Sometimes I think it would be fun to be a postal carrier during December. That way, I could see some of the several hundred holiday postcards that are sent through the mail, each depicting a happy — or more often a confused or annoyed — companion animal in a stocking cap or felt antlers, perched next to a bedraggled St. Nick and theoretically wishing the rest of us a good holiday season.
Bless those furry little guys, who probably had plans for that afternoon other than going to see Santa, but they did it because we asked them to. I’ll admit, one year I was That Parent, and I still have the picture to show for it: Bailey sitting on Santa’s bench, looking unhappy, and Jack out in front, legs stiff in front of him and looking like he had just been pushed into place, which he had. I love that photo and like to think that was the dogs’ present to me that holiday.
For all our pets do for us, it’s hard to know just how to gift them back during the December holidays. The thing is, if we just give them the proper care that any living thing deserves — food, water, a warm, dry place to sleep and lots of love — they’ll value that more than any toy we could wrap up and put under the tree or next to the menorah.
Nevertheless, everyone likes to be remembered, and many pets — dogs in particular — enjoy ripping open a package and finding out what’s inside. A number of local businesses that support the Lawrence Humane Society offer a great selection of toys and foods; we encourage our members to shop at these local businesses.
My own dogs receive so many treats and “treasures” from these places that they’ve gotten fussy. Jack won’t hesitate to spit out a dog treat that doesn’t quite measure up if he thinks I’m holding out on him. For now, though, both dogs favor either pig ears (available in most shops that carry pet supplies) and hard chicken jerky strips (check your grocery store), and I know the chewing is good for their teeth.
My cats are currently into their tall scratching post with the seat on top, which gives them a great view out the back glass doors to where I feed the neighborhood birds and squirrels — it’s like a big-screen TV for them. Again, pet stores carry varieties of these, or they can easily be made from some scrap lumber and old carpeting. Just be sure to nail the carpeting in carefully. I tried stapling mine, but sharp claws were able to pull the carpeting away from the wood, exposing the staples.
As always, we ask that you consider helping the animals who won’t have homes this December. Gift donations and memberships to the Lawrence Humane Society in friends’ names are stocking-stuffers that help keep homeless pets warm and fed all year long. Our shelter offers festive T-shirts in several colors and all sizes, and we carry eco-friendly reusable carrying bags with our logo on them to make you and your friends look much classier when you carry your groceries home.
Web shoppers might look into www.theanimalrescuesite.com, which is filled with items that help support animal rescue groups, and www.fetchdog.com also has a “charitable shops” page that offers gift suggestions by such Hollywood stars as Glenn Close, Ted Danson, Kevin Bacon and Lauren Bacall.
Have a ball — and give your pets one! — this holiday season, and hugs and pats to all your animal friends from the Lawrence Humane Society.