From Your Hometown Vet
How Cats Celebrate Christmas Why Dr. Smith Doesn’t Have a Christmas Tree
Christmas tree each year, from spray deterrents to hanging the ornaments on fishing
Barry the Cat here, and I can’t wait to tell you all about Christmas at Dr. Brea Smith’s house. I bet you didn’t know we cats celebrate Christmas, too. Of course we do! There are boxes to play in, wrapping paper to tear up, and trees to climb inside the house. How cool is that? Unfortunately, we don’t have a Christmas tree at our house anymore. That might have something to do with me.
line from the ceiling. This all sounds like overkill to me. It’s not like our house doesn’t have any decorations! Brea and Mike set up the Nativity scene each year. I like to weave through the figures, but even I wouldn’t dare try to steal the baby Jesus. Plus, all the animals have their own stockings hanging on the wall. It’s nice to live with a vet. We all get the best presents! The dogs will get candy cane-shaped dog treats, while Ben and I, the only two cats, get new mice toys on Christmas morning. Brea has always been good at buying gifts. One year, after the family dog passed away, Brea bought tiny heart-shaped urns for herself and her sister so they could each have a little part of her. This was almost 10 years ago, but it’s something they still treasure. The holidays are supposed to be a crazy time, but things are usually pretty relaxed at our house. This is because Brea and Mike spend the celebrations with the family at someone else’s house. Ben prefers this because he’s not much into socializing, but I love to be where all the action is. Hm, I wonder if we would host more family gatherings if we had a pretty Christmas tree to show off. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. May you have plenty of ribbon to play with and warm cuddles with your loved ones during the holiday season. –Barry
“It’s nice to live with a vet. We all get the best presents!”
The first Christmas I spent with Brea and her husband, Mike, I was so excited to see the tree. It was up for less than 60 seconds before I scrambled up the branches and sent the whole thing crashing to the ground. I thought it was pretty awesome, but Brea and Mike were less than thrilled. Fortunately, they hadn’t had a chance to decorate it yet, or I might have been in even more trouble. When she was growing up, Brea’s mom would get Brea and her sisters matching ornaments every year. So when they moved out on their own, each of them had a set of Christmas ornaments already. Brea would be devastated if any of these ornaments broke, so to play it safe, they don’t try to put up the tree anymore. I maintain that this saves them a lot of time when decorating for the holidays, but it’s become a running joke of sorts. The family sends Brea suggestions on how to keep me from messing up the
Your Hometown Vet
It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are a few things to keep in mind. Your Very Own Ugly Sweater Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore. What Exactly Is an Ugly Sweater Party? It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater- themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December! Ugly Sweater Parties A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow!
Is Love at First Sight Real? What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love
The idea of love at first sight is wonderfully romantic. Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. There’s an instant, magnetic attraction, and suddenly they’ve found their match for all of eternity. In a world in which dating often requires a lot of work — work that comes with disappointment, rejection, and uncertainty — falling in love at first sight has strong appeal. But can it actually happen? Can your eyes tell you anything about love? The connection between the eyes and love has been described in poetry and prose since time immemorial — it’s the stuff of heroic epics and fanciful fairy tales. And evidence has increasingly shown that the human brain is hard-wired to both display and notice visual cues when gazing at a potential love interest. Enlarged pupils are one such cue. When you survey a person or object you are interested in, your brain releases a surge of dopamine — a chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers — which causes your pupils to dilate. In this sense, beauty really is “in the eye of the beholder.” In the last decade, researchers have determined that from a romantic and reproductive standpoint, both men and women are attracted to partners with bigger pupils. Studies demonstrate that when women are at their peak fertility, they might subconsciously be more attracted to a person with sizable pupils because it could indicate a partner’s attraction to them. Likewise, researchers have reported that men seek out women with dilated pupils due to the association of larger pupils with youth and longevity. The connection between the eyes and enthrallment has inspired some of Shakespeare’s most iconic sonnets, and the science behind our eyes validates some of the Bard’s romantic claims. But does this connection between larger pupils and attraction corroborate the idea of love at first sight? If you believe that attraction equates to true love, then absolutely. But if your definition of love requires a little more depth, then you may have to toss aside the idea of love at first sight and instead view your partner’s eyes as mere “windows” to their soul.
Your Hometown Vet
A Visit From Santa Paws
How to Buy a Gift for Your Pet
PRESENTS FOR CATS Indoor cats don’t get much mental stimulation, so it’s important they have things to play with. If you’re in the market for a cat toy, you first need to determine if you have a bird cat or a mouse cat. Some cats prefer feathers and dangling toys that flutter in the air, while others would rather pounce on furry things on the ground. Don’t spend money on fake mice when your cat would be happier chasing a ribbon. Not every cat will be interested in toys, but there are other gifts that can keep your cat entertained. Tall scratching posts are often a hit, as are shelves or ledges that give your cat access to the window. Being able to sit and watch the birds and squirrels outside is great for your cat’s mental health.
Finding the perfect present is hard enough when shopping for family members who can tell us what they want, but what about our pets? If you want to have toys for your dog or cat under the tree this year, let these veterinarian- approved tips be your guide. PRESENTS FOR DOGS Treats are a popular choice for dog gifts, but you should avoid real bones and rawhide. Hard cow bones can hurt a dog’s teeth, and it’s common for pig ears or rawhide to get stuck in their intestines. When it comes to dog treats, processed goodies are actually safer for their health. In terms of dog toys, there’s no end to the fun that’s in store. Whatever toy you buy, always check for choking hazards before playtime and remove any rubber bands, strings, or plastic eyes that can be swallowed. On that note, make sure you don’t give your dog something they can easily tear apart. Dogs like ripping stuffed animals to shreds, but you don’t want them to swallow the fabric or stuffing. Consider more durable options instead, like a Kong chew toy.
In the end, you know your pet better than anyone. When you make safety a priority, you’ll be sure to find a present your pet will love for years — or at least until they finish ripping it apart.
Looking for an easy holiday roast that still feels elegant enough for the occasion? Look no further than this delicious prime rib flavored with garlic, thyme, and red wine. Ingredients Food Hounds ! HOLIDAY ROAST PRIME RIB
PAWSitively Hilarious !
1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• • •
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups red wine 4 cups beef stock
1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus.
Your Hometown Vet
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Season’s Greetings From Barry the Cat
Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas
What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love
What’s on Your Pet’s Wish List?
Holiday Roast Prime Rib
Hurricane Pet Hero
Hurricane Hero Tony Alsup
How One Man Saved Hundreds of Animals
In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self- preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion. Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out-of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama. The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he finished
there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with a heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”
Your Hometown Vet
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