Christmas is Upon Us

By on 21 December, 2016 in Holidays, Lynne Burford, Pets with 1 Comment

Christmas is upon us, with all its warm fuzzies. We have had our first freeze, first fires in the fireplace, and the baking has started. Tis the season of giving, of making happiness, of being grateful. Of using your heart.

DovieSince I write about pets, it is only fitting that my eyes are always open to ways to make the lives of our pets better. Clearly, food, water and shelter are first and foremost – agreed? After that, the lucky ones get special chew toys, warm blankets, trips to Starbucks for puppacinos, and laps to curl up in. As we bless them, they bless us. Studies have shown over and over that having a pet nearby lowers blood pressure, raises endorphins and can cure even the loneliest spirit. Do you know someone who is lonely? Suggest a lap dog. Take a pet to visit a shut in, or nursing home resident. Use your heart.

Many elderly folks must move to a nursing home or assisted living facility and cannot take their pets — heartbreak on both sides. Some families continue to care for the pets but many dump them at shelters or with rescues. It is the most gut wrenching thing to see the face of a much loved pet being led to a kennel, without anything familiar. It would be like someone taking you to Russia and leaving you in a cell. Please, if you have an elderly family member with a pet, make a plan ahead of time for what would happen if the pet found itself without its human. Use your heart.

For the past month, several animal advocates have watched a situation in midtown where three to five dogs are chained in a yard without appropriate shelter and water. Calls to the authorities have yielded minimal response. Those who are paid to be advocates fail these dogs over and over. Yet people who use their hearts continue to try to help. We are the caretakers of creatures who cannot speak. If you see something wrong, speak up. Offer help. Spread kindness. Don’t give up pursuing goodness.

There are so many people around us who feed feral cat colonies, spay and neuter and medicate and watch over them. There are tireless volunteers whose hearts break over and over when abuse is ignored or efforts to help educate people fall short. There are souls who drive transports out of state so dogs have a chance at being valued and loved. There are people who foster dogs in their already crowded homes so that the dog doesn’t have to remain in a concrete cell while waiting to be adopted. Be like these people in whatever way possible. Use your heart.

This Christmas, look around. If your neighbor’s dog lives outdoors, remind them that filling a dog house full of straw insulates it against the cold. Buy the straw if they can’t. If a dog turns his water bucket over, tie it to a stationary object. You can build a warm house for a cat with a Styrofoam cooler inside a large plastic bin. If you know a shut-in with a pet, offer to bring food and make sure they are checked on several times a week.

So many little miracles happen when we just use our hearts. Blessings don’t cost a thing and are the best of all gifts you can give. So, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas.

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  1. Thank you, Lynne, for this wonderful post. And please, Midtown Living readers, have a heart for our four-footed friends!

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