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I like to think that dogs enjoy Christmas as much as the rest of us. For sure, I know that they don’t experience the same holiday stresses that we do (see Have Yourself a Stress-Free Little Christmas). But how do they really feel about that special day? Do they actually know what’s going on? What would they say if they could give us their thoughts about Christmas?
I’m pretty sure that Janice and Leroy enjoy Christmas, because I always wrap up gifts for them and make sure they have stockings on Christmas morning. I think they’re a lot like very young kids, though; they have more fun with the papers and boxes than they do with the actual presents.
Anyway, I’ve been pondering a dog’s view of Christmas, and came up with a few stories and poems as well as other fun things that I think you might enjoy. Some are original; some have been borrowed from online sources with permission.
Hello, dogs! This is Ash speaking to you from Simply for Dogs. Usually, I talk to your humans, but this time around, I have a few words for you – just a bit of advice that I hope you’ll find helpful over the exciting weeks to come.
This is a time when you’ll need to be a little more patient with your humans than you usually are. They’re going to be acting a bit out of character; they’ll be bringing home a lot more from the stores than you’re used to seeing. These bags are full of things called “gifts,” which are items that humans give to those they love at this time of year.
Now, about those gifts. I know, and you know, that your humans love you more than they love anyone else, but not all those gifts are for you, okay? So don’t go digging into the bags. And once the gifts are wrapped up (it’s a thing that humans do so that the gift ends up being a surprise) and placed under the Christmas tree (more on the tree in a minute), don’t rip them open.
We should talk about Christmas clothing, too. So, dogs, you know how your human wears those crazy sweaters with all that bling, and maybe funny earrings shaped like bows or candy canes, and might even put on a red hat with white trim? Well, they might want you to wear something too. Like fake antlers. Or little red cuffs with white fur and bells for your ankles. I know: it sounds horrible, but it’s only for a little while, and it makes your human happy, so try to be tolerant.
Now, let’s talk about the Christmas tree. This is not an ordinary tree. You can tell that it’s not an ordinary tree because your human has brought it indoors, and hung all sorts of cool stuff on it like lights and ornaments. Trust me: this will only happen once a year, and in a little time, your world will be back to normal. In the meantime, though, I have to ask you not to pee on that tree. You can continue to pee on outdoor trees as you always have, but this indoor tree means a lot to your humans, so it’s off limits.
Furthermore, on the subject of the tree, the water in the container that holds the tree is just for the tree, so please don’t drink it. And if your tail is not docked, be careful swishing it around when you’re close to the tree; you don’t want to break any of your human’s special ornaments.
You also need to know that your human might be bringing other humans into your home at this time of year. Now, I know you love meeting people, and you enjoy giving kisses, but some [stupid] humans don’t like kisses, so wait to be invited before kissing. Also, no crotch-sniffing.
And finally, if a big fat guy with a white beard slides down your chimney, be nice to him. This is one intruder that is okay. He’s not in your house to steal things; he’s actually bringing gifts (see above), some of which are probably for you.
I Am Not Making This Up!
This is a true story that I came across about a woman in Maine who was cooking a Christmas turkey. Wanting only the best for her family, she had chosen a Butterball turkey. I don’t know if they still do this, but, at the time, Butterball was relatively new and they had what they called a “Turkey Talk Line” for people who were having issues with cooking their turkeys.
While getting the turkey ready to be stuffed, the woman’s Chihuahua jumped into the body cavity of the turkey and became lodged there. Her attempts to get the dog out weren’t working. The more she pulled, the more panicked the dog became, so she called the talk line.
Help was forthcoming. The person on the line suggested simply carefully cutting the cavity open a bit. It worked, and the woman was able to stuff the turkey with bread as opposed to a small dog.
You still think I’m making this up, right? Come on; I’ve got a great imagination, but not that great!
Tonight’s my first night as a watchdog and here it is Christmas Eve.
The children are sleeping all cozy upstairs, while I’m guarding the stockings and tree.
What’s that now? Footsteps on the rooftop? Could it be a cat or mouse?
Who’s this down the chimney? A thief with a beard and a big sack for robbing the house?
I’m barking; I’m growling; I’m biting his rear. He howls and jumps back in his sleigh.
I scare his strange horses; they leap in the air. I’ve frightened the whole bunch away!
Now the house is all peaceful and quiet again. The stockings are safe as can be.
Won’t the kiddies be glad when they wake up tomorrow and see how I’ve guarded the tree?
– By Shel Silverstein
Yup, bunch of happy kids there for sure! But hey, the dog meant well.
A Puppy’s Christmas
It’s the day before Christmas
And all through the house
The puppies are squeaking
An old rubber mouse.
The wreath which had merrily
Hung on the door
Is scattered in pieces
All over the floor.
The stockings that hung
In a neat little row
Now boast a hole in
Each one of the toes.
The tree was subjected
To bright-eyed whims,
And now, although splendid,
It’s missing some limbs.
I catch them and hold them.
“Be good”, I insist.
They lick me, then run off
To see what they’ve missed.
And now as I watch them
The thought comes to me,
That theirs is the spirit
That Christmas should be.
Should children and puppies
Yet show us the way,
And teach us the joy
That should come with this day?
Could they bring the message
That’s written above,
And tell us that, most of all,
Christmas is love.
To me, this really brings home the spirit of Christmas. It’s love, pure and simple. And it’s joy. I wish that we could all, each and every one of us, experience the joy and love that is in a dog’s heart every day of the year. Maybe on some level, that’s what Christmas is for. For me as a dog person, it’s about experiencing, at least once a year, the pure spirit of wonder that has so little to do with gifts and parties and seasonal mayhem, and so much to do with the pleasure that can be found in small things, like the fun of chasing a rubber mouse or running off in search of adventure. We can learn from our dogs, especially at this time of year.
This breaks my heart every time I read it, and reminds me that dogs are not just for Christmas.
‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
Every shelter is full – we are lost but not found,
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
We hope every minute that someone will care,
They’ll come to adopt us and give us the call,
“Come here, Max and Sparkie – come fetch your new ball!!”
But now we sit here and think of the days…
We were treated so fondly – we had cute, baby ways,
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew –
Now we’re no longer young and we’re no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
They reacted so quickly – why were they so rash?
We “jump on the children,” “don’t come when they call,”
We “bark when they leave us,” “climb over the wall.”
We should have been neutered; we should have been spayed;
Now we suffer the consequence of the errors they made.
If only they’d trained us, if only we knew…
We’d have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse – left to roam –
Now we’re tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye…
“Maybe someone else will give you a try.”
So now here we are, all confused and alone…
In a shelter with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
With so many to care for, they can’t stay to chat,
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer…
We know that they wonder how long we’ll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads…
Of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears –
Our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.
If you can’t adopt us and there’s no room at the Inn –
Could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year –
Can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat…
And help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
And more of us will, if more people will give.
– Author unknown
Now, if that doesn’t bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye, then you are a horrible human being and I hope you have a thoroughly rotten Christmas.
Of course, you are not a horrible human being, because you are here reading a blog devoted to dogs.
I wish everyone felt the way you and I do about our canine companions. If everyone did, there would be no dogs adopted at Christmas and then thrown out with the tree and the decorations that no one wants anymore.
This time of year (and for the rest of the year too, for that matter), remember our friends in shelters. They’re not there by choice. They’re there because someone made an impulsive decision, or because someone couldn’t be bothered with proper training, or because someone allowed a breeding that shouldn’t have happened. In short, they’re there because of humans. And it’s up to humans to step up to the plate and help.
If you’re considering a dog for your family this Christmas, then make sure that you’re not entering into the decision lightly. The last thing that’s needed is another dog tossed out like an unwanted gift. Do your research and learn How to Get the Right Dog from the Right Breeder. And if it fits with your lifestyle, consider a rescue or shelter dog. They need our help.
Merry Christmas to all of you, dogs and humans alike, from me, Janice and Leroy. We wish you all the joy that the season can bring, and hope that the New Year will bring you peace, prosperity and love.