This is my first Christmas with Dipper and I am beyond excited. But I often have to remind myself that Dipper is a dog and simply has no idea what Christmas is. To him, Santa hats and holiday photos are a nuisance, and no doubt a source of anxiety and confusion. It’s by no means cruel to put a hat on your dog for some photos, but don’t make that the only bit of the season he gets to experience! Here are some better ways to spend the holidays for Philly-area owners and their dogs.
Take a long walk and enjoy the lights
Growing up, one of my favorite things about Christmas was looking at the neighborhood lights with my family. Light-up reindeer and plastic Santas continue to be a vital part of my Christmas experience. Try going for a long walk around your own neighborhood with your dog—he will appreciate a chance to take in the smells of the season while you look at the neighborhood lights and decorations. There’s something wonderful about getting to do the same as I create my own life here in Philadelphia with Dipper.
Check out some pet-friendly events and locations
Speaking of lights, while you can’t bring your dog into Macy’s for the light show, there are plenty of outdoor options to enjoy together. Franklin Square Park is hosting a dog-friendly Santa Paws event Saturday, Dec. 5. There, owners can admire the park’s lights, a Philadelphia tradition, while their dogs enjoy some holiday treats and time outside.
In addition to Franklin Square, plenty of other locations are also decorated for the holidays; the University of Pennsylvania is very pretty this time of year, and Old City is festive with dozens of great store-front holiday window displays.
Pick up something festive at the pet store
Nothing says “Christmas spirit” quite like shopping, and Philadelphia has countless incredible pet stores throughout the city. Visit one or two of them with your dog and check out the holiday stock. But skip the Santa hats and instead pick up a plush reindeer for you two to play with, or maybe even a genuine reindeer antler for him to gnaw on. If you can’t bring your pet to the store, go yourself to get some stocking stuffers—and maybe let him have a few early. It’ll keep him occupied as you set up the Christmas tree!
Simply spend some time together
Part of what makes the holiday season so great is having the opportunity to take some time off. Whether you’re a student or working professional, you hopefully have a respite from at least some of your responsibilities—try not to think of your dog as one of them. Instead, take the opportunity to spend a little extra time with your dog. He’ll certainly realize this time of the year is special with some additional love and attention from his favorite person.