Steve and I no longer have children to wake us before dawn on Christmas, so Dionne stepped into the breach, barking commandingly to announce that she was ready for her morning journey to the far back yard. Drifting back to sleep almost always proves impossible after that, so Steve and I leashed up the dogs for an early morning Christmas morning constitutional.  (Note Steve’s festive socks.)

Our gift exchange (Steve, Elliot and me) began shortly after 9, and as usual Tucker was enthralled by the pig’s ear in his stocking. For the longest time, he merely stood by us, wagging his tail, the pig’s ear extending his mouth into something that looked a lot like a grin.  We all felt like he was somehow trying to let us know how happy he felt; how deeply he appreciates this annual bounty.

It’s a violation of the CCI rules for puppies to have rawhide bones, but we let Dionne chew on one of Tucker’s gifts for a while, supervising closely to make sure she didn’t swallow any parts of it.  She found the gnawing to be riveting.

In the past two weeks, she’s made an occasional lunge at the lowest lights on the tree, and she’s dislodged an ornament or two. But she’s never come close to making our darkest nightmare — knocking down the 10-foot-tall installation — a reality.

It’s lovely to think that we should also have her with us next year for Christmas. We might have to relax the rules even more, to give her at least a little time with a pig’s ear. 

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