Christmas cheer

Christmas cheer
Another nice things about puppies: they don’t find men in red suits with giant white things covering the bottom of their faces to be terrifying.  So many little kids do.
Here’s Darby and Santa (one of the many cute scenes at the recent Christmas party at CCI’s Oceanside headquarters). But SHE would snuggle up next to anyone!
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What WAS she thinking…

What WAS she thinking…
…when she peed in the middle of the living room this morning?  I didn’t catch her in the act, only the unmistakably hued puddle. But it had to have been Darby. Tucker would no sooner pee in the living room than he would catch and eat a baby.  Can it be that she simply forgot to pee on the walk that we had concluded only 5 minutes before?  That she forgot to check the back door for egress?  (It was open.) She’s eleven and a half months old and hasn’t had this kind of accident in months.

Surely, the ways of puppies are inscrutable.  (Mercifully, the pee was on the wood floor, and not the rug…)

Christmas Drill

Christmas Drill

The big news about this La Jolla Christmas Parade was not that it was charming.  It usually is, and the sunny skies and warm afternoon drew a big crowd, which made the whole event even more festive. No, it was that the CCI Puppy Drill Team looked far sharper and more disciplined than it did at the Coronado Fourth of July Parade. Darby didn’t have much of a clue as to what was going on. But if she had, she would have been proud.

I credit Pattie Urie, the team founder and brains of our operation. It was Pattie who organized extra practice sessions throughout the fall, and she who found the snowflake “crowns” worn by the pups this year and their sparkly blue capes. She also alerted the pup handlers to white scarves available from Walmart that definitely made us look more professional.  It paid off.  Our lines were more or less crisp. We moved more or less in unison. The crowd oohed.

Darby, on the other hand, seemed to take it all with a grain of salt. There’s always a long wait before our group gets to line up and march, which must feel agonizing if you’re young and furry and fired with desire to do nothing more than play with all the other pups assembled. But Darby patiently endured the wait until we got to stand.

Marching down Girard Street, she seemed exceptionally well-behaved to me (though perhaps the drums and bagpipes and Clydesdales had put a dent in her normal exuberance.) One thing for sure: she stood out, being the only black pup among the drillers.

Another thing for sure: if Darby didn’t think the drill team was the most fun she’d ever had, Tucker looked happy enough for the two of them. He didn’t drill, being long ago released from puppy servitude. He just trotted along in the team’s wake and wagged his tail and smiled and smiled.

Murderess

Murderess
Considering how many puppies we’ve had, it’s somewhat surprising that we haven’t had any huge Christmas tree disasters ( i.e. one in which the puppy brought the entire gigantic tree crashing down.) Most of the dogs have been very good.  But Darby’s making us more nervous. Already she has murdered one of my oldest ornaments, part of a set of Japanese paper figures that I brought back from my very first trip to Japan, in 1979. Here you see the attack, before…

 and after.
She also has liberated several other adornments from the tree but without destroying them.  We’re trying to fight back with much closer supervision. 


Update

Update
I need to update this blog more frequently.  I’ve failed to note that weeks ago, Darby began swimming daily, sometimes twice a day.  The plummeting temperatures in our pool haven’t deterred her in the least.  Note the white object in the lower left corner is the nose of Tucker, who never joins Darby in water, but often hovers nearby, watching her with a mixture of horror and fascination (and sometimes enjoying games of trying to snatch the chicken from her sodden jaws.)
The trick for us is preventing her from dashing into the house, dripping wet.  Sometimes I towel her off, but usually she just air dries.  In a dry moment yesterday, Darby (and Tucker) switched to their festive red colors, in honor of the holiday season.  Sunday Darby, at least, will march with the CCI Drill Team in the LJ Christmas Parade!