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Tuesday, December 13

One Little Dog and Christmas

We adopted Murphy about 13 years ago from a local humane society. He’s a full-blooded Bichon who, before meeting Mr. Pop and I, had evidently led a pretty stressful life. A driver witnessed someone tossing him from a pickup truck on I-95. That driver scooped him up and carried him to the shelter. Luckily he had no serious injuries. The local TV stations filmed him and then showed him on their local news hours. No one came to claim him.

At the time, Mr. Pop and I had recently had to love our previous little dog enough to let her go, as she was suffering from old age. After seeing this ragged little white homeless dog on TV, I called to ask if I might adopt him. My name was added to the list of others who also wanted to open their hearts and homes to him.

Weeks went by and then one day a woman from the humane society came to the place where I was working. She had a little, still ragged looking, almost white dog in tow on a leash. She led him to me and asked if I wanted to do a “test run” with him over the weekend to see if he would work out in my home.

I led him to my desk and tied him to my desk chair. All day he looked up at me with his big brown eyes and soft expression. I would pet him and talk to him. We were getting acquainted.

That night I drove him home and quickly gave him a shampoo. Wow, what a difference some dog soap and water can make. He stood there in the bathtub and became a swan. Murphy had a new home.

Okay sure, he chewed up one of Mr. Pop’s sandals, but other than that he was a true little gentleman and just as loveable as any little dog could be.

As the years went by and I became a fulltime spoiler of Murphy we discovered that he loved little plush pink pig toys. He loved chewing off their ears, removing their felt eyes and having fun with them. I must tell you there were some pitiful looking pigs in Murphy’s toy basket. Little veterans of Murphy’s eye removal and ear removal campaign.

Each time we went near the pet store a new pink pig accompanied us home. Murphy came to embrace the idea of a new pink pig as a grand occasion, and so did we.

One Christmas five years ago I had purchased a new pink pig to give Murphy for Christmas. I wrapped it in white tissue paper and placed it among the other gifts under the Christmas tree. A couple of days later I was in the kitchen cleaning up when I heard some noises in the living room. I peeked around the corner just in time to see Murphy finish unwrapping his gift and pulling the pink pig from the torn paper. He grabbed the pig in his mouth and came running to me as if to say, “Hey, look what I found!"

From that Christmas on I learned to never put Murphy’s presents under the tree before Christmas morning. The guy is just too impatient to wait for the grand unwrapping day.

I tell you this now because a few minutes ago I heard a strange noise in our spare bedroom. I sneaked around the corner and there was Murphy sniffing the pile of bags of presents that are waiting to be wrapped. He was sticking his nose in every bag and sniffing for his present. Ha! I caught him before he spoiled his Christmas this year.

Murphy is getting on up there in age and he has lost his hearing, but even this old dog hasn’t forgotten his Christmas trick. And thank goodness we will have at least one more Christmas morning with the gift of watching that once ragged, now professionally groomed, little white dog have a great time ripping the hell out of white tissue paper in his search for another new plush pink pig.

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