Every pet owner will know that whatever gift an animal brings you, it must be responded to with only joy and appreciation.
Yes, even if your cat brings you a dead mouse. We can’t all be lucky enough to have a kitty that brings us leaves as tokens of appreciation.
So we’re certain that Kelly Seaton, 32, has perfected her ‘oh my gosh, you shouldn’t have, I love it’ reaction.
Her golden Labrador Retriever mix has been bringing her all sort of strange gifts for years.
Each time Kelly arrives home, the seven-year-old pup, Xena, greets her at the door with something she’s found that day, whether it’s sellotape, a green bean, or a single strand of spaghetti (yes, these are all things given to Kelly by Xena).
Kelly is often puzzled by where her dog finds the items, but is always sure to thank Xena for the thought – as that’s what counts.
Xena will often run off to dig out an item when she hears her owner coming and will then wait by the door ready for the gift-giving ritual.
She’s been bringing her owner gifts ever since she was a puppy, starting with fairly normal items such as chew toys, balls, or bones.
Over the years the present selection has become stranger, and Kelly has started documenting the gifts she receives from her dog in adorable photos.
Kelly, of Greenbelt, Maryland, US, said: ‘Xena has always brought me gifts. The first few times she did it, it was her ball or toys so I didn’t think anything of it.
‘And the first time she brought me something random, I thought maybe she couldn’t find her toys but then it kept on happening. I never expected it to go on for this long.
‘When I finally realised how odd it was, I started documenting it.
‘She brings me a gift every time I come home or even sometimes if I go in a room, shut the door, then come back out.
‘Her ball is the most common gift but she’s brought me all sorts. Sometimes I find myself really confused about where she finds these things.
‘The other day she brought me a gallon jug and I don’t even know where it came from or where she found it.’
Sometimes the presents are useful, such as missing socks that Xena may or may not have hidden away for weeks.
Other times they’re a bit… odd.
But whatever she finds, Xena is always very proud of the present-giving ritual and the treasures she manages to find for her pal.
‘It has to be something she thinks is worthy,’ says Kelly.
‘She sits there very proud to show you what she’s found. She always looks very pleased with herself. It’s really sweet.
‘I always thank her for her gifts and make a big deal of it and say, “Oh Xena what did you bring me? That’s so sweet”.
‘You aren’t allowed to take the gift right away, just look at it.
‘Then she throws herself onto the floor and rolls over so you can rub her belly while she holds your gift for you. That’s her gift presentation position.
‘When she’s had enough cuddles she’ll leave the gift on the floor for you. It’s so nice. It’s the best part of my day.’
It sounds dreamy to us.
Kelly reckons that Xena’s passion for giving daily presents is all part of her loving nature. The dog has even extended the honour to family and friends, who also need to react with similar gratitude when brought a random assortment.
Kelly’s other dog, Maserati, has not been convinced to copy Xena’s people-pleasing tactics.
Kelly said: ‘When I tell people about it they’re all shocked and wish their dogs did the same.
‘The best thing is when people come over and get to see it for themselves and Xena brings them a gift and they’re just besides themselves.
‘My mum is Xena’s favourite person and whenever she hears my mum coming, she goes crazy. She runs around frantically looking for a gift that’s good enough.
‘She really is such a character. She is a dream. She is the kind of dog that just loves to make you happy and she’s incredibly well-behaved.
‘Her and Maserati are the best of friends. They really love each other.
‘Although he does look at her funny sometimes when she’s bringing me gifts. It’s like he’s looking at her to say “what are you doing?” or telling her she’s a suck up.’
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