When my children were young, Christmas was such a huge deal. Not that it isn’t a huge deal, still. It’s just a different kind of huge deal. Christmas is no longer baking cookies or endless shopping or matching jammies or teacher’s gifts or Christmas concerts.
And truth be told I only miss a few things on that list. Now, Christmas is more about all of us being in the same house at the same time paying attention to each other in the form of eating meals, playing games, sharing music, teasing, and giving, yes, still quite a few presents (but none that came from a maddening trip to Toys R Us).
We didn’t decorate the tree until Dec 23, even though the tree had been in the house for over a week. On Saturday morning, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for decorating-the-tree to fit into everyone’s schedule. Frankie and I began decorating without them. His job was to reinforce the “Frankie zone” so I didn’t hang ornaments where he (or a loose puppy) could reach them. We’d been at it for about five minutes, when my oldest son, Brady walked throught the room on his way out and asked, “Are you decorating the tree?”
I said, “I’m putting ornaments on this tree with no music and nobody helping but Frankie.” (Remember, I’m a professional mom and I’m highly skilled in the art of guilt.) In only minutes everyone was helping, the Squirrel Nut Zippers Christmas album was playing on the stereo, and Nick dragged out the ladder to put the star on. It turned into a beautiful, impromptu pause in our day and we spent the next hour laughing about the homemade ornaments and the beloved Peter Pan characters and brought back from some of our favorite trips. Ian is so tall this year that he was able to hang most of the high ornaments without the ladder.
Having Frankie and the puppies (that sounds like a pop band of some sort) did bring back a little of the chaos and excitement of the holiday, though. Frankie (and Gracie for the first time in many years) enjoyed opening his present. Frankie got a tree with nine squirrels and Gracie got a brand new flat fox (Gala has spent the last nine months stealing the old fox at every turn and all that is left is a few remnants – a tail and part of the head)
The puppies didn’t get any special presents beyond a few treats, but they got more romp around time in the kitchen since there’s nothing else pressing to do beyond watching puppies play. The pups had a few visitors and discovered the wonders of the woodstove. This is maybe my favorite foster puppy picture all year –
We’ve gotten to know these puppies and are enjoying their sweet natures. They are remarkably gentle puppies for 3-month-old pups – not mouthy or nippy. They are curious and love to chew. My kitchen chairs have a few new notches on their legs and more than one stuffed animal has ended its life on the floor of the mudroom. These little girls are serious eaters, which may be a nod to their beagle heritage, and Honey Bun is well on her way to becoming an accomplished counter-surfer.
Little Ears is the instigator, always looking for someone to play chase with or nagging Frankie into a wrestling match. She is the busiest puppy and the slowest diner, possibly because she has to pause to growl at the other puppies, just in case they may be tempted to share her bowl.
Emma Girl loves her sisters, but likes her me-time, too. When her sisters get in a brawl over a coveted toy, she will slyly sneak away with the toy while the other pups are too busy wrestling. She’ll settle on the Frank bed with the toy and enjoy it by herself while the others race around the kitchen, toy forgotten but battle still raging.
Freida is bright and smart and the first one to discover a forgotten sock or an unlatched gate. She bounds around the kitchen on her long legs, her curious eyes searching out the windows for the cat or a bird, or following me as I work, always looking for attention. She’s a very people-oriented pup.
Honey Bun lopes around on her long, lanky legs, but if the cat is in the vicinity, that’s where her explorations stop. She is single-minded in her quest to convince the cat to play and she is undaunted by the swipes she’s taken to the nose. She’s also very good at slipping through the gate behind me to race through the house and bug Gracie (who has ZERO patience with eager puppies).
Soon, we’ll be back to regular life, but for a few more days we can enjoy the non-schedule, the friends stopping by, the kids hanging out, the puppies in the mud room. All of the puppies have adopters and will go home this weekend. Gala will also return. She’s been on a holiday of her own visiting with her other favorite family. Pam has, no doubt, spoiled her rotten. I’m so grateful that she was able to go to Pam’s because while we love Gala, she would have been overwhelmed by puppies racing around the kitchen and strangers showing up on the porch and a living room crowded with people.
I didn’t get my biggest wish – Gala didn’t find her family for Christmas.
I’ve thought a lot about it in the absence of Gala this week. She is such a special, beautiful, funny, loving dog and it still makes no sense to me that no one has picked her yet. But maybe it’s not Gala who’s not ready, maybe it’s her family who isn’t ready for her yet. I know that this dog deserves the most wonderful of families, so perhaps that means we have to wait a little longer. So Gala will be back and we’ll continue to love her and rearrange our home and our days to make her comfortable and safe. I’m still hopeful that she can find a more suitable foster home in 2018, but until she does, we’ll find a way to make it work for her here.
OPH has plans in the new year to send Gala to training and I know both Pam and I are committed to making sure she finds her family. OPH is also committed to helping Gala be successful and is in the midst of developing a training reimbursement program to ensure that dogs like Gala can continue training in their new homes. As the new year wraps, I’d like to share a video of all that this amazing organization has accomplished this year. If you’re looking for a worthy cause for your last minute tax-deductible donations, please consider OPH. I’m proud to be a small part of this amazing organization that saves dogs like Gala and commits to seeing them through safely from shelter to forever home. Together We Rescue.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.
Blessings for a wonderful new year!