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:

More than 1,000 birds died at a lake in Southern California earlier this month, state wildlife officials announced Tuesday.
Newly declassified documents from the Pentagon reveal the Department of Defense funded projects that investigated UFOs, wormholes, alternate dimensions and a host of other subjects that are often the topics of conspiracy theorists.
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt says archaeologists have uncovered ancient tombs dating back to the Second Intermediate Period, 1782-1570 B.C., in the Nile Delta.
After a decade, the restoration of the tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt has finally been restored, a project described as a "must-see" attraction.
Archaeologists have discovered a rare death mask on a beach in Florida, a sign that more treasures may be nearby.
Over the past two weeks, numerous media reports have claimed that a team led by archaeologist Zahi Hawass is on the verge of discovering the tomb of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII at a site in Egypt called "Taposiris Magna."
Archaeologists in Scotland have revealed that a stone circle thought to be thousands of years old is actually a modern replica.
High levels of cocaine are causing some eels in London's famous River Thames to be "hyperactive," new research by King's College London shows.
The tiny, immortal hydra is a freshwater animal that can regenerate an entirely new animal from just the tiniest sliver of its body.
A man was getting ready to do his "business" on Saturday morning when he was startled by a large carpet python peaking its head out of the toilet.

Goldfish Tips - Keeping The Aquarium Clean

You do clean your house don't you? Well you have... Read More

Petting a Dog is Good For Both of You

Studies have shown that regularly petting a dog brings a... Read More

How To Use Leading Your Horse To Get Control And Response

I've been around many people who try to lead a... Read More

Horse Training Gets A New Face Lift From A 108 Year Old Horse Training Manual!

If you have a passion to learn all you can... Read More

Natural Approaches to Dealing With Pesky Fleas

Problems with Commercial Flea Killers & TraditionalFlea Bite Treatments***Chemicals that... Read More

Can Your Pet Stomach This?

Can Your Dog Stomach This?There's an old adage that says... Read More

Your First Cichlid Aquarium

So you're thinking about trying cichlids. A good choice. In... Read More

Must-Have Know-How On Your Dogs Meal-Times

One of the best parts of the day for any... Read More

Horse Manure Management--What are Your Options?

You need a strategy for using or disposing of your... Read More

What Your Cat Wants You To Know

If your feline friend could speak your language, here a... Read More

Natural Horsemanship Patientis: The 4th Of 6 Keys To Developing A Partnership With Your Horse

The 4th Of 6 Keys To Building A Life Long... Read More

Filtration Methods For The Discus Tank

Good filtration is the prime priority in the discus tank.... Read More

Top 20 Dog Quotations

Get to know your beloved dog better with these insightful... Read More

The 7 Stages of Puppy Development

Let's take a look at the different stages, but before... Read More

Dog Anxiety - Fear of Thunderstorms, and Other Dog Fears

How to Deal With Anxiety in Your DogAnxiety in dogs... Read More

Toby ? My Whirling Twirling Sheltie

Five years ago this August a funny little puppy came... Read More

Westie Rescue Centres

The aim of a Westie rescue centre such as the... Read More

Tips For Keeping Your Pug Happy And Healthy

Bringing home a Pug can change our life, but it... Read More

Distemper in Dogs - Home Detection Tips

Distemper: Spotting This Dog Killer Before it's Too LateCanine distemper... Read More

Cats and Their Allure: What, When, Where and Why

Domesticated cats have been gaining in popularity in the United... Read More

Alarm Clock Kitty, How to Stop Early Morning Meowing

Meow! Meow! Meow! I bury my head underneath my pillow.... Read More

Why The Horses Eyes Are So Important When Training Him!

They say the eyes are are the gateway to the... Read More

17 Tips Thatll Safeguard You and Your Family From Dog Bites or Attack

Did you know that more than one million north americans... Read More

A Dogs Tale

My name is Shadrach, and I am a dog -... Read More

Pet Ear Infections

Is your dog or cat tormented by ear infections? Do... Read More

retrofit led street lights street lights kayne Pete's produce ..