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Making Holiday Memories
Memories-- that's what the Holiday season is all about. Creating new memories and celebrating old ones. Memories are the foundation for tradition and ritual. They provide a rich shared history for family and friends....and even your pets. Besides being great fun to include your pets in some holiday memory making, you are also strengthening your relationship with each other. You are cementing bonds that will last a lifetime.
Our two cats, Percival and Huxley, enjoy trimming the tree with us each year. After we've securely gotten the tree in place the boys race to explore the new scents and textures. We decorate the bottom 1/3rd of the tree first-- using cat-friendly wooden ornaments as well as homemade feather and felt ones (no lights on the bottom part of the tree, and no tinsel ANYWHERE!) We know just where to look for a napping cat during the holidays-- under a low-hanging bough of the Christmas tree. Providing them their 'own' ornaments allows them to safely be a part of the process.
My basset hound, Copper, and I would make the trek to a pet-friendly Santa for her yearly photo. She was a certified Therapy Dog who loved meeting new people, so she loved her yearly trip to the mall and her treat from Santa. Please be sensitive to your pet's temperament. For some a trip to a mall might be too stressful! For us it was a great way to spend an evening.
Even though our beloved pup is now gone, my kids and I will continue our tradition of baking doggie cookies for other friends and neighbors. It seems like Christmas treats are mainly for humans, so we love to bring bags of homemade dog treats as housewarming gifts over the party season. While Copper once sat on the kitchen floor, drooling and 'tidying' up after us, she is still there in our hearts. We tell stories about her while we mix, knead and roll out the dough. Her memory is alive in the scent of fresh-baked dog biscuits.
However busy your holiday season gets, take a moment to sit down and be fully present with your pets. You will both benefit from some down-time- whether it is an extra play-session while toweling off some snowy paws or stroking a purring ball of fur by the fireplace. Cherish the memories you're making because those memories are what this thing called 'life' is all about! Happy Holidays!
Amy Marotz is the owner of Beloved Buddy Memory Quilts, www.belovedbuddy.com, creating custom quilted pet memorials. She is the mother of two Bengal (cat) boys- Huxley and Percival as well as two two-legged kids.