Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 22, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 22, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


Sweetie is a super fun and active 
four-year-old American Staffordshire 
mix with a gorgeous golden 
coat, beautiful auburn eyes, and a 
big happy smile. At about 47 lbs. 
Sweetie is a compact bundle of 
energy who loves spending time 
in the sunny outdoors. She was 
surrendered by her prior owners 
because they were not able to 
provide the active lifestyle that she 
needs. Since she has been at the 
shelter, this intelligent and pretty 
girl has been a great playmate for 
the volunteers and learned how to 
sit on command. As long as treats 
and human affection are involved, 
Sweetie would be willing to learn 
even more commands! This delightful 
girl also enjoys going out on long walks 
or going jogging with her human friends. Sweetie 
would make a great addition to an 
active on the go family who is willing 
to give her some training and 
the forever family she deserves. If 
you are that person, please come 
on by and meet Sweetie! Her adoption 
fee is $145 and includes spaysurgery, 
vaccinations, microchip 
and a free wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Feel free to 
call us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information. She currently resides 
at the San Gabriel Valley Humane 
Society located at 851 E. Grand 
Avenue in San Gabriel which is 
located off San Gabriel Blvd, north 
of Mission and south of Las Tunas 
Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet and 
Greet’, please stop by any time 
from 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday. 



The holiday season is here and for many this means 
spending time with family, friends, and - of course - furry 
four-legged friends. But nothing can spoil good cheer like 
an emergency trip to the veterinary clinic. That’s why it is 
important to be aware of the potential hazards that are 
inherent to decking the halls for the holidays.

 The American Veterinary Medical Association offers 
this practical list of holiday pet safety tips that I hope 
you find helpful for having a safe and happy holiday 

 1) Plan in Advance - Make sure you know how to get 
to your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before there’s 
an emergency. Talk with your vet in advance to find out 
where to take your pet during off hours, and plot your 
travel route ahead of time to avoid the chaos of mapping 
as you go, while you are under stress. Always keep 
the phone numbers for your vet, the 24/7 emergency 
clinic and your local ASPCA posted in an easy-to-find 

 2) Food - Keep ‘people food’ away from pets. If you 
want to share holiday treats with your pet, make or buy 
treats formulated just for them. Some ‘people foods’ are 
especially hazardous for pets.

 Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays, but it 
is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary 
based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet and 
the amount they ate, it is safer to consider all chocolate off 
limits. Other sweets and baked goods should also be kept 
out of reach. Not only are they too rich for pets; Xylotol, 
an artificial sweetener often found in baking goods, 
candy and chewing gum has been linked to liver failure 
and death in dogs.

 Turkey and turkey skin, sometimes even in small 
amounts, can cause pancreatitis, a life-threatening 
condition for pets. Table scraps, including gravy and meat 
fat should also be kept away from pets. Many foods that 
are healthy for people are poisonous to pets including 
onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when 
our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps 
can be especially fatter and hard for animals to digest and 
can cause pancreatitis. Yeast dough can cause problems 
for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous 

 3) Decorating - Greenery, lights and Christmas trees 
make the holidays festive, but they pose risky temptations 
for our pets. Christmas trees can tip over if pets climb 
on them or try to play with the lights and ornaments. 
Consider tying your tree to the ceiling or a door using 
fishing line to secure it. Water additives for Christmas 
trees can be hazardous as well. Do not add aspirin, sugar 
or anything else to the water if you have pets in the house.

 Ornaments can cause hazards for pets. Broken 
ornaments can cause injuries and ingested ornaments 
can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Keep any 
homemade ornaments, particularly those made from 
salt-dough or other food-based materials out of pets’ 
reach. Tinsel and other holiday decorations can also be 
tempting for pets. Consuming them can cause intestinal 
blockages, sometimes requiring surgery. Unattended 
plugged-in electric lights can become a major hazard if a 
curious pet chews the cords.

 Flowers and festive plants can result in an emergency 
vet visit if your pet gets hold of them. Amaryllis, mistletoe, 
balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common 
holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous 
to pets of ingested. Poinsettias can be troublesome as 
well. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to 
dogs and cats.

 Candles can be as attractive to pets as they are to 
people. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle 
as it could result in a fire. Potpourris should be kept out 
of inquisitive pets’ reach as well. Liquid potpourris pose 
a risk because they contain essential oils and cationic 
detergents that can severely damage your pet’s mouth, 
eyes and skin. Solid potpourris can also cause problems if 

 4) Entertaining - Having a lot of guests in the home can 
be upsetting to pets, as can the noise and excitement 
of holiday parties. Even pets that aren’t normally shy 
may become nervous in the hubbub that accompanies 
a holiday gathering. To help reduce the emotional 
stress, be sure your pet has access to a room or crate 
somewhere away from the commotion where he/she 
can retreat.

 Keep a careful eye on the exits when you are 
entertaining for the holidays and ask your guests to 
be equally vigilant. With people coming and going, 
distracted by all the festivities, the chances of a pet getting 
out and into the street is increased exponentially. Take 
proper precautions to ensure that your pet stays safe and 
sound inside, particularly during New Year firework 

 Enjoy the holidays with your family, friends and pets 
and don’t forget to love and let live!


Looking for a 
couple of cuties? 
age 9 months. 
Mowgli, named 
after the main character in The Jungle Book and 
also in the movie, Mowgli, is the all black male and 
Samara is his sweet faced sister. Mowgli is a huge 
cuddler, and loves to be held and pet. Samara is a 
bit more independent and adventurous. Samara’s 
coat has the ticking like an abyssinian. This twin 
twosome is sweet and highly adoptable, and will 
make any home very entertaining! Call for a meet 
& greet, 626-676-9505. See more pictures of them, 
their videos, and adoption info at http://www. Come and 
adopt both to get our “Twofur” discount! They will 
come spayed/neutered, current on vaccines, and 



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



Oh Wisdom, Wherefore Art 
Thou Dr. James L. Snyder

One feature of the Christmas 
story has to do with the wise 
men. I’m not sure if there were three or not, but if 
there were I should like to be number four.

Wisdom is such a rare commodity today I think it 
would be a wise thing to resurrect these wise men. 
After all, you never can have too much wisdom.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was 
going over my weekly “to-do-list.” I make one of 
these every week so I know what I’m supposed to 
do. As I finish one task, I check it off in red ink.

It’s not that I don’t do a lot of things during the 
week, it’s simply that I sometimes don’t do the 
things that I plan to do for the week.

I certainly am not like the Gracious Mistress of 
the Parsonage who has a PhD in planning. I know 
that if I don’t make my own plans and write them 
down, she will be glad to assist me. Looking at her 
“to-do-list,” makes me dizzy. How she can do so 
much in one week is beyond my understanding, 
and frankly, I don’t want to understand.

My “to-do-list” contains things that I want to do. 
That is not too hard to figure out. My wife’s “to-do-
list” contains things that she wants done, whether 
she does them or I do them.

For example. Next month my wife will begin 
making plans for next year’s Christmas. We are 
not over this year’s Christmas and she has ideas 
for next year’s Christmas.

That brings me to the point of wisdom. I do not 
have enough wisdom, or at least not enough that 
I would like to have. I am not smart enough to 
figure out how much I really need, but I am smart 
enough to know that I sure do need more wisdom 
than I’ve got.

 Wisdom tells us what we can do and cannot do. 
That sounds like my wife.

 One of the great advantages of getting old (and 
the definition of old is up to the person using it) 
is that I can always say, “I’m too old to do that 

 The real problem with this excuse is, it does not 
work well with my wife. She is, and I say this most 
cautiously, just a wee bit older than I am. When I 
offer this excuse, she always says, “I’m older than 
you and I can do it, so go ahead and do it, and no 
more excuses.”

 That is why I need to have my own planner 
where I can outline my own plans.

This created somewhat of a problem not too long 
ago. I am not making any accusations, mind you. 
But I do have my suspicions.

The beginning of the week I opened my weekly 
planner and noticed I had jotted down “to-do” 
things I really did not quite remember. I just 
thought that was old age and I had forgotten I had 
jotted down these things.

The whole page was filled with all kinds of things 
for me to do during the week. I did not recognize 
one of them. Being the kind of person I am, I 
began doing those things and checking them off 
with my red pen as I finish them.

When I got to the fifth thing to do, I was a little 
surprised and not sure what it meant. It simply 
said, “Get groceries for the week.”

I did not quite understand this. I went back 
through my weekly planner to see when the last 
time I got groceries for the week was. I could not 
find one time that I did.

Right after that one was, “Fill my wife’s car up with 

The next one was, “Do the laundry for the week.”

Now I was getting a little bit frustrated. I do not 
ever remember writing any of these things down. 
I know I am getting old and lack a lot of wisdom, 
but this is ridiculous.

I examined my weekly “to-do-list” and noticed 
nothing on that list that in any way pertained to 
me. None of the chores I do every week was even 
hinted on that page.

Sitting in my chair slowly going over the list my 
wife walked in and looked at me. She said, “What 
are you so much in thought about?”

Without even looking up I replied, “I’m trying to 
figure out my weekly to do list here. I must’ve been 
crazy when I planned this week out.”

Then, the person on the other side of the room 
began laughing hysterically. When she quieted 
down a little she said, “Have you finished all your 
chores for the week?”

I looked up at her and saw her laughing and all 
of a sudden, I had a stroke of wisdom like never 
before. Looking at her I asked, “Did you write this 
in my book?”

 She did not have to answer with words, her 
dancing eyes and hilarious laugher, told me 
everything I needed to know.

 I thought of what Solomon said, “Blessed is 
the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets 
understanding, for the gain from her is better than 
gain from silver and her profit better than gold” 
(Proverbs 3:13-14).

 One good thing about having wisdom is that 
you do not have to be too serious about everything 
in life.



 Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship. He lives with the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage in Ocala. Call him at 1-866-552-
2543 or e-mail His web site 

[Nyerges is the author of 
several books, including “Enter 
the Forest,” “How to Survive 
Anywhere,” and “Whose Child 
Is This” (about the meaning of 
the symbols of Christmas). He 
can be reached at or Box 
41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]

 I was waiting in line to buy something at Target, and 
the friendly checker asked the man ahead of me if he 
was ready for Christmas. It was a cheerful and innocent 
question. After all, in December in the United Stated, it 
does seem like getting ready for Christmas is the number 
one dominant activity, and it’s the reason that lines in all 
the stores are long and why you cannot easily find parking.

 “No, I don’t celebrate Christmas,” the man responded, 
and then he went on to explain how much money he 
saves by not observing “all that silly stuff.” I did overhear 
enough to hear that he was single, and then he walked on. 
I wondered if that was the real reason he didn’t observe 
Christmas. He could have been a Jehovah’s Witness, 
Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or any of the other dozens 
of religions and sects which don’t observe the Christian 
Christmas holidays. 

 Though I have both fond and depressing memories of 
the Christmas season growing up, I have worked through 
all the mish-mash of symbols that have gotten thrown 
into the Christmas motif, and I regard them as generally 
uplifting. I have long ago ceased my mindless Christmas 
card-sending and gift-giving out of some sense of social 
obligation, but I still immensely enjoy special times with 
friends and families in what is the darkest time of the year.

 Many years ago, I was asked by a local non-profit 
to share at a Christmas event the “real meaning” of 
Christmas. Even after I agreed to do this, I wondered to 
myself: How can I do that? How can I be sure that I’ve 
really got it? How will I know whether or not I’m right? 

 My job was to discover what all the symbols and 
practices of Christmas mean, and how we might best 
realize and vivify those meanings during this time. 
Needless to say, it was a tall task.

 I found that the best way to share my research was to be 
honest, explaining my background, how I went about my 
research, and what I personally concluded. 

 I explained how I grew up in a Catholic family, 
and was taught that Jesus was born on December 
25, which is obviously why we celebrate his birthday 
on that date. So I had to begin my presentation with 
the man who is at the center of Christmas, Jesus. 
It turns out that all historians agree that Jesus was 
not born on December 25, but rather in May or 
September, probably in the year 6 B.C. by our current 
reckoning. Not only that, many of the modern 
symbols and practices of Christmas-time actually 
pre-dated Jesus, and were celebrations of the Winter 
Solstice by the people that Christians called “pagans.” 
So then I had to stop and define “pagans.” Originally 
people outside of the strong influence of Roman power 
were called the pagani, country folk, a term that had 
no religious overtones in the beginning. Eventually it 
became a term of derision, meaning non-Christian, for 
the people who practiced the old religion of Mithraism. 

 In the time of Jesus, there were many religions and gods 
and Gods, and they didn’t all get along. Jesus, as everyone 
knows, was a practicing Jew, and observed the Jewish holy 
days. After the crucifixion, his followers carried on the 
message of Jesus the Christ, and they still mostly-observed 
the Jewish traditions, hence, Judaeo-Christianity. 

None of this is new, of course, and these details can be 
found in any encyclopedia, including such tomes as The 
Golden Bough, and Manly Hall’s Secret Teachings of All 

So why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25, when 
we know that the early Judaeo-Christians didn’t celebrate 
Jesus’ birthday at all?

 Most ancient religion is astronomy-based, and draws 
great symbolism from the cycle of the earth around the 
sun. The winter solstice is the day of the least light, from 
which the days have increasingly more light. The birth of 
the sun has long been anthropomorphized into the birth 
of the sun. Jesus wasn’t the first to be commemorated with 
the winter solstice. Mithra, born of a virgin mother in a 
cave, was said to be born on December 25. Nimrod from 
Babylon was also said to be born on December 25, as was 
Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, and others. 

 The new religion of Christianity was still struggling 
in the 4th century, and its adherents were still being 
persecuted for their faith when Constantine became the 
emperor. Constantine also converted to Christianity. In 
his attempt to unite his kingdom, he made Christianity 
the official religion, and he Christianized all the so-called 
pagan commemorations. As a result, the birth of the Sun 
that was already commemorated by the Mithra-pagans 
was now going to commemorate the birth of the Son, 

Some of the symbols that have been adopted into the 
Christmas season are universal symbols of eternity, life, 
and light, symbols such as wreaths, evergreens, the tree, 
lights and candles, the giving of gifts, the virgin birth, and 
birth in a stable.

Santa Claus was based on a very real Catholic bishop 
named Nikolas of Myra (modern day Turkey) who 
gave gifts during the winter and the newly-established 
Christmas season. He was born in March 15, 270, and 
actually participated in the First Council of Nicaea in 
325, the famous council where early church doctrine 
was argued and decided. He died on December 6th, 343. 
This generous bishop was remembered for the gifts he 
gave, and his image was severely watered-down over the 
years by Coca-Cola and others who used him in their 

 It’s correct that many people have been turned off when 
they learn of the roots of modern Christmas. Some even 
find all this depressing. But I am not like the man in line 
ahead of me at Target. I’ll still observe the Christmas 
season, and I enjoy the lessons that are buried within all 
these symbols. 

 Can I say that today I know the “real meaning” of 
Christmas? I have come closer to experiencing the 
universal “magic” of Christmas in my personal life, year 
by year, and I feel that this is an on-going process, where 
there are always more nuances to be learned. I never 
get tired, for example, of watching Capra’s wonderful 
Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and watching 
Jimmy Stewart confront the meaning and purpose of his 
own life, and the value of true friendship. Though he had 
nothing to give others that fateful year, it turned out his 
greatest gift was the service he’d done for so many in the 

And for this reason, I have long felt that “It’s a Wonderful 
Life” expresses “the real meaning” of Christmas: 
slow down, breathe, recognize the higher power, and 
acknowledge your friends and family who are the real gifts 
in your life.

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