The holidays can be a great time for artists and their fur family members. But sometimes, the pets can feel neglected in the swarm of holiday party gigs, extra projects created for gifts or shows, extra side jobs to finance Christmas shopping, and all the potlucks and parties and dinners out of the home we all have coming up. Making pets feel like part of the festivities can help keep things fun for all of us.
Take a yearly holiday photo with your pet.
Sometime after Thanksgiving each year, my fiance helps me put up and decorate the Christmas tree. Each year, I make sure to pause all the chaos to take a picture of him holding Callie. She gets played with and held, and reminded that we love her when we just moved her bed to the other side of the living room and dragged a bunch of weird scents from the storage closet all over her home. We get a great holiday keepsake. And it costs us all of ten minutes and zero dollars.
Buy a stocking for your pet to hold a gift or two each Christmas.
Giving your pet a little gift or two helps them feel included, and it’s so sweet to see them happy to receive something. Some bigger dogs can help open their wrapped gifts, or even get the paper off themselves. Cats typically don’t see the need to bother to try. Presenting them with things that interest them is your job. Smaller dogs may have trouble getting paper from presents. Invest anywhere from $1.00 to $50.00 in getting your pet the best stocking you can afford instead. Lay it under the tree when you decorate each year, and tuck a toy and a treat in there for your pet to find on Christmas morning.
Add an ornament to your tree, mantle, or shelf each year. Choose something that reflects your year. Include your pet.
My tree is decorated in traditional Christmas tree style with multicolored lights. I don’t do themes or stick to one or two colors. My changes come when I add one ornament that reflects the year each holiday season. If the chosen ornament only reminds us of something that happened to the humans in the family, then Callie gets her own ornament added to the tree. Our first Christmas tree in New York featured an “S” ornament. I got officially engaged on Christmas Eve 2017, and added that since my last initial will never change. A little dog that looks like Callie was added as well. Our 2018 ornament is a Holy Spirit symbol, a dove. I chose it because 2018 was the year I was baptized. Our tree also included an ornament made from a ribbon with “Callie” spelled out in scrabble tiles. The name ornament was a beautiful gift from her groomer. She has a little bone with her name on it in red from her groomer waiting for us when we put up our 2019 tree.
Buy a gift, or make a donation, to help a pet in need.
If your holiday traditions include donating to a food pantry or shelter, consider adding some pet items to your list. Those with very limited financial resources may need dry or canned pet food, clean bowls, harnesses, leashes, blankets, potty pads, toys, or safety gates for their animals. You may also want to consider a donation to the “angel fund” of your vet’s office, to help those who cannot afford needed healthcare for their beloved pets.
Add your pet’s name and personality to gifts, or give small gifts from your pet to those who know him or her.
Gifts to my parents are always from all of us, including Callie. Sometimes Callie even gives a little gift by herself. Most gifts that include treats are from Callie, since nobody knows treats better than she does. Of course, your cat or dog does not know they are being included, but it usually brings fun memories of your pet to the gift recipient.
If you and a friend or family member share a love for a particular breed of cat or dog, consider giving a gift with that theme. Coaster sets, mugs, socks, earrings, ornaments, candles, calendars, shirts, bags, and even games are available featuring various breeds of cats and dogs.
Pause to remember those pets celebrating in heaven this year.
Tell a funny story, buy an ornament, or eat a favorite food that reminds you of those forever pets that have gone on before us. Make sure to leave something out if you need to temporarily pack up a pet’s urn, toys, pictures or other mementos to make room for holiday decorations. Your pet would not want you to be sad this time of year, or to dwell on them being gone, but it is always good to remember the joy they brought to your life and the lives of the other pets they lived with in your home.
Include pets who would enjoy it in community holiday activities.
Look around social media and the traditional newspaper for announcements about pet related activities this holiday season. You might find pet portraits, pet struts or fairs, or pet related activities available throughout the community. Check carefully to make sure the event is meant to include you and your pet, and make sure it’s something your pet would enjoy first, but if if works out, make it a yearly thing.
Callie wishes all the pets and pet parents out there a great start to the holiday season!
Callie’s Corner is sponsored by Larry Szabo in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Donate or learn more at www.stjude.org
Today we are pleased to launch a new series on Artist Cafe Utica. Welcome to Callie’s Corner.
Callie is a four year old Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. She lives and works here at Artist Cafe Utica headquarters, a.k.a., my apartment.
Her favorite foods are chicken and peanuts. She loves watching t.v. with her Mommy and Daddy, beating up an orange toy fox named “Donald,” and placing pieces of food around the house so she can pounce on them.
Callie’s Corner will feature articles about artists and our pets. We will review pet products, pet services, books about pets, and pet related events. This section will also feature pet related editions of prompts, reflections about our pets and their importance to our lives, and features about local artists and their pets.
Artist Cafe Utica would like to thank Larry Szabo for sponsoring the entire series of articles devoted to artists and our pets.
Most sponsorships are done by businesses. The business sponsors the article or the series. In exchange for that sponsorship, the business is advertised before or after the article, or each article in the series.
Larry does not own a business. He is sponsoring the series as a private individual. Since he does not need his advertisement space for a business or service of his own, Larry would like to donate his space to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is commonly referred to as “St. Jude.” or “St. Jude’s.” Its mission is to treat, defeat, and of course, cure childhood cancer and other diseases.
Join Larry in supporting this important work by visiting www.stjude.org and clicking on “Ways to Give.”
Look for articles about celebrating the holidays with our pets in coming weeks.