Dear Santa,

It’s almost Christmas, and I’m so excited! I’ve tried to be a good little pet all year. My parents seem pleased with me most of the time. They say I was naughty when I destroyed the new couch, peed on the pillow, and tore open the trash. Otherwise, I’ve been on my best behavior.

Here’s my wish list for Christmas.  Hope you can make it come true.

1. New toy. I love new things to play with! Balls, or other things to chase, are up there as favorites. Snuggly stuffed toys are really nice, too.

2.Language. I wish my humans could learn my language. I speak to them with looks, wags, or a tilt of my head. My gazes mean I love you. I am learning their language, too. Sometimes I understand. But when I don’t, ask them to be patient with me. I am trying to be their best friend.

3. Food. Good food is good for me. I like to be fed a regular diet: same food, same amount, same time of day. Sudden changes can upset my tummy. While table food sure tastes good, it gives me indigestion. My humans shouldn’t tempt me because I don’t have enough willpower to say no.

4. Healthy Weight. Don’t let me get fat. I’m just a pet and it’s easy to overeat, so ask my humans to measure my food. Lean pets are healthier and live longer. Yippee, more happy years together!

5. Treats. They’re delicious, but I can’t control myself. My humans should keep these to a minimum. The occasional dry, crunchy treat or dollop of canned pumpkin is much appreciated. Please, no chocolate, chicken jerky, or artificial sweeteners. (Ask my vet if you’re wondering why.)

6. Parasite prevention. Help keep those pesky critters off my body! Fleas make me itch, and ticks make me sick. Other parasites like to live inside my body, too. Yelch. Could you give my humans enough medicine to keep those pests off me every month all year? Even this month – it’s December – but look how mild the weather has been. Parasites don’t check the calendar and they’re just waiting to munch on me.

7. Toothbrush. One of my favorite activities is to lick my humans and nuzzle their faces. Sadly, they turn away if my breath stinks. Could you give me a toothbrush so they can brush my teeth every day? I don’t like their toothpaste, though; it’s minty and makes me retch. I really enjoy the toothpaste made for pets, and it comes in yummy flavors like beef, poultry, and seafood.

8. Checkup. I’d like a doctor check-up every year, even if I seem healthy. I age seven times faster than my humans do, and little problems can crop up that may not be evident. Catching these things early will keep me comfortable and healthy.

9. Exercise. I was made for movement and my body loves exercise. My inner dog absolutely lives for walks with my human. I am happy and relaxed when we come home. My inner cat prefers to chase toys that resemble mice. This game is so much fun that I could play for hours!

10. Fresh water. Oh yummy, is any beverage better than fresh water? I like it in summer; I like it in winter; I like it in spring; and I like it in fall. You name it, fresh water is oh-so-good. Every day, ask my humans not to forget!

11. Clothing. It’s true, I wear my au naturel clothes all the time. That’s just how Mother Nature made me. But when the weather gets cold, an extra jacket can be helpful. For summer fun, please give me a lifevest. You may think I can swim, but I tire, too, and accidents can happen to pets.

12. Identification. I wish I could speak humanese, but I’ve tried and tried and it just doesn’t sound right. If I’m ever lost, I want to be able to tell people where to find my family so that I can go safely home. Please give me up-to-date identification. A collar with I.D. tag is a simple solution, but a microchip is even better. Microchips are permanent identification that won’t ever come off. Just make sure my humans know to register me and to keep their contact info current.

13. New bed. Everyone loves new bedding and soft blankets. Big thick beds are best for larger pets, and small fluffy beds are most comfy for little pets. You know which one is best for me.

14. Snuggle time. I saved the best for last! Snuggling with my human is my favorite activity. I’ll take whatever I can get – head pats, cheek rubs, couch naps, or all-nighters in the human bed.

Thank you, Santa!  Love, Fido and Fluffy