Seven Things I’m Thankful for on Thanksgiving

Patty Khuly and Violet
Dr. Patty Khuly

I’m sure I’m not alone in confessing that Thanksgiving ranks highest on my list of favorite days. No other holiday compares to this one for its high cheer-to-receipts ratio. In other words, you don’t need to spend much to celebrate Thanksgiving in style. Feeling grateful is all it takes to make it a great holiday. Given this simple prerequisite, I rarely fail to enjoy Thanksgiving thoroughly. This, despite the fact that I find myself bereft of my own animal companions each and every year.

Here’s the thing: Since my whole family takes this opportunity to travel to Tahoe to visit my sister, all of our pets end up spending the holiday alone. Year after year, they spend most of the days we’re gone hanging out in their crates, chewing on new toys designed to make them feel as if we really do love them despite the fact that they’ve been left home alone (except for the pet sitter who feeds and exercises them every day).

Feeling the Gratitude

This year is different. Enter the first thing I’m thankful for this year:

1. A “doggy day care” facility so good I have no qualms about leaving my dogs there for the entire week! As of last summer, I discovered a new place my dogs enjoy so well I feel as if I’m off the hook for any guilt their stress might otherwise incur. If you haven’t found one yet, I urge you to keep looking. Nothing feels so good as knowing your loved ones are happy while you’re gone.

2. Generous neighbors willing to coop up my chickens for the night. Feeding my outdoor cats is one thing, but entering my yard twice a day at sunup and sundown to “coop” and “uncoop” my chickens takes a whole ‘nother breed of neighbor. I am so thankful for my super-cool neighbors. For lots of reasons, not just the cooping thing.

3. Herding breeds that scare away predators. This year I finally “invested” in a herding breed. It was about time. I’d lost all 12 of my chickens to a predator (a fox, presumably), and there was no way I could live without a working dog any longer. My little dogs were no help at all. They were more interested in chasing chickens than scaring away predators.

Enter Violet. Not only does she spend her nights chasing foxes, she also has no interest in chasing chickens. I’m so grateful!

4. Lovers of three-legged cats… or anyone willing to look past the superficial in their choice of pets. This year I found homes for three three-legged cats. While most pet owners expect a certain degree of perfection in their adoptees, a small percentage of people are willing to look past the flaws. I, for one, am thankful for this unique contingent of pet owner.

5. The increasingly pet-friendly skies. I have signed more health certificates this year than ever before. It’s clear the skies are becoming increasingly pet friendly. And that’s a wonderful thing we should all be grateful for.

6. Rooster lovers. At some point in my life I aspire to live in a place where roosters are as welcome as hens are. Until then, I will be especially grateful for people who love roosters and are willing to adopt them. Because if they weren’t, there might be a whole lot more abandoned roosters in our midst.

7. Rottweilers with big heads.I do adore Rottweilers. This year I even love the Rottweiler who inadvertently bonked me with his head so hard it broke my nose. I know it sounds strange, but I’m thankful for all my patients… even the ones who hurt me accidentally.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I invite you to offer what you’re thankful for in the comments section below. Don’t be shy!


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