Horatio the guinea pig will wake up Christmas morning to a delicious carrot and dill cookie and a new cat bed.
Horatio’s human mom, Krista Belliveau, said the guinea pig (who they got because her daughter is allergic to cats and dogs) doesn’t express Christmas joy like other animals – but she knows he will like his new presents.
“He enjoys the comforts of a soft, cuddly bed, and he does squeak loudly for treats,” Belliveau said.
Horatio isn’t the only animal in the city who is going to wake up to a bountiful Christmas morning.
Stephanie Goudie said most of the presents under the tree this year are for her two dogs, Moose and Axl.
“They are definitely spoiled,” Goudie said.
“Between my parents, my brother and myself buying them Christmas gifts, the majority of the presents under the tree end up being for the dogs."
The dog mom said she got them each a bunch of new toys, bones and dog cookies, along with a dog puzzle, where the treat is hidden inside and the dog has to work to get them out.
"They also have their stockings with their names on them, too, usually just filled up with bones and treats. They truly are spoiled – but hey, they are good boys and they deserve it," Goudie said.
Stephanie Roberge got her senior Doberman, Kalli, a heated blanket and new base layer for some extra warmth this year.
"She'll get toys and treats too, but we aren't seeing family this year for Christmas, and we lost both her sisters this year so she is going to be spoiled," Roberge said.
Roberge said Kallie doesn't know when Christmas is, so this year they decided to give her the presents a little early so she could say warm while outside on walks.
"We usually wrap ones with food in them since she's interested in opening it, but otherwise we tell her we have a surprise for her so she gets excited. Although it isn't very exciting to get something that isn't food," Roberge said.
Usually the elderly pup paws and stomps on the presents to try and get them open.
Raina, a toy schnauzer, is getting a pillow and blanket of her own this year because she loves sharing with her human mom Eileen June when they sleep in the same bed. Raina is getting spoiled this year because she has brought so much joy to the people living in the St. Albert Retirement Residence, as they often walk by their building when they are out for a walk.
"We often would walk there and visits with residents who were outside enjoying a beautiful day. There would also be residents who would watch for her on their balconies and shout 'Hello Raina we love you'. She has brought much happiness to people," June said, adding both her and her pup miss seeing all the residents from the retirement home.
Tara Edwards, owner of Bone and Biscuit in St. Albert, said their head office said they should be prepared for a 20-per-cent increase in sales in December because so many families would be buying presents for their pets.
Edwards said pet parents are picking up stuffed toys, chewable toys and treats for their pets and they are always so excited to give their beloved pets their presents.
"It's funny because people sometimes like their animals more than their kids," Edwards said, laughing.
"It's quite funny. Dogs don't talk back."
Edwards said advent calendars have been popular this year with pet owners, with companies like Sweetie Paws (based out of Gibbons) putting together a gift that gives dogs a treat per day in December leading up to Christmas. Other companies like Bosco and Roxy's offer an advent calender that plays "Dashing through the snow" when the calendar opens.
Some local pets are getting presents that will spoil them all year round, like Roxie the Rottie Alaskan malamute mix, who looks like a wolf, who is getting a subscription to Bark Box, a service that delivers monthly presents with a couple of toys and treats to the dog.
It will cost around $460 for the year, but Roxie's mom Crystal Booth said the sweet girl deserves the treats.
"She doesn't even ruin her stuffies. She treats them as though they're her babies, she cleans them and just carries them around," Booth said.
"She totally deserves it."
Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette