With Thanksgiving now in our rearview mirror, I know what you’re thinking:   “Can I please have a little break?”   But of course, the answer is no. If you celebrate Hanukkah, you know it begins on December 7. And if you don’t, it’s not like Christmas doesn’t loom large over the early days of this increasingly cold month.   And then, there’s New Year’s lurking…   “Can I please—?”   No.   So…if a break isn’t coming—and it isn’t—how might we help our animal friends get through these exciting, but possibly stressful, holidays in one piece? And maybe even have a little fun?   Well, much of my advice is the same as the tips I gave regarding Halloween and Thanksgiving (feel free to see my previous two blogs).

To recap quickly…   Don’t feed your pets any candy or sweets. And it’s best to keep them from people food in general, especially of the fatty variety.   If you’re having a party, keep your furry companions in a separate, safe space behind closed doors…with a sign on the door advising everyone that the cat’s in there resting, and would prefer to be left alone.  Throw garbage out quickly and properly, and don’t let your canines chew on any holiday decorations.  Make sure to watch entrances and exits in your home. You don’t want Dancer to dash away…

Remember, as the weather gets colder, make sure Snuggles is always someplace that stays warm. Keep in mind that if it’s too cold for you, Snuggles is probably feeling the chill as well. And make sure to keep our number handy should anything go wrong.   There’s more, of course, but did I mention my previous two blogs? Feel free to review them any time you might sense that you’re getting just a wee-bit panicky. Using a little common sense ahead of time might not create the break you need, but it can certainly reduce the stress you feel.

Now, I have some early holiday presents for you in the form of information, courtesy of my version of Santa Claus, the American Veterinary Medical Association (   Ready?   December is chock-full of pet-related…well, mini-holidays.  

For example, December 2 is National Mutt Day. I know some of you think that I just make these things up, but I don’t. And it turns out that National Mutt Day is celebrated twice a year: on July 31 and December 2. According to the North American Veterinary Community (, the day was created in 2005 by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige with the purpose of saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs.   So, if you missed it on July 31, here’s your chance to catch up…  

But wait…there’s more (What was that commercial again?)   December 4 marks World Wildlife Conservation Day!   This is a day designed to bring awareness to the fact that there are criminal networks out there which exist for the sole purpose of slaughtering exotic animals to sell parts and/or products that, unfortunately, command lots of money. Think rhino horns.  

You can take action by sharing this fact on social media and/or making a donation to the World-Wide Fund for Nature (   Oh, hey, what are you doing December 13? Well, that’s the National Day of the Horse. According to the American Horse Council (, “In 2004, Congress designated December 13th as National Day of the Horse, and has been celebrated each year since. The day was established to encourage U.S. citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.” “Horses have been inextricably linked to U.S. history and culture since its beginnings,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. 

“They have contributed greatly to the advancement of our society from tilling the fields to grow crops for early settlers, rounding up livestock on ranches, and contributing $9.2 billion to the U.S. economy.” “The AHC hopes that people will continue to recognize not only the importance of National Day of the Horse, but also the critical role that the AHC plays on their behalf here in Washington, DC.” The AHC would like everyone to post #NationalDayoftheHorse on social media that day, and to share any stories of horses that have brought joy to your life. Next up on December 15? Cat Herders Day. Now, technically, the day isn’t dedicated to herding cats. It really doesn’t have much to do with cats at all, actually.

What it celebrates is the people who can seemingly have impossible tasks thrown at them—in other words, herding cats—and still somehow manage to get things done. You know, like somehow managing to get through the holidays with our animal companions unscathed. In other words, this is a day where you will celebrate…well, YOU! How many holiday gifts are better than that? Finally, December 27 is Visit the Zoo Day. Does that sound like a cure for the post-holiday blues, or what? Let’s face it: the build-up to the holidays is frantically epic. But the day finally comes! And then, it’s December 26. Now what…? Sure, you can try to pretend that you really love Boxing Day.

Or you can attempt to convince yourself that New Year’s Day is just as exciting as Christmas (yeah, right). Or…you can plan a fun trip to the zoo on December 27! That sounds like the best present that you can’t unwrap—spending the day visiting with exotic animals that you don’t normally see wandering in the back yard (and thank goodness you don’t), and maybe teaching the kids to respect them. Best of all, you might not have to travel very far. A quick search on my phone yielded twenty-five results near us (we’re in Ferndale, NY, as you probably know). My only recommendation is to do a little research so that you only patronize places that treat the animals they care for humanely. And then jump in the car and have some fun! Whew! That’s a lot of celebrating to pack into one month. It’s a good thing we can take a break in January… I mean, we can, right? Take a break in January? Please?

Dr Barbara J Bodolosky

667 Harris Rd Ferndale NY 12734


Recent Posts