The Dog Who Ate Christmas

Sit! That’s a good girl, here is a treat. That’s the strategy: reward the puppy for good behavior with food. Dog treat that is. Stay away from giving her table scraps or else she will be begging at the table all the time. She went to obedience school and she learned to eat treats.
As a dog, she already knew by instinct how to eat her food. And everything else she could find. It must have something to do with her teeth hurting as she loses her puppy death and acquires her wolf fangs. She chews on everything, and eats most of it. But it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with hunger.
There doesn’t seem to be anything she won’t eat, but wood seems to be her favorite thing. Any kind of wood. Wood trim on the walls of the house, sticks from the yard, and lumber she finds who knows where. She’s probably eating the foundation of the house like some kind of termite. In the form t yard there is a big pile of stuff she has found and brought to the place where she likes to hang out when she is outside. IJ addition to the wood there are tennis balls, basketballs, a popcorn tin, shoes, paintbrushes and a can of WD-40. Whatever she can get her mouth on. And she won’t let go unless she is offered something better!
When I was repairing the bottom of a chair recently I removed four screws from the seat and put them on the floor with my tools. When I turned around to reinstall the screws, one was gone. As was the wrench! The wrench I found. Yup, in the fornt yard pile. The screw I’ll have to replace. She likes pottery too. Its crunchy after she breaks it into small pieces. And glass. It’s amazing she doesn’t have some kind of stomach issues.
One day during the Fall I had found some really cool outdoor Christmas decorations. Iron rods shaped and welded together into the form of giant candles. I attached a long string of colored lights on the first one and was planning to plug them in at night and let them shine from the balcony ion the back of the house. When I finished the first one I plugged it in and sure enough it worked great. Preparing to do the second one I turned around to look at something on the first one and damn! That dog had eaten the plug off the string of lights. I found the plug, you know where, and it was a little mangled but I thought I could still make it work. Snip, snip, twist, twist, tape and it was almost as good as new. At least it worked.
I finished the second candle and plugged it in. Yeah, it works! And for the next two nights I plugged them in and they light up the night. Then I noticed she had eaten the plug again. This time it was gone. Nowhere to be found. I wasn’t going to look for it in the next logical place it might show up.
Normally I put strings of colored lights all over the shrubbery in the from t of the house, into the trees, along the gutters and on the porch columns. A blazing show of splendiferous color! Very festive. In the name of tradition I also do candles in the windows and a Moravian star on the from t porch. There are power cords, and plugs, everywhere.
So, after the debacle with the cord and plugs on the candle in the back of the house I decided that I could risk either the power cords, or the stupid dogs life, by putting out this brilliant display of lights. I stuck with the candles in the windows and the Moravian star. Boring white lights. But obviously Christmas lights.
The man across the street may have been relieved because he didn’t have to look at this carnival of color every night, but it was very disappointing to have to forego the colored lights. Some people I know will understand my dismay at having no colored lights. I’m pretty sure this will be the last light display I put on at this house after eighteen years. I’m moving, but that’s another story.
Inside the house I always put up a big live Frazier fir tree and cover it on colored lights. Strings and strings and strings of them buried deep inside the branches and strung along the tips. Looks like Times Square! Its always tall, and usually narrow as its place of honor is a corner, next to a window on one side and a cabinet on the other. This year we went to North Carolina and plucked it form a mountain top. A tall, and very fat thing. On the mountain top it looked much narrower. Inside the house I had to trim a few branches here and there.
And we covered it with lights and decorations and have it sitting in a tree stand filled with water. I was wondering if the dog would attack the tree, but its still standing. Right after the tree went up we vacuumed the floor around it to pick up the loose needles and that seemed to have terrified the dog sufficiently to keep her away. At first.
She began to poke around with her snout and realized that it smelled good- fresh wood. And water too! Just like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t tell if the tree was thriving and drinking the water or the dog was drinking it! Every once in a while I’d find a small branch laying on the floor, with one end all chewed up. Guess who brought that to the party! She only ate one ornament. It was paper and hanging on a very low branch.
We knew we couldn’t put any present s under the tree this year. She would devour them in a second. But it was when she was getting a drink of sap filled water and got her snout tangled in a string of lights as she pulled away from the tree that I got nervous. I saw the lights flying of the tree one by one as she pulled further and further away, not knowing what to do with the light string that was attacking her. She shook it off and ran away. The tree was still standing and the lights were put back in place.
Its still not Christmas so she had time to knock the tree down and eat the ornaments and eats the lights and nibble, gnaw and gobble until there is nothing left. Not even the trunk of the tree. And then she will jump onto the sofa and put her head in my lap and fall asleep. Its them that I realize that she may eat the trappings of Christmas, but she is part of the love.


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