Holiday company


by Frances Edstrom

The dog-who-must-not-be-written-about has been moping. He's not big on holidays. Or maybe it's the company that comes for the holidays.

First there's the baby Peyton. I, of course, want to hold her all day long, which interferes with you-know-who's desire to be petted 24/7. Then there's the baby's parents, who shoo him away when he comes close to the baby and they can see that her head would fit neatly into his mouth, with room to spare.

But probably the thing that gets to him most of all is the presence of Cassidy's dog, Brinnie. Brin is a Weimaraner of about twelve years, rescued by Cass from doing hard time in a puppy mill. Poor Brin is stone deaf and toothless, and paces nervously whenever Cass leaves the room. But she comes around for a nice pet, is very quiet, and spends most of the day sleeping on her mattress.

"Don't you mean MY mattress," said you-know-who as he read over my shoulder.

"Okay, your mattress," I replied. "But you slept on her mattress. You should pretend it's a sleepover."

"She eats my food, too," he said petulantly.

"That she does," I admitted. "We all make a few sacrifices when the relatives come for the holidays. But it's worth giving up a little to have everyone together."

"You are such a Pollyanna!" he blurted.

"Cassidy bought you a whole bag of dog food!" I tried.

"And Brinnie wore that stupid Christmas hat all the time. She has no shame!" he said.

"Excuse me? That's a little meanspirited of you. Just because you won't even wear a holiday neck-scarf is no reason to complain because Brinnie wants to get with the season."

"Dogs should not wear clothes!" he said vehemently.

"Oh, don't be silly," I said. "Not all dogs are quite as hairy and prepared for cold weather as you are, and they are more comfortable outdoors in a sweater or coat."

"It's demeaning. And a Weimaraner. She should be proud of her breed!"

"You are so silly," I said.

"And she smells up the back yard," he began, but I had to cut him off.

"This is a human family publication," I said. "It isn't polite to talk about such things in public."

"It takes me forever to get it back to smelling the way it should," he said.

I gave him the evil eye and he loped away sulkily.

I couldn't help myself, though, I had to twit him just a little.

"I suppose it was Brinnie's idea to knock the butter off the counter, smash the butter plate on the floor and eat the loaf of pumpernickel bread," I said. "Plastic wrapper and all," I added.

He became irate, making me feel chastened for having brought up the incident.

"Of course it was Brinnie's idea! I am cut to the quick! You know I have the utmost respect for your space. Do you think I have forgotten my puppy lessons? You always said that if I didn't eat your food, you wouldn't eat my food! I may have made a few mistakes, but not for many, many years!" he said with fervor.

"I'm sorry, I was just kidding," I said.

"Some joke!" he said, sniffing back a tear. "But in the spirit of the season, let's not be too hard on Brinnie. She had an unfortunate puppyhood."

"Well, that's very mature of you," I said. "I'm glad we had this little talk. We should try harder to understand the failings of others."

"Yes," he said, nuzzling my hand. "But I'll never really understand Brinnie. The bread wrapper plainly said, ‘No Trans Fats.' Why would a dog risk a punishment and a bellyache eating something that won't even taste good?"


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