Animals know no holidays, which makes you wonder why humankind feels the need to celebrate on their behalf. Card companies have an entire section entitled “From the Pet.” Beats the occasional dead mouse or moldy shoe, and no doubt smells better.
Gifts to pet owners on behalf of their furry charges are an unanticipated kindness.
A single friend mentioned to his folks that while it was generous of them to set up educational trusts for his nieces and nephews, might it be fair to consider establishing a small veterinary fund for his schnauzer? After the initial guffaw, his mother took the matter under advisement. In legal terms that means she’s thinking about it. Veterinary bills can mount quickly and unexpectedly, so the request had merit.
If you’re not quite prepared to set up a canine endowment, consider these gifts for friends with paws:
- ASPCA FIRST AID KIT—They’re available online. These may not thrill the pet, but few households have emergency treatment supplies for animals. In the unhappy event the kit is needed, the owner (and pet) will be forever indebted to the donor. The Society has a list of suggested contents for homemade kits on their webpage.
- FIDO BAKERY/HOMEMADE TREATS—Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter have their own tasty line of inexpensive pet treats baked by volunteers and sold at the Dearborn Farmer’s Market and the Greenfield Village Farmer’s Market. Proceeds go to the Shelter. Ralph is partial to the peanut butter cookies.
- FREE PET SAFETY DECAL AND POISON EMERGENCY MAGNET—Every pet household should have a window decal for emergency personnel to use for identifying if a pet resides in the home. The ASPCA has a Rescue Alert kit available which can be ordered free online.The magnet has the number to call with in the event Fluffy ingests the contents of a Christmas Stocking or Santa’s snack. The toll free number to Poison Control is 1-888-426-4435. In those frantic moments when the number is needed, quick and ready access can help to save a family’s pet.
- CUSTOM PORTRAIT—If you’re in an exceptionally generous mood, or trying hard to score some points with the boss, a custom portrait of FiFi would fit the bill. These can be commissioned from a photograph, or better yet, Jane Oriel has several adorable posters available on her site which represent all sorts of popular breeds most with an uncanny resemblance to the resident furball. No one will know the portrait over the mantle was a copy, not a commission. Jane also creates unique personal portraits of pets.
- PET HEALTH INSURANCE—My friend’s mother might want to consider this benefit for her granddog. The ASPCA has a Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats plan which covers veterinary and emergency procedures. No family should be placed in the sad situation of having to chose between paying the mortgage payment or covering surgery costs for a beloved pet. That terrible dilemma can be circumvented by indemnifying little Rusty’s health up front. The ASPCA coverage is quite extensive, better than most human plans with a $100 deductible and 80% reimbursement of “usual and customary charges.”
- ECARDS—Jacquie Lawson designs delightful holiday and special occasion cards starring her romping black Labrador Retriever Chudleigh. These lovely animated cards are always welcome in the “inbox.” If you’re not inclined to purchase, spend a few minutes watching these magical miniature vignettes.
If gifts are not in the cards, then consider a long walk, a couple tennis balls or an extended game of ball toss. It benefits both ends of the leash, is easier on the wallet and helps to offset the “Christmas Seven”—the grown up version of the “Freshman Fifteen.”
Ralph’s discriminating palate won’t distinguish or care whether the Milkbones in his stocking are from the box in the cupboard or still wrapped in cellophane. Yesteday’s salmon would be the mother lode as far as he is concerned, but the smell’s somewhat tough to contain.
If the pet gift is designed to acknowledge the importance of the animal to their proprietor then consider the true recipient when picking the pet’s present. Their appreciation will be apparent, but hopefully not accompanied with a face lick.