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Max, my parents' dog, will get his first taste of Thanksgiving with us today.

It's tradition

Penny’s smart –she knows that spending 2 1/2 hours in the car has a big reward!!

Yay, it's Thanksgiving!

Some traditions will play out (Dad busts out the electric knife for its once-a-year use on the turkey), and some will be new this year (begging the family to watch "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" with me).

But my favorite tradition? Putting a mini-Thanksgiving meal down for Penny. Her ears pin back and her tail wags when her plate nears the floor. There are chunks of turkey, a bit of gravy, pieces of bread and raw carrots, a taste of potatoes. It doesn't last long, and never has a plate been licked cleaner.

This "reward" usually comes after she's marched around my parents' kitchen all morning, nose in air, scoping out the smells she never gets at home because, well, my cooking expertise ends at buttered pasta. After putting in that kind of face time, she's due for a prize, right? (Beyond the little tastes I've sneaked her till that point ...)

This mini-meal tradition started in the '90s when my family had Muffin, a terrier mix, whose collar used to clink against her plate while she snarfed. I always think of that on Thanksgiving and trust dog heaven is dishing her a meal today.

Today, two rescued pups get in on the tradition: Darcy, my boyfriend's dog, and Max, my parents' new Westie. They have no idea what euphoria awaits!

Hope today finds you all happy, and with pets you can't help but pamper, be thankful for and forge traditions with.

Happy Thanksgiving!