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Maybe Scud shops here

Is Fido getting a bit miffed because we humans keep coming up with -how did we ever live without it- things for ourselves? Good news is at hand. Specialpets, The Pet Lover's Catalog, is full of items you may learn to need, even if your pets don't. From sunglasses and visors to a city dog "joggy" bag and pooch poncho, whatever will they think of next? More practical items such as a plastic pet gate and a guide for traveling with pets also are available. For a copy of the catalog, write to: Specialpets, P.O. Box 7481, Louisville, Ky. 40257 or call (502) 893-9652.Get sheet-faxed

It was bound to happen. Our first faxes were delivered with a simple cover letter with not much more than to/from information. Then we graduated to cover sheets with witty messages. Now we have faxable greeting cards. No need to rush down to the nearest store at the last minute. Faxable Greeting Cards by John Caldwell (Workman Publishing, $9.95 paperback) has it covered, with 101 removable cover sheet greetings.

Don't get taken

It's a sad but familiar tale. You hire someone to do some work on your home and...well, things don't turn out as you had hoped. If only you'd had some guidance before you, uh, parted with all that money. How to Hire a Home Improvement Contractor Without Getting Chiseled by Tom Philbin (St. Martin's Press, $13.95 paperback) is a how-to book that will help turn you into an informed consumer as you contract for good work at a fair price.

Let Nature be a guide

Looking for hand-carved toad walking sticks (shown at left) and alabaster fruit boxes? Maybe an owl candle lamp and frog galoshes? Find 'em in the Nature Company catalog. It's full of nature-themed items to wear, read, eat, decorate or play with. In keeping with its philosophy to offer products that foster environmental consciousness, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of certain items is donated to The Nature Conservancy. For a copy of the catalog, call (800) 227-1114, fax (606) 342-5630, or write to: The Nature Company, P.O. Box 188, Florence, Ky. 41022.

_ NANCY PARADIS

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