People ask what I want for the holidays and most of the time I tell them, “just something for my animals.” My colleagues understand the sentiment, and so do many animal lovers, but the public at large generally doesn’t. The general public thinks we’re animal obsessed or it is our quirk. Today I wish to explain why giving for our pets is more satisfy than giving for ourselves.
My mother-in-law calls me every October to ask me if I want the same birthday gift she gave me last year and I always say yes. The gift is a credit on my account at my veterinary office. To know that I can go into the office and my pet’s next refill or annual appointment is now free, is creates joyous relief. In December, the gifts my family gets the most value out of, are the ones that we share with the animals. Fresh beds, new toys, and the interaction in sharing them is probably only overshadowed by the joy a human child has when they receive presents.
Presents to pets create a moment in time where an owner gets to connect deeply with their companion. A moment when all concern, stress, worry, or pain, dissolves into pure bliss. And that moment multiplies into many more over time. Beds become places of security and calm rest, toys are endless energetic bursts of excitement, and treats create windows of communication and understanding.
Even pocket pets or livestock enjoy their seasonal surprises. Every year I get to refresh my parrot’s toy collection so he can have something new every week or so, preventing boredom. He also appreciates the grain and seed mixes friends drop off. Oatmeal cookies are his favorite. And sometimes recycled DIY can be the best present of all. My rodents and chickens always appreciated food puzzles made from toilet paper tubes, filled with dried fruits and seeds.
When you give a gift to a pet, you are not giving a material object, you are providing a ticket to an experience between pet and owner. A moment in time that bonds two souls. You are giving them memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. That is an amazingly powerful gift that can cost as little as a few dollars.
For those who can and wish to give more, gifts like the one my mother-in-law provides, a credit at the vet, can save a life. That isn’t the only service that can better a life either. A credit for the groomer can help get a pet groomed when an owner can’t afford it. And a training certificate, can help keep a pet in a home and out of a shelter.
So if you’re racing around today trying to find that last minute gift, don’t grab that useless kitschy item that will garner smile, a thank you, and be put aside. Think of their beloved pet and how you can create a moment for them that will last a lifetime.