(ROCKWALL, TX – Dec. 16, 2015) As Andy Williams would say – or sing – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Many a Rockwall County home is warmed by the presence of a Christmas tree. By now, those living rooms are bulging with small mountains of festively decorated gifts. But this season has me thinking about another special gift, one that takes on even more sentimental value during this time of year.
Since it’s Christmas, I’ll turn to the first book of Corinthians in the Bible to describe this special gift: “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” Those of us with pets in our families experience unconditional love every day of the year. But seeing the holiday season through the eyes of our dogs is an exceptional gift.
We adopted Lily and Petunia from the Rockwall shelter back in 2010. The twin sisters were only ten months old when they went home with us. I’ll never forget their first Christmas in their new home, because they greeted every holiday tradition and spectacle with sheer delight. Now that they’re six years old, their joy for the season has never diminished.
It’s like sharing the season with two children who never grow up. Their tails wag as soon as they see their stockings hung. They jump right out of the car when they arrive at Walls Family Farm in Terrell to chop down a Christmas tree. And their eyes twinkle each time the tree is lit at night.
Sure, their reaction reminds me of one of my favorite Far Side cartoons. Gary Larson drew a caricature of a woman pouring a can of dog food into a bowl. Behind her are two obviously excited dogs who exclaim, “Oh boy! It’s dog food AGAIN!” But the childlike wonder of Lily and Petunia mingle with my own nostalgia to create a magical feeling of love and joy during this special season.
Maybe it’s because Lily and Petunia help us celebrate the type of traditional Christmas we all dream of. Thanks to our pets, every holiday season is a time of family and happiness. Sure, you can Google thousands of commercial websites that urge you to spend the rest of your hard-earned salary on holiday loot for your dogs and cats. But that’s not what our pets truly want.
If your dogs are like Lily and Petunia, they feed off our excitement on Christmas morning. They love to go for nighttime strolls through the neighborhood to admire the decorations. They’re comforted by the togetherness of the season. And yes, they get excited about their Christmas meal, which is the same bowl of food they receive every other day of the year.
For those of you who’d like to experience an old-fashioned Christmas, give yourself an early gift. There are many wonderful dogs and cats who are in our local shelters. They’d love nothing more than to spend the holidays with you and your family. When we adopted Lily and Petunia, they were in danger of being put down at the Rockwall shelter. (That doesn’t happen any longer thanks to the Rockwall city council, who voted to put an end to the needless killing of shelter pets back in August 2011. The city council gave us all a gift that keeps giving!)
We’ve always thought that Lily and Petunia remain eternally grateful that we saved their lives. If you adopt a homeless pet for Christmas, I have no doubt they’ll give you the greatest gift of all: joy, thankfulness and especially love. And you have the added bonus of sharing their wonder at this most meaningful of seasons.
But, no matter if you’re looking for a new pet, have a house full or don’t have any at all, Lily and Petunia join me in wishing you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons and the wish for a prosperous and joyful New Year.
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