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Pendleton pitches pooches

Giving the lie to the old adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, century-old blanket producer Pendleton Woolen Mills is making customers sit up and take notice with a new line of canine couture.

"This whole pet thing started out almost as a lark, a way to use up excess fabric, and morphed into quite a nice little business," said Bob Christnacht, manager of Pendleton Home.

It started with a jacquard woven woolen dog coat in a classic black and white houndstooth pattern designed by Pendleton's Brenda Backes, and drew a strong enough response from catalog merchants that it has now evolved into a full-fledged business, focusing on holiday gift-giving.

After the dog coat's positive showing, Pendleton's second-generation effort was a woolen pet carrier in Pendleton's signature look, a vividly colored Native American motif.

Bringing the dog back indoors, next up, said Christnacht, is a pet bed for the fourth quarter of 2004. Also on the way is a dog stocking to hang over the mantlepiece.

And cats? "Forget about it. They are not going to put up with being buckled into a jacket. Life is way too short to try to force that issue," said Christnacht, who has a cat himself. "Cats don't wear clothes."

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