Holiday gifts for your dog

By Marti Benson

I wondered what Chip and Ernie might want for Christmas.

As I moved past the well-stocked shelves of candy-cane striped onesies, hoodies emblazoned with “Spoiled Rotten” or “Momma’s Boy,” and faux-Ugg fashion boots in the crowded store, I cringed. Nope—not canine apparel.

Because Ernie is on a restricted diet for his liver disease, Pup-Peronis, Beggin’ Strips and Grillers were out of the question. And with his bad back and worn teeth, Chip can no longer engage in his obsession with fetching. The Frisbees, footballs and flying squirrels are a thing of the past, unfortunately.

The pet beds gave me pause, and boggled my mind. There are so many kinds of beds! The novelty of a dog “sofa” tickled my funny bone. I pictured Ernie lounging in front of “Lucky Dog” or “Vet Gone Wild” on TV. But figured I’d need one for Chip, too. No room for two of them in our small den. The luxurious orthopedic beds with Memory Foam seemed ideal for my two boys’ senior bones. The cost, however, shivered me timbers. Besides– Ernie still nestles peacefully into his flabby and furry berth nightly. And Chip slumbers and snores with my husband and I, on our own bed.

What about a DNA test? After all, their mom’s breed was a complete mystery. Yvette was an emaciated waif that was found in a snowy ditch in December of 2006. She was brought to The Animal Clinic of Woodland Park (where I worked as a receptionist) by a Good Samaritan. As the employee of a veterinary clinic, she became one of my (several) job hazards. Lo and behold, on a snowy January afternoon less than a month after I began fostering her, she gave birth to three strapping boys. While one of the pups resembles her (Ernie), Chip and brother Robby look nothing like their mom. It might be interesting to see what science says that they are. But for now, the cost of the test is prohibitive.

When I get home and walk through the door empty-handed, Chip and Ernie greet me as if I’m the hero in a big ticker-tape parade. I sit on the floor as they sniff me, frantically nudge my hand to pet them and joust for space in my lap.

They don’t care if I don’t have a new toy for them. Or a new bed. They could certainly care less if I hadn’t brought them a fancy outfit to wear. They are just happy I’m home with them. As for me, it doesn’t matter if they are a dachshund, retriever or pit bull—I love them just the way they are and for whatever they are. All is well.

The greatest gifts cannot be bought, packaged or wrapped. The greatest gifts are these times we have—right now; in this moment—with our pets, and all our loved ones. Wishing you all a safe and peaceful holidays!

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