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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas for the Adopted Dogs

I'm going to take a moment and talk about my own dogs and this holiday and to say thank you to some special people. All of my "Kids" are rescued in one form or another. For some reason, there are people who seem to think a shelter dog is a damaged dog. They are not. Often times, their being in the shelter simply had to do with people who didn't take the time to teach them how to live in our world. Sometimes people never teach their cute little puppies to go to the bathroom outside and then blow a gasket when they pee on the couch-- and end up dumping them. So many people get a puppy and then dump when they get big... it sucks. My dogs were all given up- wether by being tossed out of a truck on the highway, tossed away because they weren't worth the breeding anymore, or just abandoned in a shelter. I love them all..  the people who gave up on them really missed out.

My oldest 2 dogs are Matisse and Virgil Humperdink Rat Terrier Extraordinaire. They both have traveled all over with me and have been with me since babies. Every Christmas since they were little, I have gotten them presents. I have no human children, so I always get them as much as I can. They know what presents are. Many years I would get them new beds, and treats and toys and toys and toys.. and dog present Christmas present opening time was like a mad house. It was fun. It was messy and they would all play and destroy the toys and end up in a tired heap in the floor amongst piles of smiling stuffed Santas and stuffing plucked from toy reindeers.

This year, things have not really been going so well. For the first time since adopting Matisse (16 years ago), I didn't go out and spend a bunch on dog toys and wrap them up like I usually did. Things have been tough. Like so many people, I haven't been able to find full time work.. I make and sell art-- but the selling part is hard. I have had to cut back and this year -- well, I had to cut back to no Christmas presents for the dogs.. and, although I know they have no idea it was Christmas, I did. I was feeling pretty bummed. It actually was making me sadder than I ever imagined it would.

But then something happened....

An unexpected package arrived at my door. When I opened it I was like whoaaaaaa a box full of dog toys! Some friends of mine from miles and miles away had gotten together and made some handmade dog toys for my "kids"... coolest thing ever! It was so awesome to open that and I was like oh man now I don't have to break my 16 year dog present streak! I decided to wait until Christmas Eve and let dogs have them then..

The next day another.. a bigger box arrived at the front door. It was from my brother and I assumed he had gotten me something large for Christmas like a life sized statue of Tom Cruise...but, I decided to wait to open it also on Christmas Eve..

Well, its Christmas Eve and I opened that large package and my brother had sent me a nice necklace. the big part wasn't for me though...  It was for the dogs. It seems their Uncle had gone to the pet store and picked out every Christmas dog toy collection and wrapped them all up together.

So the dogs got to open their gifts and they didn't have to go a Christmas with no toys. Beula, who is the newest addition to my family, had her first Christmas with me.. when she came into the room and saw the massive pile of toys she just stood and stared for a moment. She picked something out and went to try and hide it... I told her it was ok, but she seemed suspicious of the whole thing. The other dogs were going to town because they knew.. they knew it was that magical time of year that they get a huge quantity of toys and that their next step would be to destroy them and leave a mound of stuffing in the living room. Next year, Beula will know and she won't take her toy and hide away. This may be her first Christmas.. her first pile of toys.. I don't know... she was one of those dogs who was adopted as a baby... and dumped when she got big. So now she is mine and tonight she is sound asleep after learning about cool things that arrive in surprise packages by the front door.  She learned about Christmas and good friends from far away and thoughtful family.

Virgil Humperdink Rat Terrier Extraordinaire is in awe over the large amount of Christmas toys.. he said he would have never gotten such gifts in the puppy mill he came from. 

Matisse is an expert now on Christmas toy time. He is pretty old now so he got to have a special toy time before the wonder twins were let loose. He hasn't really played for months.. but, he had a few moments and it made me so happy to see him have a little bit of time where he seemed young again. 

Bella is still pretty hesitant to go all nuts with the toys. This is her second Christmas with me and considering the condition she was in when I got her.. I bet this is probably her second Christmas ever. When I first got her, she didn't even seem to know what toys were. Her foster mother who took such good care of her, was one of the toy makers - so that makes the handmade toys extra special. you can see one up in the top left corner.. the one with the crazy eyes. 

Beula had her first Christmas here and took off with a stuffed Christmas tree to go and hide it. She didn't seem to understand that it was ok and that the big pile of toys was for her. Usually she loves the camera and I can't keep her out of the shot, but she was on the move here. She is Sylvia's sister and this is their first Christmas together. Sylvia set her straight though.. she showed her how it was done. 

Jillian Jones Appalachian Dog went crazy- like she does every year.. so crazy that this is probably the most focused pic I got of her. 

Sylvia remembered and instead of just picking one, she just laid down on them all. She fell on love with one of the handmade toys and stowed it away in her kennel for later. Then she went back to one her Uncle had given her and worked to remove the stuffing.  It didn't take long for her to show her sister that they didn't even need to choose just one- that they could stuff 2 or 3 in their giant mouths.

Sir Nigel Longbottom is missing from these pictures due to naughtiness. He really only likes to play on his own anyway. He does not find it dignified to play tug a war with others. He likes alone time to play so he will have some tomorrow with me. He has an affinity for tennis balls that do not even fit in his chihuahua mouth.
Merry Christmas! Thank you John and the girls from IA.. the dogs thank you and I do to.. because I had a blast watching them... now I have to sweep though.. it looks like it snowed in here and I see pieces of Santa Clause tossed around the living room... it kind of looks like a cartoon murder took place in here. the dogs are happy though.. and quiet... except for the snoring.

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