We all have stories of holiday disasters that we caused ourselves, like failing to defrost the turkey.

What about holiday disasters that have been caused by those beloved family members, our pets?

I asked pet lovers for their favorite stories of holiday disasters (or near disasters) caused by pets.

Ann Bemrose (British Columbia) One year when I was a teenager, my best friend’s dog, a Rhodesian ridgeback cross, came home on Thanksgiving day with a fully cooked, stuffed, 12-pound turkey, wrapped in foil. She’d probably discovered it on someone’s back porch, set there to cool or be out of the way until they were ready to carve it. The dog hadn’t opened the foil or done anything to it. She just brought it home.

Donna Weidert (Washington) We had a lovely older fat spaniel mix named Shelby. She was a master counter-surfer, so I put up a baby gate between the kitchen and living room. Somehow this fat dog jumped over the gate. She proceeded to pull a six-pound prime rib off the table before I could get to her. (Though she jumped the gate, I could not.) I managed to carve the outside chewed-on parts away, and we ate the rest.

Wendy Acosta (Hawaii) Our mutt dog was just tall enough to reach the cooling turkey on the end of the counter. 20-pound bird, gone in a few moments. [Q: How was the dog after that?] Absolutely fine.

Jett Wyatt (Oregon) Not really a disaster, but one Thanksgiving my cat jumped up on the set table (we hadn’t sat down to eat yet) and drank out of my Mom’s water glass. My Mom was not a pet person. My cat always preferred to drink out of glasses. I gave Mom a clean glass . . . 

Denise O’Moore (Ireland) Silence is golden—unless you have a golden retriever pup . . . at Christmas. Out at the parents’ house with the dogs. Harrison went quiet, only to be discovered under the dining room table, chomping the head off a shepherd from mom’s 50-year-old crib [nativity scene]. It didn’t go down well given the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing. He did expel the head later that evening in the hall. My mother didn’t want it back.

Photo by Denise O’Moore

Angela Schneider (Washington) This is going back a decade or more when my sweet prince Shep was still around. I was a Christmas orphan living in Calgary, Alberta. (My family is on the other side of Canada.) A friend invited me to Christmas celebrations in Kimberly, B.C., with her friends. Shep was welcome. We all pitched in to make Christmas dinner and it was—otherwise—a good holiday in the mountains. We were all seated in the living room having our dinner when someone piped up and said, “Where’s Shep?” My heart jumped up into my throat. We all put our plates down and made our way to the kitchen. There was Shep, his paws up on the counter, enjoying a feast of turkey. Weirdly, I was the only one who went for seconds. My goodness, I miss that boy.

Katie Cronin (Ontario) My brother and sister-in-law left dessert in the kitchen while the family was eating dinner in the other room. All of a sudden there was a loud BANG, and they ran into the kitchen to see what it was. Their very large dog, Bear (part Bernese mountain dog), had reached up onto the kitchen island, knocked over their pan of coffee cake, and was eating the last of it up! Needless to say, we were out dessert that year!

Melissa Cara (Massachusetts) One year our Aussie, Keno, got into my mom’s room and ate two pounds of chocolate that she’d bought for gifts. Keno ate all of the chocolates and left all of the wrappers and the boxes perfectly intact. Keno spent an expensive night at the emergency clinic and, when she came home the next day, she felt lousy for another couple of days. A couple of family members didn’t get their gifts, but thank goodness, Keno was okay! She was a handful, but we loved her tons!

Terry Hill Cunningham (West Virginia) Every year, my black Lab Siggie would get into the Christmas candy and cookies. We would get more creative each year with trying to keep them from her. Her last year doing it, she opened the bedroom door, opened a closet door, and climbed the metal shelving to the top. Finally we kept them in our car trunks.

Carey Jackson (Washington) Not exactly a holiday, but for a birthday, my mom made a pineapple upside-down cake and left it to cool on the kitchen table. One of our cats jumped up and ate a bunch of the pineapple topping. My mom cut off the topping, made another cake, and layered it on top of the first cake. The entire time I was eating it, I couldn’t stop thinking about how maybe there was somehow still cat drool in the middle of the cake.

Steve Christilaw (Washington) When my grandson celebrated his first birthday, we had a party at our house. We had two birthday cakes—one for us to eat and one for Declan to stick his hands in. While we were getting ready for dinner, I took out the garbage. As I came around the front of the house and looked in our big window, I saw River happily eating the birthday cake. She’s a Great Dane. Well, sometimes great. Mostly she’s an awesome Dane.

Maria Burton (Washington) My foster cat last year. I think the picture speaks for itself. It was unusual if the tree didn’t come down daily. I sometimes worry for the family that adopted that adorable little monster. (I was attempting to get a picture of my pretty tree when he ninja-jumped all the way up to the top.) Somehow I got this pic seconds before the whole thing came down. There will forever be fake snow in my carpet.

Photo by Maria Burton

Megan Cuilla (Washington) While reading these stories, I watched Francine [a young cat] jump into our top-loading washing machine. For this and many other Francine-related reasons, we will not have a tree this year.

Susan Ewing (New York) It wasn’t a disaster, but it sure scared us. One of our decorations was a small red elephant with a green bow around his neck. It was on a side table. We went out for the evening and when we returned home, our pale blue carpet was smeared with what I thought was blood. I was hysterical, even though the dogs seemed fine. I thought one of them had sliced an artery. Closer investigation revealed that the “blood” was red sawdust from the now defunct elephant.

Donna Hill (British Columbia) Went over for a visit to my parents with my then 10-month-old golden pup. Pup was very quiet and we found her behind the couch, pulling the threads off the back of the couch—tons of them. Fortunately, mom is a good seamstress and figured out how to rethread the back to sew it together. Mom figures there was a single thread and the pup grabbed it and started pulling.

Jessie’s claim to fame was my mom’s stuffie collection that Mom kept lined up on the living room couch. They had to be put away whenever we came. (And, as a matter of fact, I was observing the other day that I still have my special stuffies hidden in my closet and Jessie is now 12.5 years! LOL!)

Hilary Lane (Colorado) Well, I hate to admit it, but my dog caused a Christmas disaster when I was pet-sitting. I brought him over to a good client’s home to pet-sit right before the Christmas holidays. The decorated tree was up with a bunch of presents under it— they wanted to surprise their kids when they got home on Christmas Day. On the second night of our stay, my dog peed on one of the presents. He had never marked in their house before, nor in my house. Anyway, I kind of salvaged that present and rewrapped it, and put it under the tree again. The next day, I brought over an exercise pen to surround the tree. That evening, I was sitting by the fireplace in the tree room, and both the resident dog and my dog were playing, as was usual for them. Suddenly, my dog got the zoomies and ran straight into the tree, Xpen and all, knocking it over, crushing some of the ornaments and presents! Plus, some branches broke and pine needles were everywhere. That one was a little difficult to explain to the client . . . I did clean up the best I could, but reimbursed them for sentimental ornaments and destroyed presents. Surprisingly, they hired me again for several years until they moved away. They even made my dog a Christmas stocking with his name on it!

Do you have a story (or two) about holiday disasters that your pet has caused? ’Fess up!