Who needs attitude from a dog at Christmas?

Published 12:03 am Sunday, December 25, 2011

I admit it, I have a soft spot for a good old-fashioned family Christmas.

It hasn’t always been this way. I grew up with a father who, jokingly, would watch “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” only to the point when the Grinch’s heart grew three times its size, then he would turn it off. “Bah Humbug” became a mainstay of the vocabulary for several years.

Maybe it’s because sometimes spending Christmas with the four-legged child while others gather around the tree with family is difficult. But this year, although the trees are smaller because the homes are smaller, Christmas around the tree is complete with an entire gaggle of Murphys — 12 to be exact.

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Getting the clan together for Christmas is a rarity. The last time happened when Bush was in office — the daddy, not the son. This is the first one with the parents, four kids and the nieces and nephews. Missing, though, is my child — and it is killing me.

Yes, I am one of those people. The dog is as close to a daughter as I have. On Tuesday, when the suitcase came out, the jig was up. Her attitude went from happy to, “OK, something’s up and I am not invited.”

Oh, she was invited, all right, but Delta put the kibosh on any plans for her travel on the 50-seat jet. I pleaded, explaining that she would probably be the most well-behaved traveler this side of Alec Baldwin. She would sit upright in a seat next to me — and we could lift the arm rest for more room. She doesn’t bark, would opt for the $7 bottle of cheap wine and shake hands for the pretzels.

But no. She is in the vet motel for five days of luxury. Well, near luxury. I passed on the $35-a-day option, which includes a raised bed, meals in crystal bowls and a webcam so I can watch her daily activities. Raised bed? That’s nice, seeing as how her beds now include, but are not limited to, a couch, my bed, a recliner and an outside futon. The camera is nice, too, but I imagine I’d be spending most of my old-fashioned family Christmas piping into the webcam watching her do what she does best — sleep. I’m sure she’s entertaining visitors, though, at the Animal Medical Clinic on U.S. 61 North. Visitors with Snausages are most welcome.

Please, though, don’t mention the raised bed — or the live webcam access. When I get home, she’ll call me cheap and throw some of that un-Christmaslike attitude at me.

Merry Christmas.