Melvin spent three glorious days at his Grandparent’s house then a night at his cousin’s home. He did what he always does, he crushed laps and tried to fit on furniture not made for his size.
Let me make something very clear, I love Christmas. I love everything about it, even tacky Christmas sweaters which I may not personally wear but I applaud those who do. I love any effort of Christmas lights, be it the large bulb’d variety and plastic snowmen of years past or an all white display or a colorful LED extravaganza. To me it’s less about how the lights look and more about making the effort. I have been known to take lives straight into danger by stopping in the middle of a busy street to look at a house’s light display. People drive too fast!
What I mostly love about Christmas is my family. Those precious hours when phones get put down (no one’s calling), jammies get put on (we aren’t going anywhere) and we sit around an enjoy the sounds and conversation and each others unique existence in our lives. Yes, we open presents and yes I love that part also. But we lost a family member this year and while it’s hard to think about a Christmas without him, I’m humbled and proud that we have always done Christmas right and have focused on what matters most, each other. So this year when we look back, it will be with joyful remembrance.
Melvin loves Christmas for similar reasons (minus the lights, blinking lights tend to freak him out). It is the one holiday where all his favorite people are in one house. Where a bit of chaos is welcome which means he gets to see (and chase) his two four-legged cousins Sunny & Ben for hours and hours. Sunny & Ben have a combined weight of 40 pounds and it is pure comedy at its finest to see Ben run past, then Sunny, then…. wait for it, Melvin comes running around the corner his size slowing him down but his determination to catch up shining brightly. Thankfully they all get a along (for the most part). Melvin will get stuck in one of their travel crates at least ten times (he gets stuck at the shoulders then tries to walk around with it on his head to seek help). He will inevitably eat something he shouldn’t, develop stinky gas and then sleep straight through the 26th and 27th.
True, wonderful, perfect bliss.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! May you always find the joy!
That clock thing is going off. Why does it go off and come back on again so many times each morning? Did she FINALLY just say ‘good morning’? I must run over to her and shake my whole body to let her know how excited I am to greet this glorious day! Oops, fell down several steps in an effort to beat Her to the mudroom for our walk! Ahhhhh, the great outdoors! Sniff. Pee. Sniff some more. Walk. Walk. Walk! Breakfast! It only takes me 14 seconds to eat it! Now I shall gulp some water. She tells me not to gulp but I do it anyway cause I’m the boss… whoa, just threw up from gulping. She is so nice to clean it up. Huh, ‘told me so’ what?. Nap time. Oh no, she is packing up that bag thing. She has to leave me to go to work (I don’t know what work is but she goes there a lot of days). I’m sad, oh wait, Kong!!! Who’s sad? Not me! Patrol front windows to make sure no one is planning to walk within a 50 foot perimeter of our house. I’ll go upstairs now and get into
our Her bed. I’m not sure why she puts those fluffy things at the top every morning, I prefer them in them in a heap toward the middle. I fix fluffy thing situation for Her. I’m exhausted from re-making the bed. Nap. Ear up, what’s that? The garage door is opening! Yipppppeeee! I jump from my her bed, I think i just scratched the floor when I skidded over it, it looks better with scratches. I take the steps four-at-a-time (She says we need a carpet runner but I’m a runner! look at me go!) I’m at the door before it opens! Dog walker comes on days when She goes to work (does everyone work?). Twenty glorious minutes of following the lunch truck around the hood. I’d like to eat that truck. Kong after walk! I love eating. I wonder if there is a work for eating. Thirsty. Drink lots-o-water and then I step in something wet. I look down next to my bowl and wonder how all that water got on the floor. Maybe we have a leak. Bed or couch? Better do couch, the Brown Truck Man will be coming soon and I want to be sure he knows how vicious I am when he drops stuff off at the front door.Why does She put those fluffy things at the end of the couch when She knows that is where I like to lay? Do I have to do everything? Brown Truck Man! Get outta my way stupid fluffy thing! I’m running, I’m running and yes there he is! “Hey you” I bark but he ignores me so I jump up and scratch the office window with my front paws. Yeah, that’s right, you see me now don’t you! Ha! Totally scared him off. Wait. What did She tell me about this window? Something about me not being able to afford it if it broke. It’s a crappy window anyway, I can barely see out of it, what is all over it? Slobber? Gross. Back to the couch. I think I’ll lick my paw for a while. Oh, huge wet spot on couch from the paw licking, better move. Get out of my way stupid fluffy thing! How many stupid fluffy things do we need?! I’ll just put all four stupid fluffy things on the floor. Much better. Nap. What was that? Is that a little person? Ouch, ran into dining room window. Why isn’t there carpet in here to slow me down? Oh, little person! Let me bark and moan so you will see me! Why aren’t they seeing me. Run into office, window still blurry from the slobber, when is She going to clean this thing!! Back to dining room. COME BACK LITTLE PEOPLE, I WANT TO PLAY!. Hey, how did the foyer carpet get all jumbled up? I’m hungry. Nap. It’s dark. She’s home! I know she says no jumping but I gotta jump man! There she is! If I block Her in will She stop and pet me? She is sitting on the floor to see me! It’s all about me! I’m the best dog ever! Walk, yippeeeee! So hungry. Ate dinner in 12 seconds, a new record. Why did she just pick my water up mid-gulping? Pfffft. Ah, couch time with her. Nap. Walk! Bedtime! What do you mean I can’t sleep in the big bed?
I love my dog. I have a blog about my dog. His face is on my Christmas card. I am unconditionally committed to his health and his happiness. That said, there are days, when he frustrates me to my core. Days when I don’t enjoy him being underfoot, or showing me exuberance when I’m trying to relax. Days when he does things that he knows he absolutely should not do. Days when I must reprimand him. Days when I have to give him ‘the look’ over, and over and over.
These days are few and far between, for the most part Melvin is a sweet boy and his good days outweigh the bad ones 50 to one. But on those ‘one’ days, after I’ve let frustration speak my words and dirty looks have run amuck, I am always overcome with complete and weighty guilt. Each and every time. I try to think back on all the occasions my parents reprimanded me, told me to go to my room, left me to wallow in what I’d done. I’d survived. But Melvin looks up at me as if he doesn’t know why I’m mad. And then I convince myself that perhaps he doesn’t know, even though he’s just done the shameful act right in front of me. Or did he? There it is again, that look where he tilts his head and seems to say ‘huh?’.
Today is one of those days. And yes, I just apologized to him for him being a bad dog.
I have had the pleasure of knowing some of the most wonderful elder dogs. It’s remarkable how truly soulful older dogs are. Sure, they have trouble getting up and down. Eventually we all do. They don’t hear well (or at all) and their field of vision can be pretty limited. I’ve worn glasses since the 7th grade so who am I to judge. Their walks are slow and they linger longer. Sometimes mid-walk, they lay down. It’s cruel really, their aging happens so much faster. Think about how fast a puppy grows, during that time you really understand the whole seven years to our one. But when a dog is at the other end of their life, the aging process is just as swift. The beauty of it is, dogs handle it so gracefully. If I aged seven years in one I’d have a complete mental breakdown. Well to be honest I’ve been twenty-nine for a couple of years now so technically… Anyway, from what I’ve experienced, as human’s age, we tend to be a bit crabby. We live by the ‘been there, done that’ view and we for some reason see less opportunity and seek more scrutiny. Grumpiness often prevails.
Elder dogs, to the contrary, are peaceful. They seem to take great pride in the road traveled. They don’t dwell on the regrets, or the failures. They don’t constantly boast the successes or live in the shadow of the good old days. They embrace the right now. The spot on the floor where the sunshine hits. The love of their human. Dinner.
Here. Now. Bliss.
They are in our lives for such a short time. We train them and teach them tricks, but perhaps we should spend more time being their student. At the very least, when they are too tired to hop up on the couch, we should lay on the floor with them. It’s really all they want. Well, that and dinner.