Wednesday, December 12, 2007

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #45 -- Caring for Critters over Christmas


“The Gal worries.” It’s a phrase coined by my best friend and embraced by many in my life. Because if I’m awake, I’m worrying. And there is no time of year more worrisome than Christmas. I worry about neglected soldiers (Operation Shoebox) … and children who won’t get gifts (The Today Show Toy Drive) … And right now, I’m worried about pets. Your pets, my pets, stray pets. Here’s my attempt to make the holidays safer and a little more merry for the four-legged family members everywhere.

1. When it comes to mistletoe, hang it high. If ingested, mistletoe can not only upset a tummy, it might even cause cardiovascular problems.

2. While poinsettias probably aren’t as deadly as once thought, they’re still not good for dogs and cats. They can still cause nausea and diarrhea – which can be hard on both you and your pets.

3. Turkey leftovers are not for pets. They can tend to be greasier than your dog or cat are used to, which can cause indigestion. And poultry bones splinter too easily to be safe.

4. Keep chocolate off limits! It’s not good for cats and positively dangerous for dogs because it contains theobromine.

5. Candy wrappers aren’t any good, either. Aluminum and cellophane can appear irresistible to curious critters (like my bundle of feline energy, Reynaldo), but if swallowed, they can cause tummy troubles and intestinal blockage.

6. Ditto for tinsel.

7. Make sure your tree is securely anchored. This one comes from my mom. One night, when we were all asleep, our beloved family cat Tommy decided the Christmas tree simply needed to be climbed and he toppled it. That’s when she began running a bit of fishing line between the tree and a small hook in the wall. It’s almost invisible, but it does the trick!

8. Pets and tree stands. Every year, dogs all over the country suffer tummy troubles and occasionally even sores in their mouths from lapping up the water at the base of Christmas trees. It happens to cats now and again, too, so all pet owners should be careful.

9. Watch your pets when company arrives and leaves. Those open doors can be awfully tempting. I know, because Reynaldo is always ready to make a run for it. (Fortunately, I live on the fourth floor and until he can figure out how to use the elevator, there’s really nowhere for him to go. Besides, once out in the hall, he just calls me to join him. He seems to want us to run away from home together.)

10. Keep your pet in a quiet place during holiday parties. A lot of guests can mean a lot of stress for your dog or cat. Plus you can’t be sure that every invitee (especially the young ones) knows how to be gentle with your pet. A quiet bedroom is often the perfect place for your pet to spend a party.

11. Be careful in your garage! If you decide to keep your dog or cat in the garage during a party, make sure that it’s warm enough, and that there aren’t antifreeze spills. Antifreeze is positively deadly.

12. Keep an eye on your garbage, too. Ribbons, leftovers, candy wrappers … your trash can be filled with dangerous – but irresistible – stuff this time of year.

13. Be careful when you start your car. There are lots of sad strays out there, looking for warmth. And there are still plenty of cat owners who refuse to see the wisdom of keeping their cats indoors. So to make 100% sure that you don’t hurt a cat when you start your car, hit the hood or honk the horn before you turn the key.

I've also found that  I worry a little less about homeless pets after I make a contribution to my local animal shelter. If you're looking for a shelter that could use your help, visit

Leave your link in the comments and I'll add you here. (I'm doing browser battle with my new laptop and may not be able to leave a comment on your blog, but I'll do my best to include you here. Thanks for your patience.)

1. Holly's in the Christmas spirit and shares it with her TT
2. Sandee has a funny take on The 12 Days of Christmas
3. Lori has some warm and witty tips for dads
4. Candy Minx revisits the 1980s
5. Chelle lists her favorite carols
6. Nicholas has another of his book TTs, as only Nicholas can write them
7. SJ's TT demonstrates how passionate she is about the holidays
8. Ellen b has devoted her TT to Handel's Messiah
9. No Nonsense Girl has a random, wacky TT
10. Malcolm has a musical TT
11. I just loved Greatfullivin's TT
12. Courtney's TT is a list of 13 miracles
13. WorksforMom's TT is so tacky it's delightful
14. Sandy explains a "strange December phenomenon"
15. Jenny McB takes on holiday/life questions, including ch-ch-ch-chia
16. Bookmama has a lovely TT about memorable gifts
17. Susan Helene Gottfried shows us how ShapeShifter got into the charitable spirit of the season
18. Yummy recommends some fascinating sites
19. Shesawriter has the most gorgeous movie TT!
20. Natalie's TT is enjoyably random
21. Damozel has a critter TT, too
22. Xakara owns up to her geek crushes
23. Joy Is My Goal has perhaps the ultimate Christmas TT
24. The Mocha Mom has a factual TT about herself and her family

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thanks to Sparky Duck at Philly Transplant

You Are a Fruitcake!

You taste like nothing else in this world.
And get ready, you're about to get tossed!

"No religious test shall ever be required …

… as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." That's from our Constitution. Pretty nice document, that Constitution. I'm an unabashed fan.

"I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior." That's what I have said in church. (Emphasis on the "personal.")

With those two statements in mind, I implore all the Presidential candidates to stop invoking Jesus and Christianity! There is no one way to worship Christ. No public figure (not even Tony Perkins or Pat Robertson) has a direct line to Jesus. And, considering that being Christian or even believing in God at all is not a requirement of the Presidency, I don't see how any of this is relevant anyway.

After all, we have a President now who insists that Christ "changed his heart." I am left to wonder what his heart was like before. He has lied to us, looked the other way when his staffers lied to Federal Prosecutors, endorses waterboarding, ignored the devastation of Katrina, underfunds social programs … He seems sure that Jesus won't mind any of that as long as he protects fetuses, stem cells and the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

The Jesus I pray to and speak with doesn't agree.

So let's leave Jesus out of it. Let's accept Mitt Romney at his word when he says he's a Christian and leave it at that. Because, after all, it really is none of our business, nor a requirement for the office he's seeking. 

And in the spirit of the season, let's give Jesus a break. Let's hold Him in our hearts as our personal savior. Let's not parade Him around, just to pander for votes. Let's show a little more respect for the way others worship Him, and enjoy more privacy in and reverence for what is, without a doubt, the most personal relationship any of us will ever have.