Remember Your Pets This Holiday Season

Published Date: December 16th, 2006
Category: General

By J Gardener

In the Martin household, last Christmas Eve was typical, for a family with two children under six. Marci and Dan got the kids to bed as early as they could manage- which really wasn’t early at all, considering all that pre-school adrenaline pumping at the thought of actually catching Santa in the act of dropping down the chimney. Then the young parents spent the next three hours assembling dollhouses and bicycles, installing batteries in video consoles, pushing their inquisitive dog, Jazzy, out of the way, boxing and wrapping new childrens’ clothes, and leaving milk and cookies for Santa.

By the time Marci and Dan got to bed they were as exhausted as…well, as parents on Christmas Eve, and they slept like babies, until…

“Mommy!”

Marci woke, as if she’d been slapped-as any mother would. Five-year-old Gina stood by the bed, her eyes wide with excitement.

“I hear him! I hear Santa!”

Marci sighed, started to tell Gina to go back to bed, then she heard it, too. Something downstairs. She poked Dan-he grunted and rolled the other way, still snoring. She jumped up and rushed down the hall to Josh’s room. Her four-year-old son was sound asleep, just like his dad. Typical.

There it was, again. Someone-or something-moving around, downstairs. Marci tried to act calm as she put her daughter back to bed, assuring Gina that Santa didn’t want to be disturbed. She tried to wake Dan, again-as if.

Realizing that their safety was in her hands, she grabbed a baseball bat from Josh’s room (one of those tiny souvenir bats), and crept down the stairs, terrified but determined to protect her family from whatever intruder lurked down there in the darkness-even if it was Santa himself. She tiptoed into the living room, and, prepared to do battle, she flicked on the light-and there he was, calmly sitting in the middle of the room, shredded wrapping paper and torn boxes everywhere.

Jazzy, the beloved family terrier. He stared at Marci with a look that, she later said, she instantly understood to mean: “What about me? Aren’t I a part of this family, too? You forgot to walk me, tonight!”

Your pet is a part of your family. Your dog or your cat or your bird lives in a comfort zone, based on the habits of the household, which rarely change, from day-to-day. Your dog is used to being walked at certain times, your cat is used to eating at certain times, your bird is used to the house being empty at certain times. Change in these habits can cause stress, which your pet may respond to in annoying or destructive ways.

The holiday season is full of surprises, for the whole family. Schedules tend to be more fluid than usual, and parties, shopping, or late-night wrapping sessions can divert your attention, causing you to forget Jazzy’s walk. But Jazzy won’t forget-he knows exactly when he should be circling the block. His only real desire in life is to please you, and in return, all he needs is the assurance that you haven’t forgotten him.

He doesn’t want to ruin your Christmas Eve. He just wants to be a part of it. Remember Jazzy, or Tabby, or Tweety, as you celebrate this holiday season. They feel joy, too, especially when they feel your love.

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