The Dog Who Ate Christmas

Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by filarotten, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

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    This is such a nice article. I had to share it with all.

    The Dog Who Ate Christmas

    By THERESA WILLINGHAM


    Our dog recently ate 7 ounces of Baker's chocolate and a half-ounce of
    gourmet ground coffee and swallowed a marble, to boot. None of these
    things is part of recommended canine diet. Chocolate is toxic to
    dogs - a 1-ounce square of Baker's chocolate can kill a 10-pound dog,
    and it's a wonder 7 ounces didn't do in our 15-pound dachshund.
    Coffee holds the same dangers.

    The whys and wherefores of this accident are irrelevant. Everyone
    feels badly enough already. The upshot of the whole thing is that the
    vet bills totaled more than $1,200. Coming on the heels of a rough
    year and a recent layoff, our little dog effectively ate Christmas.

    On the way home from the vet with our pooch, groggy and sore after
    surgery to remove the offending blue marble, we joked gently about all
    the things that $1,200 could buy.

    "Dexter ate a 24-inch flat screen LCD TV," my husband said, laughing.

    "He ate a lot of video games," my son chimed in.

    "He ate a used car," one of my daughters added.

    "A very old and very used one," her father started to correct her. But
    then we remembered we'd sold our old car for $300 and agreed that
    Dexter had eaten the equivalent of four old minivans.

    Once home, everyone fawned over our sick little dog without reproach,
    glad he was home and on the mend, the $1,200 and abandoned Christmas
    gift ideas irrelevant.

    Because, truth be told, we're still in debt to Dexter for all he's
    done for us in the last couple of years.

    We adopted him as something of immersion therapy for our then-10-year-
    old son, who was suffering from an increasingly unreasonable and
    debilitating fear of dogs. Like many phobias, cynaphobia, the medical
    term for fear of dogs, doesn't require any negative experiences to
    exist. Our son's fears had grown to such proportions he couldn't walk
    down the street or ride his bike without heart-racing anxiety on just
    seeing a dog.

    When we adopted Dexter from a breed rescue group, he was a year and a
    half old, weighed 13 pounds and stood a foot high at the shoulders.
    Our daughters were delighted. Our son wouldn't come out of his room
    for three days. He crawled across the tops of chairs to get to the
    table to eat and then crawled back across them to return to his room.

    On the fourth day, he sat on a stool and observed the dog, who looked
    back questioningly with those irresistible dark brown eyes of his. At
    the end of a week, our son was carrying the dog around the house.
    After a few weeks, he was more comfortable with other dogs. Now, two
    years later, he still doesn't care for large dogs, but he's not
    fearful and he roams the neighborhood with a confidence that's
    carried over to other areas of his life. He's playing piano, riding
    horses, doing well in his studies and generally a happy-go-lucky kid
    with a dog.

    And that's just what Dexter did for our son.

    Each person in the family has a special and unique relationship with
    the dog. He plays gently and obligingly with our son. With my
    rambunctious, outgoing daughter, he races and wrestles. He leans
    against my quiet daughter like a cat, savoring her strokes. And while
    originally suspicious of men, Dexter adores my husband. They play
    wild games of chase and spend warm devoted moments snoozing.

    I had never owned a dog before and was concerned about how long I
    could be away from home; picking up after the dog in addition to the
    rest of the family, who at least could flush; annual shots; tags and
    whatever other dog ownership issues were bound to occur.

    But I found that walks took on new meaning with a little dog trotting
    at my side. An occasionally bizarre meaning, as we sometimes stopped
    every few feet so Dexter could check what the girls called his "pee
    mail" at every post and trunk. But I walk more briskly and more often
    now.

    And coming home has never been so rewarding! No one else in the family
    greets me so ecstatically and with such genuine joy. Whether I've been
    gone 15 minutes or a day, Dexter is enormously and unapologetically
    glad to see me. He's a cuddler, shamelessly squeezing between the
    desk and my lap while I work, cruising from lap to lap while we watch
    TV at night. He won't crawl into his bed until the last family member
    is in his or hers, and he lies curled up beside us until morning,
    when he starts his equal opportunity doting all over again.

    He has taught us patience, charity and the value of forgiveness. He
    never holds grudges, whether his tail is accidentally stepped upon,
    or he's ordered out of the kitchen for being underfoot. He certainly
    didn't like the vet's office during the chocolate Incident. But when
    we came to take him home, he clearly didn't associate us with his
    aches and pains. Through the haze of drugs after his surgery, he
    wagged his tail vigorously when he saw us.

    Dogs aren't for the shallow and self-absorbed. They're childlike but
    without the growing cognizance and independence of children. We are
    always their heroes; they're always our friends. Even with three
    children and a quarter-century marriage, I didn't fully understand
    unconditional love until Dexter came into our lives. The obligation
    to live up to such devotion and loyalty can be a daunting task and a
    humbling experience.

    Yes, our dog ate Christmas. But the gifts he's given us are priceless
    and more enduring than anything we could ever put under the tree and
    more than we could ever repay.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Theresa Willingham is an occasional columnist for the North of Tampa
    regional edition of the Times.
    ¬(c) Copyright 2002-2004, St. Petersburg Times
     
  2. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    awww what a sweet story.
     
  3. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    aww, that is really nice! I'm so glad that family was so caring, the husband, the kids and all! I hate what Christmas has turned into for my family, its good to see that it's still meaningful for others.
     
  4. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

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    I have been so wrapped in holiday stuff that I forgot to stop and smell the roses. This story made me stop and take a good look at how fortunate and blessed I really am.
     
  5. EliNHunter

    EliNHunter New Member

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    Now THAT is a great story... thanks for sharing...
     
  6. worried

    worried New Member

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    What a beautiful story
     
  7. Sheba

    Sheba I W A L R

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    How sweet!I like the title it reminded me of the Grinch LOL
     
  8. evenstar7139

    evenstar7139 New Member

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    Wow that's a pretty good article. I had a dog like that once. She was my first Pit Bull. She's dead now tho. Cancer. :(
     

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