Paws to Give THANKS!

Thanksgiving reminds us to “paws”, and reflect on the many, many simple things for which we are thankful. With our days packed with responsibilities, and our world filled with stress and tragedy, it is easy to focus on the negative aspects of our lives, and take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. Faith, family, friends, and furbabies. We are all rich, if we add up our blessings, we realize that we should have an attitude of thankfulness, not just once a year, but all year long. Matthew Henry said, “Thanks Giving is good, but Thanks Living is better.”

It was Thanksgiving time when Rev Melissa Billing became aware that her area animal shelter had just rescued a dozen puppy mill dogs, and she decided that it was time to put Thanks Living into action. She was shocked to see the condition of the dogs, and was especially drawn to a little one huddled in the back of one of the kennels.

Billing tells it this way: “She was quite a mess; with a lot of hair missing and sores all over her body. When the shelter attendant tried to coax her out of the corner, she urinated on herself, and curled up in a tight little ball, shivering violently. The gal just shook her head, and scribbled a note on the chart hanging on the dog’s cage. Apparently this one was considered unadoptable. Her future was certainly not good. Impulsively I blurted out, “I’ll take her.”

A vet check confirmed that she had numerous mammary tumors, the result of too many litters of babies, but she was so undernourished, it was decided to postpone the surgery for awhile. Then one day, she had a seizure…she had epilepsy. It was weeks before she would even come close to us, but slowly she seemed to realize that she had a home and someone who would care for her forever. We named her DeeDee and although she no longer had continual litters of babies, it was almost as if she decided that her stuffed, plush donkey toy was her baby, and she carried it around from place to place. She even refused to go for a walk unless we took the donkey. My husband and I laughed at what the neighbors must think about two adults carrying a stuffed donkey with them when they were out walking the dog.

The months seemed to just fly by. We had her mammary tumors removed, and the meds controlled the seizures, but her life of fear and neglect at the mill had taken a horrendous toll on her. She had lost most of her teeth, and her eyesight was minimal. She loved us, and we loved her, but her body was just worn out, and she left us the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We did all we could to save her, but it was not meant to be. She passed away quietly and peacefully. Her passing at Thanksgiving was very sad, but appropriate. For you see, she was a blessing…a blessing in our lives for which we will be forever thankful. She came to us, discarded, sick, and without hope. In that year, we all learned what love could do. She taught us about loyalty and gratitude and forgiveness. We miss her! “

Be thankful for faith, family, and furbabies…they are all precious and priceless. Have a blessed Thanksgiving as you count your many blessings, and look forward to a year of Thanks-Living!!

Give Thanks for Faith, Family, Friends & Furbabies

Thanksgiving is almost here, and it appears that everyone is already frantically searching for the “perfect” Christmas gifts for those people who already have everything, but let’s pause and reflect on our many, many blessings.  Edgar Guest echoes my feelings about this neglected holiday:

“It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell on the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well, but thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know a simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago… get-together days with laughter ringing throughout the house, chatting, and sharing our hopes and dreams.”

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for our faith, family, and friends, and let’s not forget our furbabies. Our pets bring comfort and unconditional love to our lives with their nurturing, therapeutic spirits, and we are thankful for them, but sharing our dinner with them on this food-oriented holiday is not a good idea.  With the usual abundance of food, it’s a temptation to share, but too much fatty, rich food can give your pet pancreatitis which can be life-threatening.  Bones can splinter and stick in your dog’s throat, stomach or intestines, causing choking and intestinal blockage, and if a bone perforates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, its contents will spill into the abdomen, resulting in infection and possibly death. The tasty string often used to tie up the turkey during roasting can also tie up their innards, and even the bag your turkey comes in and the little red “popper” pose threats.  Dogs should be kept away from alcohol, coffee and tea, bones, chocolate, garlic and onions, potato skins, grapes, nuts, yeast dough, and fruit seeds and pits, and you should store leftovers, trash and garbage securely away from your pets. According to the ASPCA, the number one problem that veterinarians see during the holidays is dogs eating food that they shouldn’t eat. Foods that cause the most problems include bones, turkey skin, gravy, dough and cake batter, beer, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage, nutmeg (which is often found in sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin pies and many desserts) and chocolate.  The risk to your dog’s health isn’t worth “treating” him to any of those foods, (and it’s tough to be thankful if you are missing out on all the fun while you sit in the emergency vet clinic with a sick dog.) When those beseeching, soulful eyes look at you, begging for a thanksgiving treat, remember that much of your feast is not fit for your pet. offers these suggestions for healthy treats that can safely be given in SMALL portions:

  • Sweet potatoes without the skin or seasoning
  • Raw apple slices
  • Either raw carrots or steamed carrots (or green beans) without seasoning
  • Yams with NO brown sugar or marshmallows (or nutmeg)
  • Mashed potatoes without the gravy
  • Pumpkin BEFORE you turn it into pie mix….PLAIN pumpkin (again without nutmeg or seasoning)
  • Small bits of turkey without skin or bone

By following a few basic tips, both you and your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving.  Have a great day GIVING THANKS for your faith, family, friends and furbabies! No price tag can be placed on any of them.