Welcome Home, Charleston!

3 Nov

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, we brought a new being into our home: a black-and-tan Shiba Inu named Charleston.  Unlike Sami, our 7-year-old female red Shiba, Charleston is a rescue pup.  During the summer, we’d applied to the Shiba Inu Rescue of Texas to adopt a shelter dog, in large part because so many are in need.  Why the fascination with Shibas, a small Japanese breed with a reputation as headstrong yet loyal?  Because they don’t make much noise, a big consideration for our teen daughter with autism.

Charleston has transitioned almost seamlessly into our family life.  He’s playful, sweet and loves love!  (He’ll nudge you if you forget to pet him.)  Our 6-year-old son is utterly besotted.  Princess Sami seems to enjoy sharing her domain with this new, furry pal.

Now with Halloween behind us, I’m thinking toward how he’ll react to Christmas and the attendant hullaballoo and décor.

I’m not alone.  According to CSA International, a global testing and certification organization, 60 percent of pet owners are concerned about their pet’s safety when leaving them alone in a house.  Three in 10 Americans have either experienced or know someone who has experienced a holiday decorations-related accident with a pet that required a trip to the vet’s office.

Here are thoughts on safeguarding your home:

  • Up, up and away: When decorating a tree or other indoor areas, place breakable ornaments and electrical decorations up high to protect both small children and pets.
  • Other potential problems: Keep potentially deadly ingestible items out of pets’ reach like chocolate, poinsettias, tinsel and colorful ornaments that may look like a ball or toy.
  • No sparks for Sparky: Whenever possible, protect family and pets from electric shock by connecting all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters.
  • Cat and canine candle concerns: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended.  Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.  Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface, and keep away from combustibles.  And if you leave the room, blow the candle out.
  •  Safe storage: Keep pets away from packages as well as your gift wrapping area.  Swallowed string, ribbon, plastic, and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require a trip to the vet.
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