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Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving


During this Thanksgiving, we thought we’d take a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at what we, as a pet owning family, have been thankful for over our lifetime of sharing our lives with our much loved dogs and cats.  For Thanksgivings both past and present, we are thankful:

-When Coral, our Irish Setter, gets tons of stickers or prickly cactus spines in her coat on hikes, she is quite patient and calm during the long process of combing them out.

-When Coral broke her long line on a walk, she DID come back to us  - AFTER she finished chasing a flock of ducks across a frozen lake.  And we are particularly thankful the ice was strong enough to hold her and we did not have to call the fire department!

-That Coral didn’t mind the plumbers being in her house, and she only wanted to lick their faces as they were lying under our sink, rather than wanting to bite them.

-That during the last few months of her life as she became incontinent, Ashley, our Dalmatian only “pooped” in the house, because it was much easy to clean up than if she had been doing “number one” instead.

- That Blaze, our first Irish setter, stopped being afraid of thunder storms in her later years, as her hearing deteriorated and she could no longer hear the thunder

- That when Coral steals a shoe and drags it into the backyard, she doesn’t chew it up and usually leaves it where we can easily find it

- That our cat Tipper liked to sleep between our pillows, rather than on top of our heads

-- That Coral allows us to share the bed with her – even though she takes up an entire half of a king size bed, leaving us ¼ each.

-- The most recent loose dog that ran up to Coral on our regular walk (even though the dog shouldn’t have been off leash) was at least friendly and not aggressive

-- When Coral unexpectedly startled a skunk on a walk, the skunk only got slightly irritated and not really mad, and just barely sprayed her.

-- That Coral didn’t mind getting a bath to get the skunk smell off, as long as Suzanne climbed in the tub with her!

- That our cat Buffett would sit patiently on our shoulders, waiting for a chance to take a bite of the corn on the cob (one of his favorite treats) we were holding, rather than stealing it off the table.

While these examples may make it seem as though our critters are more trouble than they’re worth, that’s definitely not the case.  When they greet us with those joyous faces when we come through the door and snuggle up on the futon or bed with us at night, we wouldn’t trade them for anything.  We can’t remember a single day that Coral hasn’t made us laugh or smile during her 9 ½ years of life with us. And that’s the Thanksgiving gift she gives us all year long.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your critters.

Dr. Suzanne Hetts and her husband Dr. Dan Estep are Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists. They provide professional behavior education services online, and resources to prevent and resolve pet behavior problems to both pet pros and pet owners. Coral, their diva-dog Irish setter provides daily inspiration.
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