Pets are an essential part of the holiday season

January 8, 2013

Whew! Most of us are glad the end-of-the-year holidays are over and we can get back to our normal routine, a routine that includes hours of attempting to open products we’ve received which are encased in plastic. If you thought those pesky little packing peanuts were annoying, you haven’t tried to pry open a package of insoles.

This plastic has the consistency of a type of cement that is mainly used by the Mafia for stuff like cement shoes. People have used their teeth, often requiring tooth implants the following week; they’ve used scissors, stabbing over and over again like the shower scene in the movie "Psycho" and finally taken axes to a package containing two AA batteries.

I recently found out that the secret to opening these difficult plastic containers is to just give them to the dog. Any animal can shred this stuff open in a matter of seconds.

In fact, the only way I could get safely from the car to the back door on a visit over the holidays was to throw the granddogs two plastic water bottles. They pounced on them like a found winning lottery ticket. Once their attention was diverted, I made a break for it. I only have a few seconds to act, since the average attention span of this particular golden retriever and black lab is that of a 2-month old-infant.

It’s not that these dogs are dangerous, it’s just they greet you as if you have just come back from a deployment to Iraq and they haven’t seen you in over a year. They come running like thousands of fleeing Japanese in a Godzilla movie, then stop, remember why they are running, realize you are there and proceed to throw their paws around you, carrying on as if they have just been paroled from Sing Sing.

The good thing is, we live in a country where your health insurance will cover dog greeting injuries 100 percent. And most of the medical equipment, including crutches and walkers, is complimentary upon your release from the hospital.

We know that animals are a big part of our lives, especially during the holidays, where clothing for dogs and cats has become a billion-dollar business. We care about them, and more importantly, want their approval.

I took the granddogs on a walk in the park while I was visiting. The sun had just descended behind the trees and the path was dim with a nice dusky glow. Yet I found myself wondering why I was leading two enormous dogs with reindeer tiaras on their heads. I really couldn’t comment on them, since we passed a car on the way over with reindeer antlers sticking out from the side windows.  I guess what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and I have no idea what that means either. But dogs don’t really care what you think of their attire. As long as there is a scent in the air, you could put them in an apron and chef’s hat; it wouldn’t matter.

On many an occasion, I’ve turned my back and found wrappers from cookies, butter sticks, bread, birth control pills and the occasional Christmas gift on the floor.

As long as it will fit in their mouths, it’s fair game. They figure after you’ve let them in and out of the sliding patio door for the hundredth time, you won’t care either.

And if you catch them in the act, say, eating an eye of round cut of roast you’ve just paid $10 a pound for, the dog will get that expression on his face that says, “What? Are you looking at me?”

Yes, we have to have our animals during the holidays; they are great fun for a family and comfort for those alone, and they can open all the packages for you, since your hands will be curled into claws after they are pried loose from the steering wheel of your car where you been circling the last month looking for a parking space. So keep those pets warm and safe this winter.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.