Posts tagged ‘happy holidays’

December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hey! Danielle here! I am not sure what you celebrate, what you believe, but regardless I think this time of year is a good time for us to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, feel blessed about, and to honor those relationships in our life that help us push through.

I will be honest..I am not a Christmas fanatic. I grew up in a very stable family, with great values, and good traditions, so there is no need to delve deeper into the meaning of why I don’t freak for fa la la la and tinsel. I love having a real Christmas tree in my home, and helping my kids write letters to Santa, and I enjoy the idea of finding a special gift for the people in my life who mean so much.

But I also struggle…I struggle with the commercialization of the whole holiday. I struggle with the pressure put on all of us, especially parents, to buy the best, most extravagant presents. The idea that the kid with the most presents, the biggest presents wins on that first day back to school? Why? I love my children, and provide for them…I go above and beyond for them…so why do the presents that I set forth one day a year “dictate” my love for them so to speak.

I may wind up hearing backlash from this blog post, but its honestly how I feel. I want my children to have experiences…I want them to have things with meaning and value…and I want them to understand that my love comes in the form of passion not presents. I want my children to understand where Christmas even came from , even though truth be known I am not ultra religious in the traditional sense of the word.

For me…Christmas is more about a time where families can come together in a world where we are all so busy and take a deep breath and enjoy one another…not whether or not the perfect gift was found and wrapped with the perfect matching bow. Your kids won’t remember the bike you got them or the xbox 360 that showed up under the tree this year tens years from now…but they will remember the experiences you were able to create with them…those are the things that last a lifetime. So I encourage you to look beyond Target and Best Buy, and create moments this holiday season…moments, that beyond material possessions, will ring true season after season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah , or whatever it is you choose to celebrate. Enjoy each other and celebrate the love your family has for each other…because that is the true meaning of Christmas.
christmas eve 2011 010

December 15, 2012

Happy and Safe Howlidays!

sweet doxy

Hi, there! This is Brooke, your pet-loving gal here. The holidays are in full swing, and you are probably up to your eyebrows in things to do, cookies to bake, and cards to send—I know I am! Here are some tips on keeping your cherished pets safe and happy during this festive season.

Christmas Trees

This is an example of a bad kitty!

This is an example of a bad kitty!

  1. Make sure to anchor your trees from adventurous kitties that climb and dogs with crazily wagging tails—you don’t want all your hard work “decking” the tree to come crashing down in the middle of your eggnog!
  2. If you have a live tree, keep your animals from drinking the tree water, which may be full of pesticides as well as bacteria from the stagnant water. Ingestion of these nasty things can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
  3. Regardless of whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to clean up the dropped needles often. Curious pets will eat those needles faster than you can say “No, don’t—!“ They are toxic and will cause vomiting, even if fake (trust me on this).
  4. Do not leave pets unattended with the Christmas tree, if possible. A fully decorated tree comes stocked with all kinds of dangerous “toys”:
    • Hot light strands can burn or electrocute dogs or cats, which have a tendency to chew on things. Keep light strands secured and covered or away from the lower levels of the tree.
    • Be sure to put glass or metal ornaments higher up on the tree, and watch for broken ornaments with sharp hooks or attachments—little paws can easily step on these items.
    • Tinsel may be beautiful, but it’s a big no-no, especially for cat households. Cats will ALWAYS find stringy, dangly items, and tinsel (along with other strings or wires) can be ingested and can get tangled in the stomach or intestines, leading to scary emergency surgery or even death if not caught in time. No thank you!!

Holiday Plants

Many plants that make our houses cherry and bright this time of year are bad news for our furry family members. For a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out this link from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants. If you suspect your pet has gotten into anything suspicious, whether plant, food, or otherwise, be sure to call your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year: (888) 426-4435.

Common Holiday Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  1. Lilies: deadly to cats, can cause kidney failure
  2. Mistletoe (especially the berries): highly toxic, causes upset stomach and potentially fatal heart problems
  3. Holly: causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy
  4. Poinsettias: not as toxic as often thought, these should still be avoided as they can upset pets’ digestive system
  5. Amaryllis: causes diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Certain species of ivy, namely English ivy: can be extremely harmful if ingested

Forbidden Food and Drinks

fridge danger

We all know that your animal friends are very skilled at watching you pitifully as you shove another yummy treat in your mouth. Their doleful eyes entreat you to share a bit of delicious food with them. Don’t do it!! You can show your pets that you love them in so many healthier ways.

  1. Be sure and feed your pets before dinner or party guests arrive—that way, Spot will have a full tummy and be less likely to beg for scraps from your guests. Also, give your animals some special treats made just for them when they have been good (or just because), and politely ask your guests to avoid passing along tasty morsels to your pets.
  2. This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, but be sure to keep the dogs and cats (and any other small creatures) in your house out of the booze and smokes. Even accidental ingestion of alcohol or nicotine by a curious pet can be deadly, so if your party is getting very merry—be careful!!
  3. Some foods that can be harmful to your furry friends are:
    • Turkey skin and gravy: can cause pancreatitis
    • Onions and onion powder: can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia
    • Chocolate: can damage the nervous system and urinary tract as well as the heart muscle; can be deadly
    • Grapes and raisins: grapes, especially, can cause kidney failure (who knew?)
    • Cooked bones, especially poultry bones: can tear or block the intestinal tract; these injuries can be fatal
    • Not a food but food items: strings that are used in turkeys or roast, as well as the little  “pop-up” thermometers; discarded aluminum foil; food and fixings garbage—make sure to keep these items picked up and thrown away, with garbage sealed tightly

Joy to the Animals

Christmas rat

We can absolutely include our furry or feathered family members in the holiday festivities—we just have to be smart pet parents. Stuff your pets’ stockings with worry-free toys, like rubber dog toys, indestructible Kongs filled with special treats, durable rope “bones”, size-appropriate balls, catnip mice, interactive krinkle mats, and even nesting boxes and soft hammocks for your favorite little rat!

Ok, you guys. Get to jingling those bells, and stay warm!

Blessings,

Brooke