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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is upon us again, and it presents different challenges for different people. There are those who are travel near and far to be be with their family and friends. Others may have to work and this means time away from family. Then there are those who just regard it as "just another day." Whatever their choice, it is still a favorite holiday season that so many look forward to. I know for myself, it is absolutely my favorite time of the year. Plus, it caps off a most incredible year of touring, book signing events and meeting so many awesome people in the process. For pet parents everywhere, because we regard our pets as family, having them during this time also makes the season a little brighter. It was during this time I saw so many pet parents and lovers of pets out doing a little "something extra" for their beloved animal companions. Just as many shop and buy gifts for their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, pet parents like to do the same for our "fur babies." Maybe a new bed. Some new toys for the cats to play with and enjoy. My two are being given the gift of travel. They love getting in the car and going somewhere new. I am giving that to them this year. As they abide with me, and remain faithful, loving devoted animal companions, I have the best gift just being with them.

I was recently downtown San Francisco, and I saw something that always tugs at my heart and makes me feel a little sad for my fellow man. It was early evening and a chill was setting in the air. It was going to be a cold night. I was walking towards my car when I saw a man huddled up in the corner of a closed establishment. I guess he figured with the holidays, the store would be closed and he could have a small, safe spot for the night. As I looked at him, I also noticed he had an animal companion. What appeared to be a shepherd mix was curled up beside him. He was gently stroking his dog, and I thought to myself , "he probably feels this is his best friend in the world and he is right here beside me." Not knowing his situation completely, it still warmed my heart that this man was not alone. Regardless of what others may think, he had the best right beside him. I stated in my book, "The Fur Beneath My Wings: Our Relationship With Animals and The Valuable Lessons They Teach Us, " that animals don't care if you're rich or poor. They just want to love on us and have us love them in return. I am always moved by these types of scenarios, and if I have the resources at that time, I try to get them some food (both human and animal alike). I always want to do more, but I do the best I can. It is in my heart to try an bring some degree of happiness and show them that someone.

The presence of animals in our lives makes each day seem better and offer us the best that life can give. To experience love, kindness, compassion and joy always makes a life better and worthwhile. Now, these wonderful emotions are not just experienced through having an animal, but through the presence of family, friends, our community. This is the time of year when it seems most people in and around the world share a common thought of good will and peace. How wonderful when we embrace this. It should not just be at this time of the year, but all year long. We should try to live this out each and everyday. That is why sharing these moments during the holidays makes us feel closer. How amazing that feeling would be everyday if we simply practiced this.

I am blessed to have my "fur babies", family and friends that love me in my life. I only wish for them the best and good thoughts throughout the year. For me, this everyday practice makes this and everyday I live, the most wonderful time of the year.

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