Creature Thoughts: October 2021

“The Holidays”

In our house, the end of October means that “The Holidays” are officially here. I confess to being one of those annoying people who would be happy if the holiday season lasted all year long. For me, Halloween starts off a two month long stretch of crocheting, knitting, shopping, and (at least in my heart) celebrating.

Kira the Tiger Princess
Kira, the Tiger Princess

Halloween—and “The Holidays”—also mean special considerations for our pets. Yes, I’m talking about the people who like to buy costumes for their dogs (and even cats) and take cute pictures (not that I’m one of them of course). At Christmas time, we have stockings to fill for the pets, and presents for them under the tree. All of the special days of this extended season can be fun for them as well as for us. However, we always have to be aware of their feelings, and make sure we don’t overwhelm them with our own enthusiasm.

Those costumes may be adorable, but do observe how your pet is reacting to them. We left Kira’s Tiger Princess hat on her just long enough to take a picture, but when it was obvious that she wanted it off, it was removed. It now dons the head of a stuffed animal.

Then come the trick-or-treaters. Do you live in an area where little space aliens, monsters, and popular cartoon characters (as well as the occasional milk carton and giant carrot) are ringing your door bell all evening long? Keep a close eye on your pets. Be sure they are safe. If the dog seems at all stressed, give her a quiet room, a closed door, and a stuffed Kong to keep her content. As for cats, it’s often best to close them away in their own safe room for the evening (don’t forget the litter box).

I don’t have to remind you to keep that bowl full of candy secure, do I? More than one pup has been rushed to the emergency vet with a belly full of Snickers Miniatures on Halloween night.

During the December Holidays, however you celebrate them, there are bound to be extra stresses and dangers, as well. If you have house guests, be very aware of how the presence of strange people are affecting your animal family members. Plan a safe space for them ahead of time, so they can get out of the celebratory craziness. Remind guests that not all pets like to be handled by strangers. Every animal, like every person, has his own personality, likes, and dislikes.

There are also the usual warnings about tree trimmings (ditch the tinsel and go with garland if you must have the shiny stuff), holiday treats, and the foods that always seem to be much higher in fat and sugar during The Season. That skin on the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey might be brown and crispy, but if you must share, make sure it’s only a tiny sliver. Don’t over do on the table scraps, no matter how tempting it is to share with the dog or cat. Pancreatitis is no fun for anyone. A little nibble just to give them a holiday treat is usually okay (as long as your pet has no dietary restrictions), but make sure everyone in the house remains aware of how much has already been distributed, so there are no involuntary overloads.

All warnings aside, the holidays are a time for sharing, with our human loved ones as well as our non-human ones. Include your pets in the festivities as much as is safe and wholesome for them, and their participation will make your celebration even more joyful.

We here at “Starling’s Nest” wish you a safe and happy Halloween, and may the upcoming holiday season be magical and wonderful for all.

News and Information

My apologies, once again, for the long lapse between issues. I may just go to every other month for a while, as it seems like that’s the best I’ve been able to manage the past few years.

As of this time, I plan to hold my annual holiday special for three-packs of pre-paid sessions for existing clients. It will start on US Thanksgiving Day (that’s November 25th), and continue until New Year’s Day, 2022. I will send out a reminder before the special begins.