Strange Times

Dog lovers live outside the limits of normal behavior. The rest of us know that and accomodate their needs as best we can. When various holidays arrive, they ramp up their behaviour a notch to the level of mild embarrassment. We deal with it by reminding ourselves that it is only temporary. But when the Christmas season is in full swing, they are just plain creepy. The problem is that sometimes we feed this behavior. We’ll come back to that idea in a moment.

The dog lover in my family (hint- not me) has traded addresses with many internet weinie dog loving friends across the country for the purpose of exchanging Christmas cards. It sounds innocent enough but, let me tell you, when those cards started rolling in, it was frightening. First, I think we received more cards from people we’ve never met that from those we know well. Second, I’m guessing that we didn’t receive a card from every wienie dog fanatic and certainly there are other breeds of dogs out there. That means the sheer number of people who behave this way is staggering. Finally, almost all the cards come with photos of one or more weinie dogs all dressed up in all sorts of costumes. If you can imagine it, someone has figured out how to put it on dog. It might be holly-decorated collars, jingle-bells around their necks, little red Santa hats, floppy reindeer antlers, and complete Santa costumes. It might be anything. Tell me, what kind of mind does it take to dream up how to put a tiny white beard on a dachshund?

Now back to my point about “encouraging them” in their bizarre behavior. My daughter, Ellen, who is otherwise a good normal kid, brought her two cats home with her during her holiday visit with us. No costumes. However, she brought the dog lover in the family gifts. Gifts that you might say were dog lover oriented. In fact, (and I don’t blame her for this) they were costumes. When you see the great joy on the face of a dog lover after they receive some kind of over-the-top pet trinket, it is hard to resist. The more embarrasing it is to purchase, seemingly the greater the joy for the recipient. I am pleased to report that the costume was not an elf suit. Instead,…well, see for your self.

You tell me. Does the look on their faces say, “Wow…just what I always wanted!” or rather, “If I was 100 pounds bigger, you’d be wearing this on your face faster than you could say, ‘Aw…what a cute puppy-wuppy’, and I would be the one grinning”?

It wasn’t long after that Gus, the pit bull mix, was being subjected to the festivities. The jingle bells were put around his neck. The he looked up and I heard him say, “If you want me to prance around like some kind of sissy sleigh horse or reindeer, you’ve had too much eggnogg!”.

Then he flopped down in total embarrassment.

While Ellen and I were sympathetically embarrassed for him, the dog lover was clapping her hands with glee.

Yes sir. Christmas time is a strange time for the dog lover’s family.

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