Monday, December 23, 2013

Kitty purrs and puppy kisses for Christmas



My friend’s dog just died. He’s heartbroken. He took this dog everywhere with him, just adored her. He and his wife have human children and grandchildren who all live far away. In recent years, the dog was their baby. Now instead of celebrating Christmas, all he wants to do is cry. As a dog mom, I know how he feels.

For many of us, our dogs and cats are our only babies, and we treat them that way. Some people go overboard. I always feel sorry for the pets forced to wear reindeer antlers or jingle bells. That can’t be comfortable. Of course there are those folks who also dress their dogs and cats in velvet and fake-fur hats and coats or Christmas sweaters for the holidays.

Have you seen the YouTube video of the cat being wrapped like a Christmas present? You’ll laugh, I promise.You may also be tempted to watch the many other offerings there. They're funny but also true.

How many of us hang up Christmas stockings for our fur babies or put gifts for them under the tree? Surveys have shown that nearly half of us give our pets wrapped gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. I actually don’t. My dog Annie tends to eat everything I give her, whether it’s food or not. Also, I don’t think she likes Christmas. I’m gone too much, and our schedule is all out of whack. But I know plenty of people whose pets are on the gift list.

Most of us consider our pets part of the family. But how far does that go? Do you put your pets’ names on your Christmas cards? For me, it depends on whether or not the recipient knows Annie, but there’s something about being able to write down multiple names that makes it feel more like a family.For a while in my younger days, I secretly hoped some people would see the name on my card and think I had had a baby. They didn't need to know it was a dog.

How about you? Do you give your pets presents, dress them up for Christmas or include their names in their holiday greetings?

Bonus question: Does your family think you’re nuts?

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your lives with me all these years. May your holidays be full of kitty purrs and puppy kisses.

6 comments:

Jessica Treon said...

I am spending Christmas with my only son and his family. Its wonderful, but I miss my three doxies and was thinking today that I had not even gotten them a special treat. I will have to take something home with me for them. My dogs keep me company and give me more than I think I can ever give them I think they like what little time I spent relaxing and visiting with friends before I left. They each got lots of pats and spots on laps plus a nice beach walk. Merry Christmas from all of us. Jessie, Jasmine, Benjamin, and Humphrey.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Merry Christmas, Jessie. I'm sure your babies will just be happy to see you when you get back.

Anonymous said...

I love my dogs. We had to put down our oldest dog in early December. She was with us for 13 years and one of those "once in a lifetime" sort of special dogs.

Making the decision to put her down was easy. She was old, sick and unable to do any of the things that used to fill her with boundless joy. We somehow expected her to live forever so we were surprised to find ourselves driving her to the vet for the final time.

As I said, making the decision was easy. And to be honest, the procedure was easy. Our vet is the best and made it very easy for us. Of course we both bawled like babies the whole time but the experience was peaceful, respectful and loving.

Driving home was harder. I drove while my husband kept her body in his arms. I had the foresight to suggest that we dig the hole before the appointment and we were relieved to be able to walk to her spot, and immediately lay her to rest.

I didn't expect that the days following would be so empty and sad. I knew it would be hard but I had no idea I'd feel the levels of sadness that erupted within me. I didn't even care about the other dogs. Our family was broken and no amount of affection from the other dogs really helped. I almost wished they weren't there anymore. The dog we lost was our glue and without her I didn't even like the other dogs.

Of course that was temporary thinking. Over the next week or two we healed and came to terms with our new family structure. We have a new appreciation for the dogs that remain and feel blessed to have them. We're feeling like a family again.

This proved to me that dogs aren't something we "own". They are important relationships in our lives.

All that being said, our animals just aren't children to me. I personally find sadness in pretending they are. I prefer to think of them as great friends that mooch off of us. So their names aren't included on Christmas greetings. I don't purchase special gifts for them on Christmas. They might get an extra treat or two as we're having ours but that is about it.

I will note that last year a newlywed couple mailed us a card signed, "wife, hubby and dog"
This year their card featured photos of them with the dog as well as a photo of a baby bump. However, this year the card was signed, "wife, hubby and future child" No mention of the pooch. With a baby on the way he's been down graded.

Anon S

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon S, I'm so sorry for your loss. There are those special dogs that are unlike any others. Mine was Sadie. I love my Annie, but . . . I appreciate your comments about how much a part of the family your dogs are but how they are not the same as human children. I hope you can heal and have a wonderful new year, knowing your special friend is at peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite happy that I've found this blog. I am childless by marriage due to my husband's unexplained azoospermia. We planned to have children and are in our early 30's, so we're still adjusting to the news and ourselves.
We have a dog. He got gifts, but I refuse to dress him, even with antlers. The only thing I would consider is putting boots on him for his walks if it gets colder than -25c.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Thanks, Anon Jan. 9. You sound like a smart couple who will figure it all out. I don't dress my dog either, but my dad keeps telling me I need to get her a raincoat. Up here in Oregon, it does rain a lot, but she seems to like being wet and muddy. All the best to you both.