By Sari Reis
As the holidays approach, I encourage you to invite your social, furry kids to participate in as many festive experiences as possible.
When friends and relatives come to visit, allow your pets to interact with guests, rather than relegating them to a crate or behind a closed door. If you are planning a festive meal, provide some special healthy treats that they can enjoy while you are sitting at the table.
If travel plans are part of your holiday agenda, take your dogs with you if you can. There are so many hotels, motels and restaurants now that allow well-behaved dogs as patrons and I know the furry kids would rather be with you than left at home. Check out the venues you plan to visit to see if dogs are allowed and if so, bring them along. If not permitted, see if there is a doggie daycare nearby where they can enjoy some fun romping around with their peers while you are engaged.
If traveling with your dogs is not an option, or you have other animals that require care while you are away, hire a professional pet sitter or engage the services of someone who is trustworthy, responsible and knowledgeable to care for them. Not only will they get the love and attention they deserve while you are away, but you will have the peace of mind knowing they are happy and well cared for in your absence.
As the new year approaches and you start to set goals for 2017, be sure to include your pets in your plans. Promise yourself you will feed your dogs and cats the highest quality food you can comfortably afford. Schedule more frequent walks with your dog. The exercise will be good for both of you. Purchase that wonderful cat tree for your kitty so he gets to sit in a high place by the window and enjoy the outdoors safely. Promise to give your furry kids as much of your time, care and attention as you can possibly manage, and commit yourself to getting them to the vet for their wellness exams. Don’t wait until they start showing signs of ill health.
Last month, due to ill health, I regrettably was unable to do my regular dog walks and pet visits and I cannot tell you how much I missed that part of my life. I missed the kitty head-butts and watching the crazy antics of a tabby with a new catnip toy. I longed for the feel of a dog’s soft fur, their messy wet kisses and the wagging tails that tell me how happy they are to see me.
I tell you all of this in the hope of making you realize, if you don’t already, how incredibly blessed we are as pet parents to have these fantastic companions in our lives. They love you unconditionally. Please don’t take them for granted during the holidays, or any other time.
—Sari Reis is a Certified Humane Educator and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. For more information you can contact her at 760-644-0289 or www.missionvalleypeetsitting.com.