Deck the halls with all your doggies, falalalalalala! With the holiday season now upon us, let’s be sure to share our decking and celebrating with our dogs!
Here are some ways I love to enjoy the season with my FiveSibes:
1. Have a Ball Wrapping Presents!
Let’s be honest, sometimes wrapping is not all that much fun, but I’m here to tell you that wrapping gifts with your dogs is pretty awesome. I have fond memories of Christmases past when my Siberian Huskies gathered with me around my Christmas tree all ready to “help!” Let me set the homey scene: Christmas music playing in the background, the tree lights twinkling, and rolls of festive wrap lying across the floor as my five curious Siberian Husky elves check it all out. As I wrap a gift, they chew the paper; I put on a bow, they pull it off! I have a cherished video of my one Husky pulling the paper off the roll with his teeth…I still chuckle when I look back at that Christmas!
2. Holiday Baking Taste Testers!
Are you whipping up some special treats for the human family this holiday season? Don’t forget your pups! I’m pretty sure as the house fills with the sweet smells of delicious home-baked goods, they will be sitting like statues, just waiting for a tidbit! Pull out those healthy canine cookie recipes and let them enjoy some tastings of their own treats while you sample yours!
3. Cuddle Time!
What’s better than cuddling up on the couch under the covers by the (real or faux) fireplace to watch some holiday specials with our family, which, of course, includes our dogs?!
4. Gather ‘Round the Tree for Family Photos!
While the kids are in their matching pajamas (and maybe you, too!) have the family dog(s) join in for a fun and festive photoshoot! Get the whole family in by using a tripod and setting the timer on your camera. Using your smartphone camera? Get a long selfie stick so you can still capture that special Christmas Eve or morning picture!
And what about those less fortunate dogs, who do not have a home for the holidays? Did you know you could help to make their season bright?
5. Take Time to Show a Little Love
Visit your local shelter or rescue and spend some time with the dogs. Volunteer to take a shelter dog out for a walk, play a game of fetch, or just spend some quality time giving them some love and cherished belly rubs.
6. Play Santa Paws for Dogs in Need
Many rescues and shelters have a program where you can sponsor a dog for the holidays. Call around and/or check rescue websites to see what the rescue dogs need. Maybe it’s a visit to play, or a new bed, treats, or toys. In the past, I’ve sponsored a long-distance Siberian Husky and in return, I’ve received a wonderful card and photo of my “sponsor furchild,” and I can personally tell you it felt really good to know I helped to make a difference for a dog in need during the Christmas season!
Currently, Forever Husky rescue is kicking off their new “Be a Santa Paws: Sponsor a Forever Husky for the Howlidays” program, and you can be an Elf from anywhere in the world to help!
To learn how you can play Santa for a homeless Husky, check out their website at www.ForeverHusky.org. For more Husky rescues by state, check out my listing at FiveSibes. Have a specific breed you’d like to help out? Visit RescueMe.org for a listing of rescues by state and also by country (http://www.rescueme.org/countries). Check out the rescues’ websites, and you do not need to live nearby to help. You, too, can be a long-distance elf either by a monetary donation, or you can enlist the help of mail and package delivery services to be sure your sponsored dog’s holiday gifts arrive on time for the holiday.
7. Recycle and Upcycle Much-Needed Gifts
You don’t need a lot of money to make a difference. As a matter of fact, you can take some of your extra dog toys, beds, and blankets, give them a repair, a good wash, and then donate them to a dog in need. Contact your local dog shelter, rescue, or dog warden to see what type of items their resident dogs need.
May your holiday season be bright, and filled with peace and cheer! Whatever your family’s traditions are, may you enjoy them all, and share some of those warm tidings of joy with a dog in need.
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibesâ„¢ Tales childrenâ€™s books Whatâ€™s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe's Dog Works Radio show." Named â€œBest Authorâ€ in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named â€œBest in Printâ€ by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association â€œExcellenceâ€ nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple DayÂ® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her homeÂ with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).