I can’t help but notice all the festive decorations when my human takes me on leash walks downtown. Red ribbons, blinking lights, and chubby, bearded men all dressed up in red! Where did they come from and why are they here? It’s somewhat concerning, but people seem happy about it, so I’ll go with the flow. I think it has something to do with a special time of year, maybe “holiday time,” as I have heard the words "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah" bandied about. I think those greetings and the decorations are related … since they both arrived in town at exactly the same time.

As a dog, I can’t fully understand the meaning behind the words, so I listen to my human’s feelings in search of clues. And I study the people I see on our walks and at the dog park. As a thoughtful canine, I’m sensitive to the vibes that I pick up. We dogs are good at that, since our very survival may depend on it. If someone is kind, we often know it, it’s almost as if we can feel the sweet intention in their heart. But if they are unkind, we often know that, too, and recoil from their touch. At times it’s unclear, as you humans can be a mix of emotions, a mix of behaviors, and be both good and bad at the same time.

Getting back to the holidays and my observations, I’ve seen three types of humans.

There are the very happy ones, whom you can identify a mile away, since they wear broad smiles. They are bustling with energy, joy and the holiday spirit! They often rush from shop to shop, and fumble with their bags of brightly wrapped gifts. They always stop to free a hand and pat my soft, furry head, and wish my human a happy holiday. They clearly are of good cheer!

Then there are others that I see. When I pass them with my tail wagging, they look away. Their shoulders are slumped, and they seem morose. It’s as if they don’t notice all the decorations, or all the greetings, or even what time of year it is. I really don’t understand, but the heart feeling that I get from them is one of loneliness, sadness or even despair.

Then the third type of human I see is somewhere in-between. They try to appear like the first group, happy and energetic and filled with holiday spirit. But I don’t feel that’s true. To me, they feel a bit more like the sad group. Just not as sad. Perhaps they don’t have the money to buy gifts, or their loved ones have passed on. Maybe they long for the holidays of days past, or for things to be different this holiday. I really don’t know.

What I do know is that I want to reach out to every one of these humans, both the sad and the happy. I want to tell them that I love them. That I will be their friend, no matter what! It may seem like a silly gesture, but it’s love, and that’s what matters. Love is love, even if it’s from a dog. It still feels good, has magical powers and helps everyone. And I love giving it away! I don’t care about gifts, but rather the kindness people show, and if they will smile and pat my head. And that doesn’t take money, or a family, or a brightly colored package.

So, no matter what human situation you find yourself in this holiday, please share the love in your heart and know that it is important to us all!