My dog has three mortal enemies.
You might think I'm going to top the list with the mailman. But he's not alert enough to be aware of the mailman. Sometimes he notices, most times he doesn't.
No, his enemy trio is:
2. Baseball cards
You can imagine how fired up he is at this time of year. There are signs of all three everywhere. Squirrels scattering every time he's out. Shiny Christmas baubles glistening before his very eyes. And the usual cards all over the place. He's a wreck.
I've written before how he's gotten a hold of a few cards and left his personal touch.
But the fact is, he's a lot better now than he was three years ago. Three years ago, he was a cute, little, terrifying pup. I'd come home at this time of year and didn't know what I'd find. He literally ate one-fourth of the Christmas ornaments off our tree one year. I can't even list all the things he destroyed back in his formative doggie years. DVDs, books, rugs, household decorations, stuffed animals, toys, plants, CDs, picture frames ... and baseball cards.
But that was a long time ago. Dodger (yes, he's named after my favorite team, but my sister-in-law named him, not me) is a lot more mature these days. Or as mature as a beagle-basset mix can be.
We have left the house countless times in the last three years, both at Christmas time and any other time of the year, and everything was cool when we returned. He is an excellent house watcher. We pay him handsomely in doggie treats.
Then Saturday came.
We had received some gifts in the mail from the same sister-in-law who named our dog. Since Dodger hasn't even moseyed over to sniff a Christmas present in three years and none of the gifts contained food, my wife didn't think twice about putting the presents under the tree. And there they sat for several days until he was left alone on Saturday.
Sometime while we were away, he regressed into puppy mode -- maybe a particularly nasty squirrel has been harassing him lately, I don't know -- and he messed up the gifts under the tree.
When we returned, there were scattered gifts in various states of undress about six feet from the tree. Most of the damage had been only to the wrapping paper and gift bags, although he had bitten into some shampoo bottle that left a goop spot on the carpet.
My wife ran around yelling "don't look, don't look!" because some of the gifts had been revealed. But it was too late. I saw what was in one of them.
I'm getting me some players I've never heard of before! There were multiple packs pulled out on the rug. But none appeared to be bitten through -- which is a miracle since my dog reacts to a downed baseball card as if you've just plopped raw meat in front of him.
I guess that means my dog IS maturing. Instead of eating the cards, he merely unwrapped them!
Anyway, now the gifts are stored away and the space under the tree will be empty until Christmas Eve. No big deal. The knowledge that I'm actually getting a few cards for Christmas makes up for it.
We weren't the best dog trainers when Dodger was a pup. I had never owned a dog prior to Dodger. My wife was the dog owner growing up but she had never had a dog as hyper and ravenous as this one. Had we known, we would have done things a little differently.
But he's a friendly and happy dog and lots of fun, so we let stuff like this slide.
I just don't know what he has against Christmas.