Barking Up The Christmas Tree
It’s official: My dogs think I’m crazy. Since we brought the two of them home as newly weaned pups last February, it’s been a constant battle to keep them from dragging all sorts of branches, pine cones, sticks, bark, twigs, pine bows, palm fronds, potted plants, roots and assorted other foliage into the house through their dog door. After 10 months of this daily activity, we have learned how to tell instantly when they are trying to sneak some of this yard debris through their personal portal into our kitchen. If the stick in question is small enough, they will actually turn their doggy faces away from wherever we happen to be in the room so we don’t see what they have.
Getting past us, they will run straight for a less visible area of our dining room, living room or family room where they proceed to chew their prize to pieces and spread it all over our carpet like so much mulch. At times, the two chocolate colored pooches (aka: the brown clowns) will try to drag a two- or three-foot long branch through an 18-inch wide door. That particular trick usually has us laughing more than scolding.
This all-too-often shredding of tree parts inside the house doesn’t exactly make my wife happy and, needless to say, the dogs have gotten used to our sometimes strident and often stressful vocal reactions to their shenanigans.
It doesn’t help that they appear to be slow learners. I say that because, even as they both approach their first birthday, one or both of them still bring in something from the yard a couple of times a day to shred. In spite of our best efforts, they manage to sneak by us undetected and wind up creating a nice debris field of wood chips and dirt on our carpet. Such a lovely thing to discover with bare feet.
So, with this as the backstory, you can imagine the looks on their furry faces when last Saturday, I threw open our front door and proceeded to drag in my own green, branchy, pine-needley, seven-foot tall tree into the house and set it up smack dab in the most prominent corner of our living room. I could almost see their doggy thoughts as they went back and forth between … “What the heck? He tells us not to bring green stuff into the house and now he’s bringing a whole tree inside?” to “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Jackpot! Chew-a-palooza time!”
As I write this, our Christmas tree has been up and decorated for several days and, so far at least, the pups have yet to chomp on it. But that’s not the only danger they pose to the tannenbaum.
Did I mention that one of our two large, rambunctious, still-puppy-like dogs is a male? And as canines of the male persuasion are prone to do, he sometimes lifts his legs on things – certainly not a recommended activity with electric wiring circling the tree at leg-level and below.
Thankfully, he’s completely house broken. Then again, he’s also never had a real tree inside the house to tempt fate. Hopefully, we won’t see any extra holiday lighting effects this year from electricity meeting liquid.
I also hope we don’t have to create an ornament-free zone around the bottom several feet of the tree like we did quite a few Christmas seasons when our kids were toddlers and the low-hanging, shiny and oh-so-fragile things would wind up smashed on our tile hearth, stepped on or flushed down the toilet. Ah, precious Christmas memories.
At least with our two toothy tree terrorists in residence, I won’t need to cut up our tree when we’re ready dispose of it in early January. I’ll just haul it into the backyard and let the four-legged wood chippers have their way with it.
Merry Christmas! And I’ll see you ’round town.