This is my first Christmas without my old dog. She was 17 when she died last June. I had her since the day she was born and she was constantly by my side. I’ve missed her so much I couldn’t even talk about her for a few months after I lost her.
I do have my sons’ dog, Joy, who is eight years old. She made it plain to me that she was their dog and would tolerate me if I was eating something she wanted a bite of. But we weren’t close. The first night when I tried to sleep in my bedroom with my old dog’s two beds empty in the floor, I went and got Joy. By then all my sons had moved out and she spent her time hoping for a visit from one of them. But I called her from her bed in their room and talked her into coming into my room. She went to both of the old dog’s beds and sniffed. She looked confused. “Pick one and lay down,” I told her as I turned off my lamp. She had no choice. The door was closed. So she did. She laid down in the one at the foot of the bed.
We’ve spent the last five months getting to know each other. From time to time I’ll include her in things I used to do with Blackie. Like decorating the porch for Christmas. Yeah, We just went out to do that.
I was minding my own business, trying to wrap those little lights around all those wrought iron porch columns and rails when I felt like I was being attacked by birds. I have a bird feeder on the porch, but no birds had come to eat while I was out there. Suddenly they ALL wanted to land at once? Even if it meant flying through my hair? I yelled at the birds to stop that! Then I saw the bushes below the porch moving. Guess what. Joy had discovered some birds are ground feeders and she was having a great old time chasing after them.
I called to her to come on up here on the porch. She ignored me as she chased a mourning dove, who was flying just above her head as they both went down the driveway. Joy hasn’t learned a lot (or maybe she has), but I’ve used my old commands that the old dog knew with Joy enough that she’s picked up some things. I clapped my hands twice and she stopped in her tracks and ran back to me. When she got to the porch, I told her to stand right there and don’t move so I could get these Christmas lights wrapped around all these curly Q things and to leave those birds alone!
She did and the ones who had been flying at my head settled down. I’m not sure it’s as decorated as it usually is, but we got the lights on the porch, Joy and I. She was more than ready to come in. I picked the coldest day of the year so far to decorate the porch, and I don’t know why.
Now, this afternoon, since I’ve found one of the old dog’s winter coats. I’m going to put that on Joy and see how she likes it. So far she hasn’t liked dressing up, but once she feels how much warmer she is outside in it, she might change her mind.