By all accounts, Americans love their non-human companions a lot enough to spend a collective $815 million on Valentine’s Day surprises and treats for their pets. Even fish will get a new toy, just for the occasion! Is it any wonder? Who else thinks we are the best thing that ever existed? Who else doesn’t care how we look, whether we are successful in our jobs or just getting by, or whether we really know what we’re doing? Who senses if we’re feeling low and comes to sit nearby for comfort, and never doubts that we are always the most important part of their world?
It’s been proven that pets brought into medical facilities help patients heal faster and bring down blood pressure and anxiety. In nursing homes a dog or cat can bring smiles to the faces of people who are confined to wheelchairs. Well, on Valentine’s Day we can return the love, even if our pets don’t know why the day is so special. At many local animal hospitals, the veterinary staff often invites clients (and their owners) to sit for portraits on Valentine’s Day, and to submit photos of the pets wearing a special red bow or bowtie…
Animal adoption agencies use the special day to display photos of dogs and cats who have been rescued and are looking for a home. The ASPCA offers heart-jeweled cat collars and Valentine dog tags for sale, the proceeds going to help animals in need.
Do you celebrate your pet on Valentine’s Day? If you’re like most of us, every day is special when it comes to our pets, but making February 14th a special event can be fun. So, what can you do with Fido or Peaches? Or for that matter, with your parrot or maybe your hamster or turtle or guinea pig? The gifts we get for our devoted furry and feathered friends make us feel good. Our pet may not know why they are getting them, but we do…
It can be catnip in the shape of hearts (pet stores always have those), organic treats, a collar with enough bling to make our cat stand out in a crowd, assuming our cat would deign to be around a crowd, a walnut to forage through for a parrot, a stuffed animal for a small dog to use as a plaything or a trusted pal. Large dogs are better off with leather to chew or a good-sized bone.
It doesn’t hurt to surround your pet’s sleep place with flowers and ribbons just for the day, too, though the shiny items could be used as chew toys themselves before the day is done!
For your dog, of course, a walk is best of all. Not the usual one where they are pulled along because time is short, it’s going to rain, you have to get to work, your mind’s distracted, but a slow one where you both stop and explore along the way, or have a good run together. If your pet can be free and off the leash, a game of throw and retrieve is heaven. Being out-of-doors on a good day and in your company is the best that life has to give, as far as a dog is concerned (along with meal time).
Some people cook their pets a special food – things they can eat but seldom get, again because time is rushed. Maybe some boiled fish for the cat, cooked carrots for the parrot, or sautéed chicken for the dog.
On Valentine’s Day you may have plans at night, or perhaps you just want to curl up in a chair with a good movie (and a box of chocolates). If you choose the latter option, you will be surrounded by a tired but happy menagerie, your dog asleep on the rug, your cat asleep on a bookshelf, your parrot dreaming in a covered cage. You can trust you’ve made their day, and very likely, your own.
Do you have more suggestions about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with or for your special pet(s)? We would love to hear about them in a comment.