blue feathers. 

Once again, I’ll confess that I knew little about the variety, price, and quality of items sold at pet boutiques when I first started writing Paws for Murder.  But as I researched this niche market more, I became impressed with the lengths people will go to for they companion animals!  

Paws for Murder can be purchased here

Visit Annie at her website or on Facebook

Paws For Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery

Synopsis: Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But at the store’s opening, it turns out it’s a human who’s dressed to kill…

Izzy’s own beloved pets are dressed to the nines for the grand opening of Trendy Tails. Feisty feline Jinx is large and in charge, and happy mutt Packer is lapping up the attention. Izzy and her best friend Rena have their hands full meeting Merryville’s menagerie and serving tasty pupcakes and kitty canapes from their “barkery.” The last thing they need is the town’s local activist, Sherry Harper, scaring off customers and getting tongues wagging by picketing the event.

The two manage to stop Sherry’s protest in its tracks, but the trouble for Trendy Tails is just beginning. Sherry is found murdered in back of the shop, and Rena is immediately named as the lead suspect. Now Izzy and her furry friends have a new pet project—collaring a killer.

Mochas, Mysteries and Meows Review: I confess, not much makes me happier than seeing pets dressed up in cute outfits (much to Truffles' chagrin), so the prospect of a Pet Boutique Mystery series was catnip for this cat lover's soul.

In Merryville, Minnesota, Izzy McHale is preparing to open her pet boutique Trendy Tails, with her best friend Rena in charge of the barkery (bakery). Local troublemaker Sherry Harper, who never met a picket sign she didn't like, decides to picket outside the boutique's front door during the grand opening. When Izzy takes the trash out to the dumpster following the party she finds Sherry dead in the alley. Fingers immediately point to Rena who had a questionable relationship with the victim years ago in Minneapolis. Izzy soon learns that Sherry's activism had angered many locals, but who was mad enough to kill?

Paws for Murder is filled with enjoyable characters. Favorites of mine include Aunt Dolly and Izzy's landlord Ingrid. (I always seem to be drawn to the quirky older ladies in cozies!) And Sherry's guinea pig Gandhi (who rides around in a baby sling) is a star in the making!

If you're a fan of fun mysteries, furry characters and fashion, this is a debut to get your paws on!

GIVEAWAY: Have you ever shopped at a pet boutique? Tell us about it by noon EST on January 10, and you will be entered to win a copy of Paws For Murder. U.S. entries only.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.


  1. We do shop at boutiques sometimes. I try to buy things on sale. They have more variety, items are made in USA/better made and better service. The prices are usually pretty comparable with big box stores (for the same item/quality). It's compared to online that they get pricey.

  2. No, I haven't! I have no pets but enjoy those of my neighbors.

  3. We always stop at pet boutiques when we travel! And they do have the day to day stuff sometimes- the cutest poop bags I have ever had came from a boutique in East Aurora, NY. It is fun to get unique toys for the dogs or the cat that no other store would have.

  4. Thank you so much for hosting me, Melissa. I'm glad you liked the book and hope others will as well!

  5. That sounds like a great book!

    We have a few pet boutiques around here. My favorite one has lots of unique catnip toys and different types of canned food than the regular pet stores. There's also a kitty who lives there who's really sweet and friendly. I think pet boutiques are pretty cool; they give you a chance to get some unique stuff for your fur babies. :)

  6. No I haven't but it sounds like fun.

  7. Those are so much fun to shop at! I am only allowed to do it when hubby is not with me. He's not appreciative. LOL
    I love learning about new books from you - thanks for sharing reviews with us!
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

  8. The closest I've come to shopping at a Pet Boutique is at my local Vet's. His daughter made and ordered a lot of pet outfits and jeweled collars, lovely feeding bowls, fancy name tags, etc... I thought it was very thoughtful of her to do this for all of our small town pet lovers, myself included, and I thoroughly enjoyed going through the merchandise! Thank you for a lovely giveaway!

  9. Back in the dark ages when I owned a pet, there were no such entities as "Pet Boutiques". There were pet stores where you bought food, pet dishes and new leashes.

  10. I don't think there are any pet boutiques up here in the north woods of Minnesota---but my beagles think that food is the best thing ever to spoil them with so a good meat market is their favorite "boutique",

  11. My friend has long-haired dachshunds and I've helped her get ear feathers for the smaller dog, Bee. (Her larger sister, Hunney-yes, Hunney and Bee-will not tolerate the feathers) Since she has had these fancy feathers attached to her ear hair (rather like a human hair extension) she has had a personality change. Before she was rather shy and withdrawn. Now she struts her stuff like she is the local queen!

  12. Sure, there are quite a few around Chicago. We usually don't get anything, though. Except maybe a tasty cookie or good-for-you treat. For the most part, we're nudists, so we don't really like to wear boutique clothes anyway. - Crepes.

  13. I'm having such a great time reading everyone's take on pet boutiques. You're opening my eyes to the wide variety out there. I've never been to a boutique that sold fancy canned food - that's what would make my babies most happy.

  14. I have visited a Pet Boutique and bought something fun for my kitties to wear. Never could get a picture of them wearing their pretties because they pretty much shredded me trying to put it on

    cmucha319 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

  15. I definitely shop at pet boutiques; there are 2 near us. Both make their own treats and have specialty dog food and clothing items. The items are very high quality and the guys who run each store really care about pets and are knowledgeable about the food, ingredients, etc.

  16. Looking forward to reading this one. I love browsing the pet boutiques. We just had a new one open up a few minutes fro the house. My two miniature schnauzers,Romeo & Juliet, are not very receptive to the full outfits although they will tolerate some accessories. And our cat, Mercutio, well... most of the time he just thinks we are all crazy. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

    scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com

  17. I shopped at a pet boutique once when my malti-poo was a puppy. Oddly, it was located in an airport; we were traveling to see family. I got her out of her carrier for a much needed break so she could look around the store. She showed off her beauty for everyone. I bought her a couple of lovely doggy necklaces. I put one on her so that when we arrived, she would be wearing one of her new pieces and would look like a doggy princess. Big mistake. When we arrived, she was wearing a string with only a very few crystal beads remaining. Apparently, she wasn't nearly as enamored of the jewels as I; I gave the other necklace to a friend with a small, older, much better behaved doggy. I doubt Kefa (my dog) was sad to see it go.

  18. I have never shopped at at pet boutique. I'm from a small, rural area and that kind of thing isn't in demand where I am.

    Glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Yes, we live in a small suburban town. The local pet store is considered a pet boutique. It is costly but we love browsing for unusual products. They also carry my regular kibble (sad to say they are always out). The book cover illustration is PAWsome. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  20. no, I've never shopped at a pet boutique.........not really a 'live' animal fan, but I enjoy reading about them & seeing cute pictures of them!!! lol!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  21. We have a few pet boutiques here. We've been known to shop at them, but only once in a while for special presents for the kitties. :)

  22. Sounds like a cool book! I have not shopped in a pet boutique, but I have seen a few. In my financial situation, I'm lucky to be able to afford to by anything at Walmart. :P I do love seeing all of those cute little dogs dressed up though.

  23. I have never shopped at a pet boutique. This book sounds really good, and I'd love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  24. I have never been to a pet boutique which is hard to believe since I have two foo foo dogs. I do have a pet store near my house where we buy their food. At times it feels like a pet boutique with all the flashy collars and coats for dogs. They have some homemade cookies for the pets too. Thanks for the giveaway .