By Julia Williams
I can’t count the times I’ve heard someone say “My pet is definitely a part of the family.” Some people, myself included, even say that the pet is “like a child” to them. No, that doesn’t mean we think they are children. We know the difference between human offspring and pets. Yet there are also many similarities between raising kids and raising pets. There’s no reason our pets can’t be an integral part of our family unit, and what better time to strengthen that special human-animal bond than during the holiday season?
For many of us, the holiday season is filled with family traditions – activities and events that make this magical time of the year a pure delight for kids and parents alike. That’s all well and good, but if your dog or cat is a part of your family, why not think of some ways you can include them in your favorite holiday traditions?
Fido and Fluffy might not know what the holiday season is all about, but they do know they love you and enjoy the time you spend with them. Isn’t that what counts? Our pets probably won’t get miffed if there are no gifts for them under the tree and no stocking hung by the chimney with care, but what harm does it do to include them? None at all! Plus, including the family pets in your holiday plans can create some wonderful, happy memories for your family.
Below are some ways you can make the holiday season fun for your pet. But don’t stop there! I’m certain that with a little thought, almost any tradition your family enjoys during this time of year can be modified to include your four legged family member. Although it may not make a big difference to your dog or cat, it can give you and your children treasured memories that will last a lifetime.
By Julia Williams
Because it’s the giving season, CANIDAE decided to hold a comment-a-thon to benefit PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support)! I’ll give you all the important details for that below. But first, I want to tell you about a pawsome novel that should be on the bookshelf of every cat lover.
The Dalai Lama’s cat is back, which makes me so happy that I’m purring! Not actually purring, mind you, but metaphorically. I was over the moon when I received my copy of The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, because it’s a sequel to one of the best books I read in 2013.
In that first book, The Dalai Lama’s Cat, I met and fell in love with a witty, wise and mischievous feline who “had me at hello.” She’s every bit as charming in this delightful new book, which also offers pearls of Buddhist wisdom from a cat’s point of view. The principles are sprinkled so subtly throughout the book that you may not even be consciously aware of them, but they will have a lasting impact nonetheless.
The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring offers gentle but profound lessons about life and most importantly, happiness – where it comes from, how to be joyful not just in the moment but for a lifetime, and how to discover more of the things that make you purr. Although the Dalai Lama’s cat walks on four legs instead of two, the wisdom she uncovers through various events can be applied to all of our lives.
My only disappointment is that the Dalai Lama was absent for most of the book, having left on a trip at the start of the story and returning just a few pages from the end. I do understand the point for his absence – a valuable lesson learned – but I loved the interaction of the Dalai Lama and Little Snow Lion (his affectionate name for the cat) in the first book, and was hoping for more of that.
By Langley Cornwell
Most of us put a good deal of thought into what we’re going to call our new pet. Usually, their name reveals something about our own interests or personality. I get a kick out of learning what my friends call their pets. Here are some of the funny pet names they shared with me.
My friend Wendy used to walk with a lady on the beach who named her dog Taxi. Every time she called her dog, people thought she was a nut, going down the beach yelling “TAXI!”
Laurie has two cats that are brothers…Isaac and Figg, you know, the Newton brothers. And Patricia’s mom had a dog named Seiko. Can you guess why?
Sports related names include Tiffany’s dog Kobe, because she’s a big Lakers fan. Caren’s beagle mix is named Philadelphia: Philadelphia Beagle (her husband is a Philadelphia Eagles fan).
Ken once had a black cat named Demon and the cat’s mother’s name was Deacon – named for the fighting Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University. His current cat is named Kasay after the ex-kicker on the Carolina Panthers football team.
One of our dogs, Big Al, is named after the University of Alabama football team’s mascot.
By Linda Cole
Over the years, I’ve had plenty of conversations with non-pet owners telling me why dogs and cats aren’t intelligent. I’d love to know where they get their facts from, because there have been many times I’ve racked my brain trying to outsmart a pet. We may be smarter, but there are times when a pet’s intelligence – or their persistence – presents us with a challenge.
The Window Screen Incident
I love the smells of spring, and when nighttime temperatures stay in the upper 60′s, I leave my screened windows open day and night. It’s not clear why my cat Bailey waged war on my bedroom window screens, but it quickly became a challenge to stop her. Bailey is persistent like any feline, but she takes it to a whole new level. She had already destroyed one screen in the middle of the night. I caught her as she was going through it, and begrudgingly closed the bedroom window. I opened the other window since an inspection of the screen found no holes or defects. Problem solved? Nope! Bailey started in on that screen. So I closed the window just enough to keep her out, or so I thought. She managed to squeeze in behind it and got trapped between the window and screen.
Accepting the challenge of outsmarting my cat, I was determined that this window was going to stay open, and she wasn’t going to destroy it. However, she got around all of my fixes. I finally built a barrier out of wood and wire that sat in front of the screen, and was confident I had won. Yeah, in my dreams! She could climb on top of the barrier and slip behind it, which left her pushed up against the screen. I added a block of wood on top of the barrier to stop her from climbing over it, but she found a gap to wiggle through. An old slipper wedged in the gap finally did the trick!
By Laurie Darroch
To many dog owners, their beloved four-legged babies are just as much a family member as any human. Dogs may not realize what Christmas is all about, but they can sense the excitement and see the changes around them in the decorations. It is fun to include your pet in the holiday celebrations. Why not hang a stocking for your canine family member and make sure Santa fills it with some special surprises!
Balls – Choose balls that are dog friendly and safe. Rubber balls designed specifically for dogs are a good option. Tennis balls are very popular with dogs, and pet stores even have scented varieties in flavors like peanut butter.
Chew Toys – Not every chew toy is dog safe. Some dogs can rip apart chew toys that are made for a smaller dog. Choose accordingly, with tougher toys for stronger dogs.
Bubbles – Buy or make non-toxic bubbles and have fun playing with your dog. Battery powered bubble blowers work particularly well in dispensing the bubbles quickly for your dog to chase. It is great exercise, too!
By Linda Cole
Everyone should be able to read the body language that dogs use to communicate how they feel and what’s on their mind. Unfortunately, not enough people can tell if a dog is angry, friendly, timid, scared or indifferent. On the other hand, pet owners who know their dog well can tell by looking at them if they are sad, happy, confused, frightened, surprised, pouting or not feeling well. How? By watching their body language and facial expressions. Dogs also have a more subtle language they use to communicate with us, which includes their eyebrows and ears.
For the most part, dogs don’t have well defined eyebrows like we do. However, some breeds – German Shepherds and Rottweilers for instance – do have markings above their eye where we perceive eyebrows should be. But dogs don’t have actual eyebrows; instead, they have a ridge above their eyes that can be manipulated in much the same way we use our eyebrows to express certain emotions.
When your dog raises his brows, he’s indicating he sees something of interest. Lowered eyebrows means he’s confused by a sound, or trying to figure out what you want. It can also suggest your dog is a bit angry. One eyebrow raised says your dog is questioning or puzzled. A pouting dog will lower his eyebrows, which says his feelings are hurt. An angry or suspicious dog will have his eyes partly closed, with his eyebrows pulled down.