The holidays may be a time of joy, love, families, good food, gifts, warm fireplaces and snowy forests but along with that comes:
Black Friday. Black ice. Blizzards. Sleeting rain. Traffic jams. Crowded malls. Slippery sidewalks. Travel delays. Colds and sneezy runny noses.
Don’t let the second list overshadow the top one. The best way I know to beat the stress of the season is to cuddle up with my dog on the couch by the Christmas tree. Studies have shown that people with pets have lower blood pressure and are depressed less often. This isn’t new information to those of us with animal friends. However, in this busy holiday time we tend to forget this tried and true remedy. When I was out shopping back in Boston in the 20 degree weather and I came in from the cold, I couldn’t think of a better way to warm myself than to sit down next to Morgan and give him a big hug and run my cold hands through his thick fur. He never balks at this extra attention and affection.
I love Christmas music and one of my favorites is the Little Drummer Boy and the “rum pa pa pa pa.” But it will never compare to the bang, bang, bang, of Morgan’s tail when returning home after standing in line at the post office to mail gifts to my family in New England. No matter how tired I am his greeting energizes me and in no time at all we are out on a walk and I’ve forgotten the tension of the traffic and the insanity of the post office.
Once back after a brisk walk in the dry-cold desert air, I make my favorite holiday drink, a steaming hot chocolate. I’ve tried lots of brands, including imported ones, and my favorite is still Ghirardelli double chocolate. I acquired a taste for it when living in San Francisco, the worldwide headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. I take out my special Christmas mug and heat up some milk and stir in 2 scoops of the dark aromatic powder. Morgan comes running over to the kitchen because he knows what’s next. Actually, Morgan comes running to the kitchen anytime one of us goes there. He might be in a deep sleep at the far end of the house and the tiniest noise in the kitchen and he suddenly appears bright-eyed and tail wagging. But for a moment, in this Christmas story, let’s pretend that he’s at the kitchen for this special occasion. I take out one of his peanut butter scones from our local pet bakery, Bones and Scones, and my homemade chocolate chip cookies. I find a place on the floor and we share our treats. Morgan’s scone looks so good that I’m tempted to give one of them a taste. But then he’d want one of mine and I nix the thought. I close my eyes and wrap my arm around Morgan and take a moment with man and woman’s best friend (cat or dog). It’s the best way I know to keep the yuletide bright.
Have a great Holiday with your favorite animal companion.
Morgan and Dan