My dog and I would like to wish every one of our friends and clients a most Merry Xmas!!
In these days of crazy shopping, cleaning, fretting, overeating and general chaos in the name of organized happiness…we are trying to stay in the real world where simple stuff matters. The air is crisp and clean and the mountains around us stay solidly in place, reminding us of the enduring land on which we are privileged to spend time. Xmas is a time when, for a moment, everything is on hold – at least here in our country. Banks and businesses take time off and we are able to look around and appreciate our friends and families. Of course, those of us that live with dogs, will also be taking these guys into consideration! Should we be getting our pets gifts? Will they feel left out if they are not included in the festivities? How do we stop Snuffy from jumping on Gramma and knocking over your sister’s toddler? Ooops some of the happiness just left the room…
Holidays can be stressful as well as joyous and if animals are not bound by the same rules of moderation as most humans. Excitement and overstimulation can lead to out-of-control behavior in our Retriever just as it can take a four year old into overdrive!! The Holidays are the biggest boom times of the year for Animal Boarding establishments across the country, between travel and incoming visitors, your dog must often have alternative arrangements made during this time of year. Now, if this has to be the case…don’t feel guilty!! If you take care to find a clean, caring environment for your pet, where he will be safe and calm until the madness stops, then that is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is the kindest thing you can do for your pal. After all, what does he know about our tribal rituals? And the smell of fantastic delicious things appearing in the house by magic but not for him – can be frustrating and confusing for a being who lives by his nose!! A whole new set of rules come into play when we have guests-in-law and visiting dignitaries on the couch. Forget about our daily exercise routine and regular mealtimes!! So go ahead and find a nice calm place for him to chill out if you feel that is the easiest answer to your holiday dilemmas. Of course…if we have been working on our manners and flexing our control muscles during the year, we should be able to use these Holidays as a great place to practice our new skills…albeit in small doses. Try to pay attention to how long your pup has been stimulated and give him some time to go take a nap somewhere quiet. A crate in another room, a bed on the porch or a nice long walk with one of the visiting cousins will do very well. It is also a good idea to remember that other people have been slipping him little Holiday treats and he may have to go outside a little more regularly than usual!! One last little reminder before letting you all get on with your last minute shopping…chocolate and spices are bad for dogs!!! Sorry, Banksie.
Have a safe and Happy Holiday and we’ll get together for a long hike after the FESTIVITIES!!
– Janine Lazarus. LBSPY #60. December 2014.