By Terry Jester
I saw on the news the other day that Americans spend something like $9 billion annually buying presents for their pets.
That is an exorbitant amount of money. And, I have to say, someone must be making up for my share because I don’t spend all that much on my animals.
Sure, they get new beds every year, but only because I wash the old ones so much that they get thread bare.
They get rawhide chews occasionally. Small ones that they won’t choke on if they aren’t careful. Great big ones that they can’t chew down and swallow. And cookies. They do go through a lot of cookies.
And during the winter months I really enjoy baking them their own dog biscuits. Pumpkin biscuits are their favorite. Followed by beef biscuits and dried liver snacks.
And there are the stuffed animals I get for every litter we have born on the place. We raise toy poodles and Olde English Bulldogges, so that’s easily a dozen stuffies every year.
Hmmm. OK, I can see where this is going. But it doesn’t feel like I spend a lot of money on my pets.
Let’s see…shots, worming. The horses get hay, grain and shoes and Bandit, the burro, gets his graham crackers. Bunny, the llama, does like his baby carrots.
Wow. That really does add up, doesn’t it? I guess I’m right in there with everybody else.
But there are things that you can give your pets that won’t cost a dime. For your dog, wrap a good sturdy stick with a promise that you’ll toss it for him every day. He’ll like that, I guarantee it.
For your cat, wrap a piece of tissue paper with a string. Put it in a good sized box. Then, leave the box out for Kitty to play in and drag that string around the house for her to chase.
Also, next time you’re at the store, say “paper" instead of plastic, and leave a couple of paper bags around the house for her to explore. Cat heaven.
Another one for your dog – wrap a good, long, hike in the mountains and put that under the tree. Or, how about an agility or obedience class?
I guess what it comes down to is that you can spend a lot of money buying toys and gifts for your pets, or, you can give them what they really want – you. Think about that the next time you start to contribute to that $9 billion a year. Your pets will appreciate it.
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.