Every year as I make my Christmas shopping list, I find myself checking and rechecking to make sure that I have everyone covered. Did I send something to my husband’s great aunt? Do we exchange presents with those neighbors? Oh my god, I forgot to get something for the babysitter!
Each year my dog gets a gift in his stocking. Yes, the dog has a stocking. It hangs next to the kids’ on the mantle, and so, apparently do dogs in 40% of dog-owning households. The gift is nothing elaborate, usually a bag of treats or a Himalayan Bone, his favorite. Truth be told, I buy these things for him year round, but at this time of year, I take the opportunity to put them in the stocking.
We also have an extended family of dog-lovers so my parents’ and in-laws’ dogs get gifts, too. These gifts are usually treats or a great chew or toy I have discovered. I will sheepishly admit that the gift tags on those presents may say that they are from my dog.
We also include the dog on our Christmas card. This year, he just gets a small picture on the back, but our dogs have often been included in the family photo. In this we are apparently not alone either. 64% of pet owners report including news of their pets and 36% a photo of their pet in their holiday card.
To many non-pet owners, this level of inclusion of pets in a human holiday may seem a little silly. To those of us who live with them, though, it’s completely normal. These animals live with us as a part of our families and the holiday season is all about family. We buy gifts for those we love and send news and pictures of family to those far away. Why wouldn’t your dog be part of that?