Christmas is coming. My neighbors have put up impressive light displays. I have hung two wreaths. One inside, one outside. Next week will come my trip to a nearby nursery to purchase Poinsettias: I'm thinking 7 large and 1 stupendous. Sometime soon, I'll venture into the garage and see if I can find one or both of our creches.
And when John gets a chance to catch his breath, we'll put up our Christmas tree which is already strung with little lights.
That's it, folks! Well. I may remember to dig out my Christmas dish towels.
But another essential preparation for Christmas is my Dire Warning Regarding Our Canine Friends.
Part One is Safety. All sorts of toxicities are introduced into the home at Christmas time. As I do every year, I'll be introducing enough Poinsettias to kill a dog. So. My Poinsettias will be placed high, where the dogs never reach. And I'll have to keep an eye out for dropped leaves and those teeny tiny flowers that occasionally fall.
Given Bingley's and Magic's general disinterest in leaping on tables and even counter-surfing, I feel pretty safe about the arrangement. But with Portia, we had to be much more cautious. Portia was an explorer and a chewer. (I still have her precious teeth marks on the lovely coffee table my mother bought in July, 1957. I think of it as The Portia Memorial, each morning as I sit opposite it to read my Prayer Book.) In fact, the one Christmas we shared with Portia, we did not put up our tree. There was little doubt that she would have made a feast of it, resulting in damage to her and to the house that I did not wish to contemplate.
Recently a friend told me an amusing story about a realistic bird ornament she placed high on a tall tree to keep it away from her Irish Setter. I'll leave the end of the story to your imagination. I laughed at her story. After twenty years or so, my friend can laugh, too.
Be especially careful with chocolate. The higher the chocolate content and the smaller the dog, the greater threat to the dog's life. If you have a toy sized darling and you love dark chocolate, be very clear where the chocolate is at all times. NEVER leave your house without securing the chocolate in a VERY safe place.
Enough on this topic. You get the idea. Look around. Think. Know the location of the nearest 24 Hour Emergency Vet.
Now we come to Part Two Of My Rant: Do. Not. Bring. A. New. Dog. Into. Your. Home. During. The. Christmas. Hanukkah. New Year's. Holidays.
It isn't fair to you. It isn't fair to your children. And, most especially, it isn't fair to the dog--be it a puppy or an adult.
New canine additions to a family require careful preparation and serious, unselfish attention. They require peace and quiet when they need rest. They require close supervision when they are NOT resting. They deserve a sane introduction to your NORMAL routine. They deserve a patient introduction to your expectations of their behavior. NONE of that is possible when you are entertaining friends, keeping out-of-school children occupied, going out to parties, dropping your children off at parties, baking, wrapping gifts etc., etc.
Add the Dire Warning listed in Part One of the Rant, and you have a formula for Serious Problems, if not Disaster.
So. If you plan to add a dog, a cat or a rabbit to your family, wait until after sanity returns to your household. Give everyone the best possible beginning.
Of course, if a starving, homeless dog turns up on your doorstep one late December evening....
But you'd better make some Pretty Serious Adjustments to your activities and expectations!!!!