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Pets and the holidays

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The only bad holiday incident I've ever had with any of the critters here was fairly minor and quite a long time ago. Yuki was about a year old at the time. She knocked over the Christmas tree when I was at work; fortunately it was artificial with no water to spill, the lights were not plugged in at the time, and amazingly, the couch, carpet and tree "needles" cushioned the ornaments and none of them broke. I did not see her for almost 24 hours following the incident since she apparently knew that knocking the tree over would be not be looked on favorably by the biped in charge.

That story had a happy ending but I think I will still include a few reminders about some holiday items that are dangerous to pets:

Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia: Mistletoe and holly are quite toxic to animals, especially the berries. Contrary to popular belief, most varieties of poinsettia are not particularly toxic (certainly not as dangerous as the other traditional Christmas plants). Poinsettias will cause nausea and indigestion for most animals, though.

Chocolate: Of course chocolate is a year-round item in most households, and should always be kept out of the reach of pets. Since the holidays are also a time when many of us are baking, be aware that dark cooking and baking chocolates are much more toxic to animals due to the higher theobromine content.

Decorations: Tinsel isn't toxic but can cause choking or intestinal obstructions. Angel hair can cause respiratory or eye irritations.

Food and drink: Alcohol in any amount, or excessive amounts of fatty leftovers, can be dangerous to pets. Make sure your holiday guests don't help your pets overindulge either.

One more thought on pets and the holidays... warm and fuzzy commercials notwithstanding, giving a live animal for Christmas is not a good idea. If you are thinking about doing this, PLEASE reconsider.

Even if the whole family has agreed that a new pet should join the family, bring him home after the holiday bustle and stress has subsided and everyone has time to help acclimate the new family member into a normal routine.

Oh... I believe that our family and friends know us well enough to know that we would not want a "surprise" Christmas pup or bird, even with the thoughtful intention of helping us through the losses of Jake, Missy and Charlie. Uh, and if any of you didn't know... you know now, right?


A little grey bird flew up to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday evening, and spent some happy moments dive-bombing Jake and Missy. Or so I hope.

Charlie was with me for more than 21 years and through most of the major events, good and bad, in my life. Make that ALL of the major events in my adult life... I was only 23 when I bought her back in 1981. We were lucky to have her for an additional seven months after her serious illness in the spring.

Dear God... no more goodbyes for this family for a while... please?

Dear friends... you'll forgive me if I'm not too talkative for a little bit... I hope?

About the veterinarians...

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Remembering Printz was posted to one of the rottweiler discussion lists and it is a sad reminder that basic veterinary care in many parts of the world is not anywhere near what we in the United States take for granted.

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