LESLIE CRISS: Christmas a time for all manner of mammals – two-legged and four

By Leslie Criss

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
– Hamilton Wright Mabie

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.”
– Roger Caras

“The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!”
– Charles N. Barnard

Christmas is for children. At least, that’s what I heard my grandmother say in her later years when I’d chastise her for not wanting to put up a tree.
“Christmas is for everyone,” I’d argue. I believed it then; I believe it now.
And everyone, I must add, includes our four-legged furry friends.
I have three who live at my house, dogs all, and they are as different as they can be.
If Thom Thumb the Chihuahua loves Christmas, he’s keeping it to himself. I’ve noted no change in his demeanor since the Christmas village is displayed or the tree has been decorated.
Perhaps he’s like me and gets excited quietly – on the inside.
I’m sure when he realizes one of the presents under the tree has his name on it, he’ll wag that tail a little harder.
Next is Sally the Pug.
Sally spent the first two and a half years of her life in a crate at an Arkansas puppy mill. As far as I know, there was no loving physical contact, no play time, no holidays. She was left alone in a small crate unless it was breeding time or she was in the whelping box with her litters.
Though she’s 3 or older, Sally’s never experienced Christmas, so this will be her first.
I’m not sure what she thinks of all the holiday hoopla, but the night the tree was decorated, she did run excitedly in circles in the living room.
The only other time I’ve seen her get that worked up is when she hears the word t-r-e-a-t said aloud.
Then there’s George – George Bailey – the only non-pedigreed pup at my house.
The son of a Jack Russell-mix mama and a purebred Lhasa apso, George is the sweetest dog I’ve ever loved – and I’ve loved a lot.
He’s a mama’s boy – when I am at home, he is either in my lap or not far from it.
But for the past week or so, I’ll be doing something and notice my fuzzy, four-legged shadow is absent.
Each time I’ve gone in search of George, I’ve found him in the living room, sitting peacefully and gazing at the Christmas tree.
One night he was so mesmerized by the lights sparkling on the tree, he was unaware of my presence until I’d called his name several times.
I love that he’s loving Christmas, which is for children and old people and everyone in between.
And canine’s too.

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