Because I spend most of my waking hours tethered to the Internet and because my children live on opposite coasts, I am doing much of my Christmas shopping this year online. And because I spend more of my time with my four-legged companions than my two-legged ones, I have also taken note of some interesting holiday offerings for the dogs.

We here in the dog game are used to conspicuous consuming for canines. Those at the top of this game spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their campaigns. However, it’s not just the show dog that receives pampering in the US. According to the American Pet Products Association, we spend almost $53 billion a year on our pets. If you are looking for something really special for your best friend this year, I have a few suggestions.

Chef K9’s Breed Specific Dog Food

About $20 billion of that annual outlay is for food. No other subject sparks as much debate among fanciers as what to feed. If you are feeding one of the high end foods, like Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness Duck, you are already paying nearly $3 a pound for kibble. It’s not that far a stretch from there to Chef K9’s breed specific foods. I was particularly intrigued by their Dogue De Bordeaux Dog Food, described as “Grass-Fed Nebraska Angus Ground Beef and Hormone-Free Oven Baked Chicken Breast over Roasted Idaho Russet Potatoes, Steamed California Broccoli, Carrots, and Georgia Yellow Squash mixed with Freshly Shredded Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, Organic/High Oleic Safflower Oil, Bran Flakes, Fresh Grated Bell Pepper, and a Touch of Garlic.” I think I had a waiter in West Hollywood once recommend that to me and my dinner companions. At $8 a pound (10 pound minimum), it’s only a little bit more than your Nutrisystem meal.

My dogs get most of their exercise trying to steal food off my counters. All I have to do is place a pork loin chop or a chicken breast on the kitchen island to defrost. My Italian Greyhound, Pepe, will spend the next two hours bouncing up and down, as if he had a pogo stick surgically implanted in his rear end. He did manage to grab the last piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day. However, the DogPacer™ Treadmill might be a better alternative for those who have a no dogs in the kitchen rule. I actually know people who have used these doggy exercise machines and love them. Please do not leave your dog unattended or place the treadmill near a window if you live in a high-rise building.

My dogs don’t have their own beds. Well, they don’t have their own dog beds. I don’t think they mind sharing their bed with me, except for my Scottie, Bernie. Bernie likes to sleep on my pillow, nose to nose with my wife, which leaves me sleeping nose to tail with Bernie. I don’t recommend it. If my dogs were to sleep in a pet bed, the above racy “Furrari” would be a good choice. It probably wouldn’t work for my Cairn, DeeDee, though. DeeDee has only once in her four years set foot in a car without getting carsick. At $249, the “Furrari” may seem extravagant, but not when compared to my daughter’s shoes.

If you want to be extravagant, just about every designer out there has specialty items for the well-accessorized pooch. One that I have actually seen on the streets ( not the Memphis streets, mind you, but in Manhattan and San Francisco) is the Louis Vuitton “Baxter” line. The leash and collar are priced at $400 and $315 respectively for the medium size. If you have a traveling companion small enough to fit under your airline seat, add the carrier for $2,590.

Neiman Marcus “Annie: The Musical” Walk-On-Role

Here in the South, no Christmas list would be complete without one of Neiman Marcus’ fantasy gifts. This year they have one that is actually dog-related and a good value. For $30,000, you get a walk-on role in the Broadway revival of “Annie: The Musical.” So, how is that dog-related? The $30,000 will be split 50/50 and donated to the PEDIGREE Foundation, whose mission is to help dogs in need find loving homes by providing grants to shelters and dog rescues, and the Pajama Program, which provides new pajamas and books to children in need, many waiting to be adopted. Come on, just one bar…”The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar…” And that’s today’s Back Story.