Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Dog Who Loved Christmas learned at a very young age that dogs who never beg get more turkey than those who do. Every guilty person at the table eventually offered something, a carefully-chosen pay-off. Indeed, some years, so much food was gingerly collected below the laughter and conversation above that The Dog Who Loved Christmas would have to slip away to the basement two or three times during the meal and ralph everything he'd eaten thus far into a cool corner. He'd always upchuck against an outside wall, so no incriminating evidence would be found til Easter. Sometime he re-ate it for snacks. Then it was back upstairs for another pound or two of dinner.

After the meal, The Dog Who Loved Christmas would race outside with the kids. It was his duty to destroy forts and snowmen as quickly as tots could build them. Bundled in snowsuits, the kids could barely feel his nips. The smaller ones had difficulty walking. The Dog Who Loved Christmas would grab them by their parka hoods and drag them backwards through snowdrifts, playing crack the whip. He did this only with wee ones who couldn't really talk, so they could not report him to the authorities. And of course, bigger kids all thought it was funny.

On Christmas night, The Dog Who Loved Christmas would sprawl on his back under the tree, fat and happy, his legs splayed like a broken toy, his mouth open, and snore like a horse.

Every year at about midnight, they would take his photo for the family album.

There were eight years' worth of pictures of the animal, paws to the sky and snoring. So cute, so content, under his tree.

"That Dog Sure Does Love Christmas," somebody would always whisper, as the camera shutter clicked. Sometimes his eyes would flutter and he even heard them say it. It made him very glad to please them so.

dunford/pagesix 1986


Dorothy said...

Did you go to the waterfall? We moved from Toronto 20 years ago, but I always managed to find your Christmas column. Thanks for this, and Merry Christmas.

dunf said...

The waterfall is now buried under fallen trees, the result of that nasty tornado a couple years back. Hope you have a sweet, bright new year!