Betty Crawford, owner of 12 Paws natural dog treat shop, is expanding her selection of products to include more locally made items and other unusual finds for pets.
"I'm trying to carry things people can't find other places," said Crawford. "I've gotten a lot of suggestions from people of things to sell."
Among those offering ideas are 12 Paws "employees" (at least until returning to elementary school in the fall).
For 25 cents apiece, Mary West, 8, whose father owns The Spot ice cream and coffee shop located just a few doors down, and Faith Skowronnek, 9, craft colorful felt rope toys similar to ones sold at specialty pet stores for as much as $6.
"I thought, 'I could make those,' and this way it gives the kids a chance to make some money," said Crawford. "I got the felt, cut it up and gave them some general direction, and they just took off and did their own thing."
The toys are sold at 12 Paws in large, medium and "teenie weenie" sizes, all under $2 each.
"The 'teenie weenies' are hard to make because they're so tiny," said Faith, who can confidently make claims attesting to the toys' durability based on their ability to withstand playtime with her 250-pound English mastiff.
Also available are tye-dye T-shirts intended for both dogs and humans which are being sold at the store to benefit the Pet Placement Center in Red Bank, with 100 percent of the $7 charge going to the shelter. Crawford said the volunteer at the center who makes the T-shirts plans to make more in school colors for fall.
"It's the only no-kill shelter in Chattanooga, so I really want to give them support and visibility," she said.
Fans of the dog scarves knitted by local artist Deborah Hellman have led to so many requests for matching sweaters, especially in the colors of their sports team, that she will now be accepting orders through the store for custom sweaters.
Another local artist working with Crawford is potter April Anne Krumnow, who creates dog bowls and treat holders sold exclusively through 12 Paws.
Customers with picky eaters can also now request Crawford order their favorite specialty dog food to save themselves a trip down the mountain.
Located at 1238 Taft Hwy., 12 Paws can be reached at 475-6342.