The Cure for Dog Slobber

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E.A.T. Gifts offers products you hardly knew you needed

By Laura Shanahan

I brake for dogs. When I'm walking down the street and spot a great-looking doggy, I can't resist giving the pooch a good "skritch" under the chin ? the animal (and owner) willing.

The last time I did this, my hand came away sticky-wet and ? aghhh ? smelling like the Gowanus Canal at low tide. Short of the owner warning me of his pet's Petri-dish mouth, what I would most have wished for was a bottle of Dog Slobber hand sanitizer ? and, yes, Virginia, there is such an item. Didn't know it existed myself until I just spotted the 2-oz. bottle at E.A.T. Gifts (EG), at 1062 Madison Ave., near 81st Street.

EG, as we'll shorthand it henceforth, is one of those only-in-New-York places, next door to the famous E.A.T. bakery/food shop/catering biz, the premier effort by the equally famous grocery/eatery entrepreneur Eli Zabar. The shops perfectly complement each other. E.A.T. is filled with sweet and savory comestibles, while EG is filled with lots of food-themed novelties (and much more). In short ? here's a simple example ? you can buy a chocolate cupcake at the former shop for $4 or a pretty painted plastic version that tops a child's adjustable ring at the latter for the same price. The ring, however, will theoretically last forever and has zero calories.

But back to the Dog Slobber, ("for fresh, clean hands after contact with pets!"). It's really your basic hand sanitizer, amusingly presented by the clever Blue Q company, which also offers OCD hand sanitizer, complete with an illustration of a stern-looking doc (shrink?), and Pee-Pee Poo-Poo sanitizer for children, (and the adults who share their sensibilities). They all contain 62 percent ethyl alcohol; your choice, $8.50.

As we slide into the silly season, you won't find better ways for you or your kids to celebrate than with some little trifle ? or big trifle ? from EG. A life-size inflatable giraffe? It's here. (Well, maybe not quite life-size, advises Sean, the store's manager, of the $75 item. What do I know from non-domesticated animals? I'm a kid from Brooklyn). If you're wondering what one does with a ginormous giraffe, Sean says, "I've sold so many for kids just to put in their room." There you go.

Little trifles that are popular include the slogan-buttons, at $1.50 to $2 per, perfect for on-lapel opining, proclaiming and professing. "People take hours going through them," Sean says. Small wonder, with seemingly endless choices that include "I read banned books," "Avoiding life ? one day at a time" and "Peripheral visionary." Some just let a picture tell a story ? though what a cartoon cat perched in a teacup while wearing a top hat, bowtie and monocle means is clearly open to interpretation and thus conversation, n'est-ce pas?

Salted among the stuffed toys, snow globes, miniature glass animals, and gumballs in such flavors as Popcorn and Cola and "extra briny" Pickle, there are some unassailably practical items. Consider the +2.5 magnification "make-up glasses" with a single lens that flips back and forth, depending on which eye is being made up, ("no more smudges! No more mess!"); $8.

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