Christmas is always a special time for us. After all it was the week before Christmas 1998 that Holly sauntered into my life and heart. Hard to believe it's been that long. Since then she has made the most of each Christmas, with Christmas parties and other holiday gatherings topping the list of her favorite activities. Always the social butterfly Holly is as equally at home taking part in deep conversations at sedate events and on the dance floor at wild shindigs.
For the first time, however, it was our turn to play host to a holiday event. A club I belong to planned their holiday party for this last Saturday, this year to be held at my house. Due to the mass chaos that normally reins in my home year round I usually forgo putting out the collection of holiday decorations. This year, however, our duties as party headquarters for once gave me good reason to go to the trouble.
I started with the tree...a first for my dogs. Oh, they have all seen a Christmas tree at "grandma's" house, however none of them have ever been allowed close enough to truly investigate. My tree (an imitation
one) is only about 5 feet tall, so for safety's sake I put it up on a table out of reach of inquiring noses (and lifted legs). All the dogs seemed intrigued by a tree being planted on the livingroom table, but all but Holly
quickly lost interest. Holly was just fascinated...with sparkly lights to watch and mom unwrapping all sorts of stuff she just had to hang around and see what sort of fun I had planned.
I wouldn't think trimming a tree would be all that exciting (it's not one of my favorite chores) however Holly just wouldn't leave me alone. As I started putting ornaments on the tree she was right there being her
nosy self watching every move that I made. The next thing I knew there was Holly sitting pretty as could be with one of my ornaments in her mouth. Great, the last thing I need is Holly deciding to eat all the ornaments off my tree. I reached down and told her give, which she did, and then I hung it on the tree. When I turned around Holly was headed back to the pile of ornaments. She carefully surveyed the group, chose one with much thought, and gently picked it up and brought it to me. This happened not once or twice, but until each and every ornament found a place on the tree (with Holly closely supervising each placement). She then spent the rest of Thursday evening sitting around admiring our work.
Friday morning I left for work as usual, though I did double check the latch on the 4 foot tall gate that keeps the dogs from having full run of the house. After all the work put into decorating I really didn't want my pack of ruffians running through it all unsupervised (besides which, I had just cleaned and vacuumed and didn't really want to do it again before the party). It was one of those exhausting days at work, and when I returned home I don't think I so much as glanced around before letting the dogs out and going to check my email. When the phone rang I automatically went to the table in the kitchen where the phone base sits. No phone. Hmm, must be on the coffee table...and so I walked into the living room. Nope, not on the coffee table, but I hear ringing behind me so I turn around.
The phone never did get answered...I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor. Apparently Holly had not been satisfied with my tree trimming after all and took it upon herself to make things right. She had to have come over the 4 foot tall gate to do it, and then gone back where she belonged before I got home.
And my tree...oh my it's hard to describe. She certainly improved upon it in some rather stunning ways. Lets see, we will start at the base. In addition to my little collection of igloo houses and sled dogs there sat a log from the fireplace, and a pillow off the couch, and a book or two. A few of the larger toys out of the dogs toy box were there as well I believe. And then there was the tree itself. Now, remember, this tree is up on a table so there is no way Holly could easily reach the top. She managed however...thanks to the window seat...though it did give the tree a rather lopsided appearance. Carefully placed within the limbs of the tree were an eclectic assortment of objects. In the lower branches dog toys abounded, with balls, stuffed critter, and Kwest's telephone toys making up the bulk of it. Then things got a little weirder. The phone, of course, was dead center in the middle of the tree. Some video tapes became impromptu
ornaments. A dog bowl was stuck in there, along with a bunch of sled dog figurines from my collection. My little wooden sleds were there as well, including the very delicate antique one that is a prized possession of mine. There also were several stuffed pups from my collection. Up near the top she carefully placed in full view one of the champagne glasses that was part of Kwest's High in Trial trophy from the regional last month, as well as both the green ribbons, and the blue rosettes, that she and Kwest won. Oh, she put the blue and gold HIT rosette up there as well...somewhat lower down on the tree since it was larger.
And to top it all off she scrounged up the tree topper extraordinare. A little item that I had been hiding behind the VCR that is inside the cabinet the TV sits on. You see, Holly just loves the book Stud Rites and has enjoyed (eaten) so many copies that I have lost count. My most recent copy, and the only intact copy I have in the house, had been carefully hidden for some time. I didn't even know Holly knew I had it. Well, it ended up very proudly displayed on the top of the tree, carefully arranged to show it at it's best.
And there sat Holly grinning ear to ear and admiring her work. I have no doubt who to credit with this after all...it is such a "Holly" thing to do. Besides which, none of my other dogs have the dexterity to do this kind of decorating. A good majority of the items now in my tree came off of shelves 5 feet up in the air. Not only were they retrieved off the shelves and placed on the tree...but it was done without breaking, chipping, or damaging a single item. Even the book (that normally would have been eaten on sight) was undamaged.
Much to Holly's annoyance I did take down her additions to the tree. I would have loved to leave it but with that many breakables precariously balanced within I was afraid of what would happen if it were accidentally bumped. When I started taking things down she went in my bedroom and got into her crate...clearly she didn't want to watch the destruction of all her hard work.
She was much happier the next day when all the people started showing up for the party. After all, Holly is really in her element when she has new people to socialize with (I must have one of the few dogs who was depressed nstead of pleased when the National was all over with and we finally made it home). Still, Holly kept going over to the tree and looking at it longingly. After the party I discovered several napkins, two cups, and the neckless one of our party goers had lost had been artistically added to the tree. Holly again, and she did it without any of us noticing.