Day 5: It’s the thought that counts. (And creates!)

This past Christmas, I was able to give more quality gifts to my family, friends, and even strangers — I helped purchase a lot of pizza for my friend’s campaign, Slice Homelessness, which within 48 hours of planning, from inception to execution, delivered almost 500 slices to shelters in the core — and that’s something that I’m happy to have pulled off. Most other years, funding for the holiday rush has been limited, but since I’ve been working so much, I was well-equipped this round.

But even after all of that, my favourite gifts are still the ones where the thought more than counted; the thought created. (I don’t know if used that semi-colon correctly.)

One of my best friends, Katrina, who really thinks out gifts very well, painted two pet portraits for my Christmas presents. The paintings themselves are outstanding black and white stencil-like creations. But for these gifts, it really is about the thought.

Backstory: Katrina and I used to be in a relationship. Living together, we adopted a stray dog from a shelter, whom we named Poppy. She’s a very goofy, very smart Rottweiler/German Shepherd that we fell in love with and clearly needed a home the most out of all the dogs in that shelter. (Her competition consisted of an adorable German Shepherd puppy, a beautiful Husky mix, and a very lovable, well-fed Golden Retriever. She was a scrawny, nervous wreck.) Over a year prior, before we moved in together, she surprised my former roommates and I with a kitten named Sook-yi. Everyone says their cat is not like other cats, but this one actually is. (I know people say that too, but for real, this cat thinks its a dog.)

Poppy was immediately a mama’s girl. From the moment we got in the car, she bonded with Katrina and it was clear how strong a connection they established. Sook-yi, who is completely out of this world — I’m pretty sure he’s an alien, in the best way possible — bonded with my roommate, Simon, and that was also a strong and clear connection.

I moved in with Katrina and left my old place, making the decision to leave Sook-yi behind because it was clear where he should stay. And after Katrina and I broke up, it was clear that Poppy should be with her. In the end, my two pets are very happy with different people.

So bringing it all around, Katrina came up with the brilliant idea to paint these pet portraits so that even if I don’t have my pets with me, I can still see them everyday.

Cue “awwww” track.

But there you go. It’s not just a cliché: it really is the thought that counts, when it comes to gifts.

And so, I now share these gifts with you!




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