Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Choosing to Celebrate

Years ago, my dear friend, Trish, and I threw a birthday party for our dogs. Our dogs were brothers and we invited their littermates, previous litter half siblings, and a bunch of other collies. We invited people who loved collies, loved our dogs, and loved the things that we loved.  Goofy things like doggie goody bags, a soccer ball pinata filled with dog cookies, cut apples, and cut carrots, and dogs bobbing for apples in a wading pool.  There was a little agility course, just for fun, with hula hoops for jumping through, or just hula-hooping.  Trish grilled for the humans (yes, there were hotdogs for the dogs as well) and we sang happy birthday to our dogs as they turned a year old.  While I know there are some who would look upon that party as a ridiculous endeavor, I treasure those memories.  You see, that was our first collie and he died at a young age.  He didn't get a lot of birthdays, so I'm glad we celebrated that one.  And I am grateful for my friends and family who showed up that day and had a great time.

I've always celebrated the birthdays of my pets, even when they were rescues with unknown birthdates.  We just picked a date that seemed right, and that was that.  My pets didn't care (obviously); they were just happy to be celebrated, regardless of the day.  And that's the point.  Dogs do enjoy being celebrated.  They may not know what the fuss is about, but they like the attention, the treats, and the gifts.  Dogs are terminal toddlers; even the boxes and packaging are a gift to them!

This week we are celebrating Desi's 12th birthday.  This is a milestone in our home as none of our collies have lived this long.  We are grateful for every day with him and happy to celebrate his special day.  This year, he'll get to celebrate twice, once when his buddy Westley can be here, and once on the actual day.  Why not celebrate twice?  Getting to 12 years of age when you're a big dog is a big deal!  

I'm guessing if you've read this far, you're trying to figure out why I've told you all of this, and here's why.  Even if you don't view your pets as family members, or you don't celebrate their birthdays, you need to be kind to those of us who do.  While you may feel it's silly or frivolous, it's important to us.  I have clients who will sheepishly tell me when I arrive for an appointment that it's their pet's birthday. I always get excited and ask if we should sing them happy birthday and ask if they will be celebrating later.  I know that for my clients with their special needs pets, anxious pets, etc., reaching these milestones is a big deal.  By all means, let's celebrate!

So, by all means, celebrate those milestones with your pets. Post the pictures of their parties and gifts.  Don't shy away from doing so on my account.  Those are exactly the kinds of posts I like to see in my social media feeds; dogs and cats being celebrated and enjoyed for just being themselves.  

As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.

Happy 12th  Birthday, Desi!  
Enjoying his cake, his buddies, and the love of his family

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