The Christmas holidays are truly a special time of year. It is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends laughing, reflecting, and rejoicing. All the special childhood memories of Christmas are still fresh in our minds as we strive hopefully to create wonderful memories for our children. I can still vividly remember the Christmas I got my first puppy for my very own. While visiting family the food is extremely tasty, but the real joy is the atmosphere including the smell of pumpkin pie, holiday decorations, and once a year conversation with certain family members.
Unfortunately, it is very easy to get caught up in the modern day Christmas of overcrowded malls and stress of making sure everything gets done. To make matters worse, all the retail stores in the country have established a single day once a year for having major sale prices known as “Black Friday.” Until this year, I had never been shopping on this particular day of the year. And now, I may never go on Black Friday again!
Just when the spirit of the Christmas holidays couldn’t seem to get any more depressing, I overheard some friends talking about not being in the Christmas mood this year. They went on and on about not decorating and not even putting up a Christmas tree this year. It’s not unusual this time of year for people to become depressed and not interested in holiday celebrations. With the recent economic strains on many, it’s no surprise that this year is no different.
By now you may be wondering how this has anything to do with being a veterinarian, being a pet owner, or caring for furry family members. As an optimist, I’m always trying to fix things. Therefore, I couldn’t help tirelessly thinking of some way to lift the spirits of those people who aren’t in the Christmas mood.
Furthermore, I wondered how in the world someone could stop the madness of Black Friday. Don’t laugh until you’ve fully heard me out. At first, I came up with the unique idea of organizing a group of volunteers of optimistic do-gooders to set up petting stations just outside of malls and major department stores.
The way I see it, petting your dog or cat greatly lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and generally makes you feel better. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense that everyone would be in better moods if they petted a dog or cat just prior to entering the stores?
No longer than it took for the idea to pop in my head, I had already decided that this wasn’t such a good idea after all. First of all, it would take way too many volunteers. Second, if someone got scratched or bitten it would surely cause a riot followed by multiple law suits.
So, I came up with an alternative and better idea to improve everyone’s shopping experience. I want to establish one particular day, preferably the day before Black Friday, as “Pet Your Pet Day.” Certainly, most pet owners pet their dogs and cats every day, even many times a day, but this would be a day set aside to ensure that pet owners petted their pets a minimum of 30 minutes. The petting time should be all at once, not divided throughout the day, and preferably just prior to shopping.
I realize this is a little too idealistic and pretty farfetched, but I just hoped to pay forward the Christmas spirit given to me from our clients. My inspiration was fueled by a Christmas card given to me from a client that read, “At Christmas, sometimes the best gift is the gift of friendship!” As far as I am concerned, that friendship could come from a person or a pet.
If you don’t feel the Christmas spirit this year, try spending more time than normal petting your pet, reflecting, and rejoicing! Remember; keep your pets healthy by visiting your veterinarian regularly to ensure your pets live a long, healthy, and happy life.