Including our senior dog Cleo into our family holiday traditions was fun but it always included food. In no uncertain terms she told us no amount of dog treats or the coveted chicken liver would get her to wear a Santa hat for the holiday card, but she would take that trade if it meant wearing a ringlet of bells around her thick furry neck for five seconds. We also paid her in salmon treats to quietly sit and let our visiting 92 year old aunt take photos with her. How do you incorporate your dogs into your family traditions?
Read this fun guest post by Maggie Marton, a friend of all things Grouchy Puppy, describing her wonderful family tradition of creating a special Christmas dinner for their herd of dogs and a cat:
I’m a Christmas fanatic. I know not everyone feels the same, but I love the twinkling lights and holiday cheer. I love to “deck the halls” and bake piles of Christmas cookies. I’m also a dog fanatic, so over the years, I’ve found ways to incorporate my little herd – dogs Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper, and cat Newt – into our festivities.
Each dog has an ornament (or three!) on our tree, from their first Christmas with us to a hand-painted ornament depicting the whole family. As we festoon our mantle, we hang each of their stockings in order of age. Of course, we don’t put their presents in until Christmas Eve to prevent them from feeling enticed to “open” their stockings early. Same goes for presents under the tree – those stay in the pantry until Christmas morning!
In Indiana, we tend to get our first big snowfall in December. That first morning the snow is above our ankles, we play a big game of “find it” in the yard, tossing a ball into the deep drifts. The dogs rip around, digging through mounds of snow, chasing each other, and gobbling up bites of the fluffy stuff. It’s become one of the most fun December traditions for them – and for us!
My favorite December tradition, though, is to whip them up a special Christmas dinner. (I know this doesn’t work for all dogs.My guys get a lot of veggies and cooked meat mixed into their food regularly, so their digestive systems are used to it. If you’re going to feed your pup a special dinner, avoid unsafe items like onion-filled stuffing, grapes, or too much dairy, and skip the turkey bones altogether.)
As we prepare our meal, we set aside a bit of dog-friendly dishes, like mashed potatoes (yep, with a little butter), green beans, cranberry jelly, and a small piece of turkey. Sometimes they’ll get a whole wheat roll, a dash of peas, and broccoli casserole. We make them each a plate to indulge in after we’ve finished dinner. Newt gets a few bits of turkey so she’s not left out of the fun. This little tradition, I think, makes them believe that it really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Then, we curl up on the couch and watch our favorite Christmas movie. The perfect end to the holiday season!
Have you ever made your dogs a special Christmas dinner? How do you incorporate your dogs into your holiday festivities?
Maggie Marton is a freelance writer and dog blogger (ohmydogblog.com). She lives in Bloomington, IN, with her husband and herd.