Open Hearts and Full Tummies

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
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Please visit 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,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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