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Holidays & Dogs: Memories & Traditions

Holidays & Dogs: Memories & Traditions

We asked Forever Loved staff and volunteers about any holiday traditions or memories they have involving their dogs. We got quite a variety of responses!

Playful mischief

Memories shared by Craig Golbach, FLPS Director of Animal Status & Welfare

Craig’s two English Bulldogs, Niki and Charley, sadly passed away recently. He fondly recalls always getting them both a special toy for Christmas. The toys were always similar but just a little different. Without fail, the dogs would play with the toys, switching back and forth several times, before deciding which one each liked best.

Around the holidays it can feel like Amazon is delivering daily, and Charley loved Amazon! She always came running when Amazon boxes were delivered, excited about the big bubble packing. She enjoyed holding it down and popping each bubble. Craig kept spares in case a box arrived without it as he didn’t want to disappoint her. So sweet!

Under the tree

Tradition shared by Terri Culley, FLPS Feeding Coordinator

Terri jokes that every day is really like Christmas for her four dogs. Each day they enjoy homemade dog food, morning treats and a dollop of whipped cream and a small saucer of milk in the evening. They also take monthly trips on the family’s sailboat in San Diego!

Every year Terri puts up four Christmas trees, including one for the dogs. She puts their beds underneath their tree and they love to relax there in the evenings. So cute and festive!

Chew toy fun

Memory shared by Michele England, FLPS Director of Volunteers 

Michele warmly recalls that her dog Flash, a Plott Hound, who has since passed away, had an impressive gift for chewing. He quickly destroyed any stuffed dog toy, even those rated a level 10 for near-indestructibility. Understandably, they stopped giving Flash stuffed toys! 

As a special treat, every Christmas Michele would buy a bag full of stuffies for Flash. He loved chewing them and when he was done destroying one, he would carry around the remnants in his mouth. Michele estimates the toys would last until about New Year’s. What a fun gift!

Fancy photos

Traditions shared by Dayle Wilson, FLPS Feeder and former Board Member

We all like to take photos of our pups but Dayle is decidedly next-level. She thoughtfully considers props, backgrounds and apparel. Just check out the photo directly above, from her dog’s Sweet 16 Tiffany & Co.-themed party! 


Each December Dayle’s dog, a 16 year-old Shih Tzu named Lola Falana, gets a Christmas dress and Dayle finds a special backdrop for her photos. Of course Lola makes the event a bit challenging. She doesn’t exactly love the dresses and won’t pose or sit still, even for a treat. 

Still, Dayle soldiers on and we think the results are priceless! Last year she found a huge Santa in front of a restaurant that was the perfect setting for Lola’s picture.

Dayle and Lola always spend Christmas together. Lola is on a very special diet for her pancreatitis but she gets a little bite of whatever meat the humans enjoy for their holiday meal. This treat, as you can imagine, is a big deal. How special!

Festive sanctuary

Traditions shared by Craig Golbach, FLPS Director of Animal Status & Welfare

Ever wonder what the holidays are like for the dogs in the sanctuary? Craig says the sanctuary gets quite festive. Each year it is decorated with tinsel, lights and a Christmas tree and each dog has a stocking on her kennel that gets filled with treats and toys.

Thanks to Jim, one of our awesome FLPS volunteers, our sanctuary dogs get to partake in a delicious holiday tradition. He generously provides them sirloin steak. He grills it at home and brings it to the sanctuary as a very special treat for the dogs to enjoy for their Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinners. Thank you!

No matter how we choose to spend our days this December, one thing is for sure: these dogs have received the greatest gift of all: knowing they are loved. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their holiday stories. 

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!


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