By Terry Jester
At Christmas time, I usually can find a present or two under the tree for me supposedly given to me by one or more of my pets.
And, in turn, my spouse also will have a few things under the tree from the pets.
But what would our pets really give us if they could? It set me to thinking.
Cats, being the pragmatic creatures they are, would undoubtedly give the gift of a great book. A big, thick, can’t-put-down volume that will have you sitting and reading for hours at a time – with a cat in your lap, of course. No reason to waste a good lap should one be available.
Dogs might also give books. A child’s appreciation of animals can be greatly influenced with the right reading material. And dogs love it when children read to them.
My own love for dogs, although kindled by my mother and her animals, was stoked and fanned by the works of Albert Peyson Terhune and his Sunnybrook collies.
I was 11 when I read, “Lad, a Dog.” Terhune gave me an appreciation and a fascination for dogs and for good books. Anyone out there still trying to figure out a good gift for a child (or an uninitiated adult – the works of Terhune are timeless).
Another gift from our dogs might be a good set of yak tracs or something similar. These are contraptions that slip onto your shoes to give traction on icy sidewalks. Dogs have four-wheel drive and aren’t generally concerned about falling while walking on ice. People need to be aware that our dogs still need those walks, but they need to be done safely. Traction-supplying footwear is just the ticket.
And most importantly, all of our pets – dogs, cats, horses, birds, ferrets, fish, reptiles and frogs – wish us to take things less seriously. Be happier. Laugh more. Love more. Live more in the moment, as they do, with our face in the wind, our tongue hanging out and a big grin on our face.
Gifts are nice, but they aren’t what’s truly important. Our pets know what is important. We would all be the wiser to follow their example.
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being, “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners." Connect with Terry on her website.