It’s the time of year when most of us who rescue animals struggle to get to Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – – let alone Happy New Year.

We say lots of Bah Humbug – plus a few choice phrases and words that won’t make it with the editor.

Everyone is stressed – so are your pets.

Take a step back, decide the holidays don’t have to be perfect – and enjoy your family, friends and pets.

From experience, I know the perfect Christmas isn’t worth it.

I worked endlessly, years ago, to be sure my family had the perfect Christmas.

Hmmmm – – I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion.

They enjoyed Christmas, I tried to recover.

What we do remember about holidays are all the things that didn’t go quite right.

Since then, I’ve made it a goal to enjoy the season, first and foremost.

Traditions are important, but more important is my family and that includes our pets.

Yes, a puppy under the tree looks adorable in televised commercials – and in newspapers and magazines.

But that isn’t reality.

It may look perfect – but it may also be more work than you (or your loved one) wants to invest.

Puppies are like toddlers – – lots of work, lots of messes, lots of kisses, dumped trash, tipped over tree, accidents in the wrong places.

A puppy or pet for Christmas should be well thought out.

Nothing brings out the ugly bah humbug in a rescuer than a returned Christmas gift a few days after the 25th.

Enjoy the holidays, love your pets, give gifts that do not require food, walks, visits to the veterinarian unless you’ve thought it out – – everyone is on board – – and they’re excited.

If so, you’ll find lots of wonderful dogs from which to select at your local shelters and rescues.

Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays – Please, no Bah Humbugs.