Drug testing

Give a Homeless Cat or Dog a Gift of Good Cheer

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, full of excitement , expectation, and celebration.

But for many it's also a difficult time. This is especially true for anyone not blessed with a close, supportive family, or those physically separated from loved ones.

Consider, among these unlucky souls, the four legged ones who have to spend their holidays--all of their days, in fact--at the local ASPCA or animal shelter. These poor creatures have little to look forward to besides hoping that some nice family will adopt them some day.

Pets need new games, new toys, new smells and experiences, and above all, exercise to be happy. Dogs and cats in shelters can get depressed, lose their appetites, and become more susceptible to illness.

I was pondering this recently, when a light bulb turned on in my head (figuratively, not literally). "Why not get all these lonely and stressed-out souls together?", I thought.

Now, I'm not implying that everyone who's feeling a little despondent or stressed during the holidays should run out and adopt a pet. Bringing home a new dog or cat is a serious commitment and should be done for the right reasons, and with plenty of forethought. But there are other ways to bring the gift of good cheer.

A lifting of the spirits is not only a rewarding gift to give, but is good medicine for animals and people alike. A happier animal is a healthier animal, and probably a more adoptable one. And a happier human is not only healthier, but more apt to enjoy the season of giving.

What could be more uplifting for both dog and human than bringing some inexpensive "kitty or doggie gift baskets" to a local shelter, and watching the residents enjoy them? You -- or the "holiday-challenged" people in your life-- could fill up a basket (or two, or three!) with healthy pet treats, amusing toys, or comfy blankets. You might want to check first to see if the shelter in your area allows this, or if they have a need for particular items.

If cat or dog gift baskets aren't an option, offer to take a canine resident for a walk. I recently learned about a retired couple who does this on a regular basis. They spend their entire day at the local shelter, making sure that every single dog has been walked. The couple does this twice a week, all year round. The dogs love it, and it's wonderful exercise for all concerned.

I know what you're thinking. But you don't have to do anything as time-consuming as all that. Just show up once or twice. A walk and some fresh air is a great way to alleviate holiday stress and you're sure to catch some of the light-hearted spirit that radiates from a happy dog. Tell a friend about it. Maybe they'll give it a try. Some might be inspired enough to become "hometown heros", like the couple mentioned above.

You might know an older retiree who considers dog ownership too much of a burden, but wouldn't mind taking a dog for a walk. If it's a friend or family member who walks but no longer drives, perhaps you could volunteer to drop them off and pick them up.

Giving freely of ourselves is one of best gifts we can give. But if all of this seems too time consuming, then a small financial donation would still go a long way. Lots of shelters have fund raisers this time of year, and odds are you won't have to look far to find one. In the end, caring is what really matters.

? 2004, Carolyn Schweitzer. Lifelong dog-lover, power-shopper, and former family dentist Carolyn Schweitzer is owner and editor of Great-Dog-Gift.com . The site offers a wide range of choices for dog gift shoppers, plus shopping and gift-giving tips. (Also advice on dog care and feeding.) She's always looking for new dog gift ideas and dog stories to share with her readers. You can reach her by email at netbrainer@verizon.net.

In The News:

A growing wild monkey population in central Florida has experts on edge, as these primates are carriers of the dangerous Herpes B virus that can cause severe brain damage and death in humans.
NASA is set to launch an Antares rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station from the space agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this week.
A wildlife refuge in Florida has posted a graphic image of a bobcat walking around with a dead iguana in its mouth, showing off its kill for tourists.
When Jeff Hill went to check on a friend’s father’s home after the devastating Camp Fire — which has killed at least 48 people and burned 135,000 acres thus far — blazed through an area near Paradise, Calif., he was shocked to see a large mule helplessly floating on top of a pool cover.
Archaeologists in Greece have located the remains of a lost city believed to have been settled by captives from the Trojan War.
A rare pink diamond known as the Pink Legacy sold at auction today for a whopping $50 million (CHF 50,375,000).
Officials with the Milton Police Department took a "drunk" raccoon into "custody" on Monday.
Jewelry that once belonged to doomed French Queen Marie Antoinette is set to go on auction in Switzerland Wednesday, where it is expected to sell for millions of dollars.
It fell to the seabed after the ship carrying it was wrecked upon rocks some 2200 years ago. It was one of the ancient world’s great wonders. And we had no idea what it was until 50 years after it was rediscovered by divers in 1901.
Russia has revealed a "spacecraft of the future" that could one day put humans on Mars.

Hamsters and their quest for world domination

"Hamsters?!" I hear you say. "Who cares about some fury... Read More

Treat Fleas Naturally and Avoid Vaccinations, for a Truly Healthy Dog

An essential to your dog's health is his/her regular annual... Read More

Dog Boutiques ? Perfect Pampering for Your Pooch!

Believe it or not boutiques for dogs are everywhere. Nowadays,... Read More

5 Things to Know about Animal Rescue Groups

Over the past decade, breed rescue groups have become a... Read More

Things To Think About Before You Buy A Pet Bird

While a bird is an easy pet to care for,... Read More

West Highland White Terriers - Make Your Westie Famous

The West Highland White Terrier or Westie, has it's origin,... Read More

Quickstart Guide to Making Your Own Pet Food at Home

As a pet owner, no doubt you want to give... Read More

History of Dogs? Or Maybe Wolves?

OriginDo you know that the adorable little puppy you bought... Read More

What Are The 6 Keys To Building A Life Long Partnership With Your Horse?

Most people who have horses would like to develop a... Read More

Choose a Vet Who Cares About Your Pet!

Lots of folks are picky about their vet, and for... Read More

Responsible Dog Ownership

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility, one that should... Read More

Your Kids Want a Pet, You Dont Want To Pet Anything

"Mom, can we get a puppy?" Who hasn't heard that... Read More

How Old is Your Pet- Really?

Just how old is your dog really? More than likely... Read More

How To Find Your Lost Dog

The first thing to do when searching for a lost... Read More

A Dog Day Care Franchise - Is It Really Worth It?

When you take into account that there are over 68,000,000... Read More

Dogs Get More Human Every Day

First pet stores began selling clothes for pets. Then kennels... Read More

Crate Training Dogs & Puppies- FAQ

1) Why should I crate train my dog? ... Read More

You Dont Get a Second Chance!

I'm sure you're aware of the bad reputation Pitbulls have.... Read More

A Look at Discount Dog Beds

Many people want to make sure their family pet has... Read More

Dog Travel - Taking a Vacation with Your Dog

Like most dog owners, you probably take your dog with... Read More

Social Robotic Dogs in Kennels

Have you ever been to a dog kennel and listen... Read More

Down On The Farm

As I listen on my long drive to my grandpa's... Read More

Chicken Compared To Chicken Meal

When selecting the best dry food for your dog, why... Read More

Chances Of A Lost Pet Being Recovered Increase

Every day we are looking for ways to make our... Read More

Proper Diet For the Discus Fish

The Discus fish has its habitat in the South American... Read More

street lights sodium street light changer Pete's produce ..