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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Gee Wiz it's Christmas !
By Kim Aranha
Dec 23, 2008 - 6:54:09 AM

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Buddy and Chief with an early gift from my son. Abba in the background.

Gee Wiz it’s Christmas….

Here we go again. It seams like yesterday that I wrote an article about the  pit-falls and dangers of a perfectly innocent and family event like  C H R I S T M A S!!

When I last wrote about this Buddy was a little dog of a year old and his partner in crime was two year old Chief… well a year has gone by…and now I have a two year old Buddy with his partner in crime Chief who in near to three years old and, you know what…. not a thing has changed!!! NADA!!! ZIP!!!

I still have to fence off the Christmas tree with a puppy gate…because those marvelous, sparkly ornaments that twist and turn around on the tree are so very interesting. Not to mention the white and silver humming bird ornaments that I brought back lovingly from Switzerland when I visited my brother and wrapped in tissue paper and carried onto the plane to make quite sure that they did not get damaged…Buddy eyes them with obvious delight, the moment I turn my head he moves in, very slowly and quietly, I quickly turn my head and his nose is just millimeters away, “Buddy” I snap, he jumps up!!! Tail wagging (too quickly to be true, it’s a cover up!), “what are you doing” ?...... he looks as if the proverbial butter could not possibly melt in his mouth…yea, right!

All of this to warn and prepare you that, Christmas is quite definitely for humans… The Buddy and Chief’s of this world have zero respect for the tree or the symbol there of….. My Christmas card this year to my animal loving friends shows a man coming home with his Christmas tree over his shoulder… His dogs are sitting watching in the living room. “Oh look, Scruffy!! Look, An Indoor bathroom !!!” That is how your dogs visualize all the preparations we make for this monumental day…Christmas.

I already have their gifts wrapped, I caught Chief trying to sneak a peek in my suitcase when I came home from Miami.…I saw him trying to take his red dog toy out of the suitcase…hopefully he has forgotten it. And Buddy got hold of the bag with the toys for the shelter animals at the Bahamas Humane Society and stole the teensiest one of all and was so proud of it

Those of you who have been reading this column since I started in May of 2007 will think, we already did this, And yes, we did, but for the benefit of the new readers and a refresher for those who are experienced owners, I thought we would go over the same thing, all over again… It won’t hurt.

It is so important to realize how they view all this fuss and how they try and rationalize it in their minds… To have an animal in your home you really must make that extra effort to try and imagine what this all looks like to your pet…the brightly coloured paper, the presents wrapped up, the tree “in the house!!!”, the chaos and panic ! It’s not easy for them to catch on and they may feel a bit abandoned. A dog does not understand what an office party is!!!

So with all of this in mind I thought we would just go over all the “do’s and the “do not’s” one more time!!!!

1.    Your pet needs you just as much over the holiday period as he does during the rest of the year. He does not understand that because of the office party you forgot all about him! Stick to his routine, please!

2.    Do not feed your pet all that rich food you are likely to eat over the next couple of weeks. It is not good for him, particularly turkey and chocolate.

3.    All that brightly coloured paper, ribbons and tape are very enticing to cats and dogs. When you have finished wrapping put them away where Fido and Kitty cannot get to them.

4.    The presents under the tree are pretty interesting too. They smell like you (you wrapped them right?) or they smell like some unknown human (now that could be intriguing!). That is enough to make then totally irresistible!

5.    So, if your dogs (or cats) are young; look at a way to protect your tree and the gifts under them!

6.    You need to understand that the pets just see things differently and do not understand all the commotion over Christmas the same way you do. Once you understand that, the household will run much more smoothly.

7.    NEVER EVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give ANYBODY a pet for Christmas without consulting with them and knowing for absolutely sure that they WANT a pet. It is not good enough that their five-year-old kid wants a puppy; make sure the parents want one too.

An animal is a living, breathing, heart beating, creature with a fully functional brain. We need to understand and help them through the different aspects of our life together. Very often, dogs especially, do things wrong because they are confused or do not understand, or, even worse, when you have made it possible for them to do something wrong. A puppy chews things, we all know that: so DON”T LEAVE YOUR NEW GUCCI SHOES OUT WHERE HE CAN GET AT THEM, put them away. (I know that one from personal experience with Buddy!) Dogs dig, that is a fact of life: so DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG ALL ALONE IN THE YARD WITH NO TOYS AND NOTHING TO DO FOR HOURS ON END. People often get mad at their pets because they are really mad at themselves, but it’s easier to blame the pet. It just takes a little thought and a lot of common sense and you will get through Christmas with your pet with shinning colours, and have happy memories.

Buddy, Chief and Abba join me, along with all the other pets (and humans too!) in this house, wishing you and yours the happiest of Christmases. May you be safe and happy and healthy now and throughout 2009. Thank you for reading my articles and I hope you continue to enjoy them….

About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two teenaged sons. Kim has 3 dogs, 3 goldfish fish, a beta fish,  a tank of freshwater exotic fish, 11 turtles (2 babies, 6 adolescents. 3 adults), 1 Asian box turtle and 4 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the board of the Bahamas Humane Society. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com

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