René Littlehawk: Christmas for pets | CraigDailyPress.com

René Littlehawk: Christmas for pets

René Littlehawk/For the Daily Press

Rene' Littlehawk

Merry Christmas to all of you, your families and your feathered and furry friends!

We all have fond memories of Christmas through our lives. I have a particularly cherished one that still brings warmth to me on cold, short days.

I was probably 12 years old, and the year had been a pretty rough one. My mom had been quite ill, and the prognosis was not good.

We all were trying to make it as good a season as possible. None of us kids were expecting a lot for Christmas.

Well, when Christmas morning rolled around, were we all surprised! I won’t go into what my siblings got, but for me under the tree was the most beautifully wrapped package. I tore it open to find an equally beautiful white ceramic horse. Tied around the neck was a note — written, of course, by Santa himself — "Come to the barn to meet me."

In the blink of an eye, I was out the door, through the snow to the barn in my PJs. There waiting for me was the most gorgeous white Arabian mare!

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She quickly became my favorite horse, my friend and my confidante. She, along with my dogs, got me through some pretty rough times.

We all have our favorite memories of animals and Christmas time. I would just like to talk a little about our pets and safety at this time of the year.

Keep in mind that all the decorations and lights are a curiosity, especially to young puppies and kittens.

Certain things associated with the season are possible dangers, as well. Poinsettias, chocolate, nuts, raisins and small toy parts all can pose hazards to your pet.

Talk with your veterinarian to see if there are other things to watch out for in your home.

I also would like to just mention the act of giving pets for gifts. Although the thought behind it is warm and, forgive the pun, fuzzy, think carefully first.

Consider that the individual may want the opportunity to choose the companion themselves. Also, consider the possible financial obligations that are associated with the pet. Will it put too much burden on the recipient?

You also have to consider what other pets are in the home. How will they get along? How many do they already have? (There is a legal limit in town.) Is this animal the right one for this person?

Something to consider for those with pets are family pet obedience classes or maybe gift certificates for toys or food.