Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

A Holiday "Mess"age

by User Not Found | Dec 01, 2014

I have strayed from medical a bit with my last two blogs about retractable leashes and senior dogs so I was certain I would get back in to some deep science stuff this round.  Alas, the world of rescue always has other plans for me.  I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to tell you about the excitement the holidays bring.

For whatever reason, folks seem to decide that the holidays (any holiday really) is the perfect time to finally make the decision to drop their dog at the shelter. Shelters are jam packed contacting every rescue they know to help. Rescues everywhere are packed to the hilt, but will literally jump through hoops to make room for more dogs.  We stretch and scrape, call in favors and beg, plead and steel to save a life.  But it doesn’t end once the dogs are out of the shelter.  At that point an inevitable shell game of dog shuffling begins to place dogs in foster homes and keep them there.  We all have a bad case of TBD, that’s “Too Busy Disorder” for those of you that have time to pronounce the whole thing.  It’s the holidays and everyone is stressed, about delivering good tidings and cheer and all that.  We claim to cut back every year and make sure we are really celebrating what we should be during this time of year, but end up sneaking goodies and adding extra shots to our cocktails.  Don’t think that you are the only one dealing with stress, your dogs’ sense it too and they are just as wound up as you are, particularly those who are new to the pack. So let’s see what we can do to keep all of our Christmas cheer in the right place.

Decorate with pets in mind.  For me, this means putting a great wall of China around my Christmas tree with baby gates.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the problems that you can face when tinsel, garland, and ornaments become chew toys.  Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and potpourri can also make your pup very, very sick. Sticking to a routine is tough, but if you can get up just a little bit earlier to get your dog out for a walk or a game of fetch, the whole day will be better for both of you.  Everyone else will still be sleeping off their hangovers so both of you will get some bonding time and some peace and quiet. Your pup can maintain some sense of comfort knowing that they will get some one on one time every day even though your home is being invaded with visitors.

If you are traveling, instead of boarding your dog, consider hiring a sitter instead.  Who wouldn’t be more comfortable in their own home, especially when they can’t be with you.  If you’re having a party or some company, ask them to leave pets at home, if possible.  If you’re like my family, our dogs travel with us.  We make sure to introduce everyone properly (with a good walk before a good sniff) and bring along baby gates and travel crates so everyone can get some quiet time if they need it, particularly if they aren’t used to it all.  Loud noises and general chaos from excited kids is enough to make me want to bite my nieces too. 

Keep food out of reach!  There isn’t an empty counter in site this time of year.  Everywhere you turn, food, candy, and alcohol!  Not only are some foods, like chocolate and sugar substitutes poisonous, our celebratory feasts can cause pancreatitis and that means a trip to the emergency room due to vomiting and diarrhea in one very sick pup. Fun, not so fun Fact, foreign object ingestion is the most common emergency during this time of year. While these are good things to think about if you have a foster dog or have recently adopted a dog, they are also true for any dog.  The craziness of the holidays can bring out the unexpected. So whether its food, decorations, or just plain crazy town, plan and take some common sense steps to take care of that furry kid that depends on you.  They need someone to trust and to keep them safe and secure.  I’m pointing at you…..

Cheers!

Katie

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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P.O. Box 37156 Raleigh • NC 27627 • Phone: 919-676-7144