Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Plethora of Puppies (aka A Canine Country Christmas...)

Brillo meets Scruffy
The holidays are over and winter finally seems to be setting in. God and Mother Nature worked in tandem to create a little magic, and at the last minute we had a white Christmas to allay my children’s fears. We didn’t have enough snow for our “sliding after dark in pajamas” tradition, but there was enough snow to make the landscape (and the teenagers’ dispositions) sparkle and shine.

On Christmas Eve we invited family and some new friends to The F.A.R.M. for supper. Three years ago our oldest son Guy created a wonderful family tradition. He arrives ‘home’ early on Christmas Eve day and prepares the meal, which is a wonderful gift for his mother. I find I invite more guests when I’m not doing the cooking…
Guy with Saint and Scruffy on his shoulder, Lucy on the arm of the chair, and the long-suffering and good-natured Boone, who (with Brillo) had to put up with the 3 puppies
This year, there were 14 humans and 5 canines in our home on ‘the night before Christmas’. The Pease Wees, the newest members of our household, were joined by their cousin Boone, Guy’s sweet dog. Cousin Brillo, the Labradoodle, was in attendance too—arriving with my sister Chris and staying with us for a few days so Chris and her husband Chris could travel to Cleveland to visit Chris’ family. Meaning the family of the other Chris, since this Chris’ family is here. Of course, now that they’re married, Chris’ family is Chris’ family, too. Two Chrises. One family.

No problem.

Thank God for wine.

But I was talking about dogs and not how many Chrises were Christmasing with us. The fifth canine to round out our party was Lucy, my friend Patty’s 7 month old Jack Russell terror. Jack Russells are an active breed. Always moving. Always jumping. Wiggling. Burrowing. Terrier-izing.

I didn’t realize how mobile the little dog was. The kids and I had pushed all the living room furniture back to the walls to make room for the tables in the center of the floor. We sat on sofas and chairs and enjoyed Guy’s hors d’oeuvres and Patty’s homemade wine while staying out from under the cook’s feet. All of a sudden, Lucy jumped onto Chris (one of them) and continued bouncing over the top of everyone else, springing from one sofa (and lap) to the next chair (and lap) to the next sofa (and lap) without ever touching the floor. Round and round in a circle she went, over duck tenders and around pesto pizza and under homemade cheese-its. Jack Russels aren’t large dogs, but they are solid. And their feet are quite pointy. Sharp. Wicked picked, in fact! Our new friends were quite taken with the gymnastic abilities of Miss Lucy as she knocked food out of hands and drove air out of tummies. I’m sure we impressed these newcomers to the point of ‘no return’.

Thank God for wine.
Guy and Josie on the (new) sofa (see towel...) and Lucy, Boone and Brillo on Guy and Josie.
Wee puppies and not so wee puppies tested the patience of the adults—both human and canine—as they teased for snacks, darted in and out of harm’s way, and generally confirmed the rumor that The F.A.R.M. is a zoo.

Eventually, the house quieted. Most of our guests stuffed themselves with good food and fine wine… and went home. Remaining to hang stockings with us were Guy and Patty…and the 5 dogs.  Oh, yeah.... and the 3 cats.

Stevie and Scruffy (Stevie never touched her [he actually loves the Wees) but Scruffy has felt the claws of Josie's cat Curious before...I thought this expression of ANTICIPATION was hilarious.)
I have a very patient and long-suffering husband. He puts up with a lot. I’m the one whose friend gave me the Wees, causing our household to revert to a nursery again after years without puppies or small children. It is my life-long friend and my family members who bring dogs to our parties.

It’s my side of the family that brings wine.

The living room had been put to rights. The tables and chairs taken care of, the dishes washed and dried…We sat on sofas and in chairs chatting, winding down, relaxing in the glow of Christmas tree lights and candles. Steven and Eli were on the big (new) couch, Josie and I sat on the love seat, Patty was tipped back in the recliner, and Guy was propped in the armchair. Dogs were lounging by feet and in laps. Suddenly, Eli spoke.
"Dame Scruffy of Dingleberry Bog" (bottom) and "Saint Baxter of Soggy Bottom" (top)
“Lucy! LUCY! Papa!…you might wanna MOVE, Papa!”

Eli’s words sunk in at the same moment that Lucy’s pee soaked in. Steven jumped off the (new) couch, pulling the seat of his britches away from his…seat. Lucy bounded off the (new) cushion behind him–her task complete; her bladder empty. Pal Patty perked up. A seasoned dog owner, she’s attuned to the change in tenor of the mood in a room when a human realizes he has been piddled upon.

I could have sworn Ricky Ricardo was in my house. “Looo-cee!” was repeated several times as Patty ran for paper towels, Guy belly-laughed and Josie tittered, Eli breathed a sigh of relief that he’d been on the other end of the sofa, and Steven went to take a shower and change his clothes for the second time on Christmas Eve.

It was interesting to watch the ‘host’ Steven as he attempted to curb his tongue and his temper after ‘the incident’. Had one of the Wees done such a thing on our (new) couch—especially when Steven was sitting on/in it—we would have been witness to a much more colorful display of emotion. Choice words, facial contortions…it would have been a far more interesting show. But ‘host’ Steven loves friend Patty and he didn’t want to spoil the Christmas mood. And he didn’t. What a guy.

Our Canine Christmas was hectic, but truly enjoyable.

Five dogs. Two Chrises.

And wine.

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