Full Tummies and Open Hearts

Photo Credit: Pam Young

Of the many holidays celebrated throughout the year Thanksgiving is my hands down favorite. I love devoting an entire day to preparation of a meal and an autumn hike with my puppers and anyone else who cares to tag along. I also relish a holiday that doesn’t involve giving gifts that require forethought, shopping, and wrapping. The gifts shared at the Thanksgiving table are spontaneous, require no embellishment, and are simple to deliver. These are gifts such as love, empathy, and connectedness, all created within and delivered by an open heart.

Many different things can nurture open heartedness. For some, music, art, or a walk in the woods may be required. What is it that opens your heart? If you are like me, interactions with animals are the thing most capable of doing so. And if it’s a baby animal, forget about it! Not only does my heart open wide, I think it even grows larger!

To those who question the sanity of loving, nurturing, and caring for animals when there is so much human suffering in the world I say, “Bah humbug!” Without animals in our lives people like me would have a tough time opening our hearts to give to others. Loving our animals doesn’t make them more important than humans, nor does it “use up” our ability to tend to people in need.  Rather, loving them makes our own humanity more accessible. They nourish our hearts and allow them to open wide.

My Thanksgiving wish for you is a full tummy and an open heart. Thank you for your loyal readership.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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4 Comments on “Full Tummies and Open Hearts

  1. Right now Esme is curled up on my lap, interfering with my typing :) She unhesitatingly shares her warm furry self with my 97yo father or any other lap that needs warming. Soon the house will fill with holiday cooking aromas. Esme will greet other family members with licks and a wildly wagging tail. She will touch noses with 14 yo Kobi and both dogs will savor their share of turkey and trimmings. There will be a fireplace fire and if conversation should flag, Esme will offer her ball for tossing. Her eyes will shine if you whisper her name. Love is love and since I believe we are all connected, I also believe that the love we share with our friends, family and animals (one and the same, really) will find its joyous expression elsewhere this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Dear Dr. Kay,
    I don’t usually respond to articles but this one touched my heart. You are so right about this animal lover. I have found that the more time I spend with my animals the bigger my heart gets. I have more sympathy and empathy towards my fellow man than ever before. My heart is big enough for all!
    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with all of us!

  3. What a beautiful, and eloquently written post.
    I couldn’t agree with you more. There is plenty of room in a persons heart for loving both animals and humans.

    I’m always so annoyed when someone makes negatives comments on an animal charity thread, story or post. This self-righteous individual will tell us animal lovers we’re thoughtless, and don’t care about our fellow human who are suffering, because we are rallying to the aid of animals.

    This Thanksgiving I will give thanks for all living creatures, humans and animals alike. Both bring endless joy and positive growth to my life every day of the year.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from me and all five of my beloved fluffs!