A puppy under the tree

Many years ago, Steve and I learned it can be traumatic to mix boisterous canine energy with Christmas. Our very first dog, a surly golden retriever named Astra, was racing around the living room after we erected our tree, and she knocked it clean over. 120516-tree-fainted

She didn’t offer any excuses; we saw it happen. Steve was so freaked out he rigged a way to tie the top of subsequent trees to the living room ceiling. It was ugly, but it made us feel more secure. Ultimately the ceiling grew higher in the course of a remodel, so that arrangement was no longer practical. Instead we got a super-hefty tree stand, and no tree since then has been toppled by a puppy attack.

For the most part, it’s been fun to combine the dogs and the holiday. It’s more work, but we still enjoy buying our trees from one of the cut-your-own tree farms in Southern California. They’re disappearing, but last year we discovered a well-run operation in Perris, about 75 minutes northwest of our home. Since Steve had an appointment in Orange County last Wednesday, we coordinated that outing with a return to the tree farm. As we did last year, we took along our current trainee and Mr. Tucker.

Last year’s pup was Kyndall. This year it’s Beverly, who was just as rapturous as all her predecessors at the experience of racing through the rows of pungent pines. 120516-tree2

We had more holiday fun yesterday, when we joined the contingent of CCI volunteers marching in the La Jolla Christmas Parade. It was a warm, sunny day, so a big crowd turned out, and to our delight, we were early in the line-up. That meant we didn’t have to wait hours for our turn to march.

Beverly was as calm and regal as ever, even decked out in her costume and surrounded by the parade noise and bustle.
Parade photos by Alberto Lau


Back at our house, we got the tree decorated, but within an hour, something bad happened to it.

We didn’t see Beverly snatch this ornament off the tree. Clearly she thought it was a dog toy. 

We have 20 days left to Christmas and a week or so after that until we plan to take the tree down. We can prevent any further damage until then. Right?


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