Talking Pets: Last-minute holiday musings

December 21, 2012 

The countdown continues ... only four more shopping days until Christmas!

If you think you're done shopping but left your pets off the list, think again.

Don't creatures who bring so much to your life deserve something?

It doesn't have to be anything really expensive. Pets have no concept of how much things cost.

Here's a gift idea that costs very little, and you don't even have to wrap it:

Your time.

Play with that kitty a little longer. Yes, I know, cats can be quite independent, but kittens are especially playful.

Even older cats that may not be interested in chasing a stuffed mouse would appreciate an extra five minutes of petting or conversation.

By the way, I firmly believe our pets listen to us. Not just hear us, but listen. The sound of our voices is like music to their ears, especially when we say their names and tell them what a special kitty or good dog they are.

Here are a few more ideas for pet families:

n A decorative jar of goodies.

Ball or Mason jars are perfect for this. Just fill the jar with some tasty treats, then put the cap on. Cover the cap with a square of pet print material (an 8- or 9-inch square should cover a quart jar just fine), then put the ring on and close tightly.

If you don't have any old bandannas around or don't want to shop for material, try a pretty Christmas napkin. Or just put the cap and ring on and then tie a nice ribbon around the neck of the jar.

Homemade treats would make it that much more special, but some premium store-bought would be OK, too. Just be sure to "look for the union label," as they used to say.

n St. Francis medal or statue.

All my dogs have worn a St. Francis medal, and you can find some that will do double duty as a name tag. I found very nice medals at PetSmart for less than $15.

A word of advice: Be sure to get a heavy-duty medal. I had some small ones I got in the religious articles' shop at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Church, and they were not meant to stand up to the abuse they will get attached to a dog's collar.

n Donation to Manatee No-Kill.

This is a community that cares, as proven by the outpouring of love and monetary donations following the heartless attack on Axel the pit bull.

And this is a community that is getting very, very close to achieving its goal of becoming a no-kill community.

You can help by sending a check made out to Manatee No-Kill to P.O. Box 1992, Holmes Beach, FL 34218. You can designate it to go for medical needs in the memo field if you want.

This may be the most important gift you can give: the gift of health and the gift of life for shelter animals.

M.K. Means, Herald copy editor, can be reached at 745-7054 or on Twitter @BradentonPets.

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