Project 365 : Guilty as Charged

Today’s photo is of our cute little puppy, Bailey, this morning as she lounged in Becky’s lap. With that photo, I share this story from Becky from this Christmas:

Sitting with Santa

Two weeks before Christmas I found myself in a local pet store and had the puppy, Bailey –- 4 months old — in the car. Discovered that Santa was in the store, no line.

So I popped out and got the puppy so she could meet Santa.

The process: stand in line at the cashier, pay the man, take the receipt to Santa and smile for your photo.

We stood in line, got the receipt, and went to see The Man.

Bailey was behind an eight-month old Great Dane/Irish Wolfhound puppy girl –- needless to say our 35+ pound puppy shrunk next to this girl. We waited and when it was our turn she was not very excited to meet this man in a beard on a platform. She was untypically shy and I heard a very low quiet grrrowl. Wow, don’t growl at Santa girl, you’ll get coal.

After a few kibbles and coaxing I finally picked her up, told Santa to put out his arms, and plopped her in them. Transformation. She started licking him and chewing on the beard. The Jolly (old?) Elf was OK!

We snapped a couple of shots and after talking with Mrs. Claus, I was quickly convinced to bring in the Wright Canine Trio for the ultimate dog photo.

What a nice surprise for Colin!

I went home and waited for Colin and Siobhan to leave for the afternoon. Quickly, I loaded the trio of dogs up for their first outing together: Emma, 10 years old, 40 pounds, 85% deaf; Molly, 8 years old, 85 pounds, stiff w/ arthritis; and Bailey – all puppy!

I piled them all in the car, Bailey in her crate and Emma and Molly contortioned on the back deck of the Pacifica. Everything is great. What wonderful dogs we have!

As I drove I plotted my approach -– just walk in with determination and go see Santa. After the photos stand in line and pay. It might be pushing the envelope to stand in line with them all prior to the photos. Sound plan.

Pulled into the parking lot and who could believe it, the very first parking space two Saturdays before Christmas. Man this is awesome!

I pile them out of the car and the elder dogs are walking nicely on the left (they do this well) and Bailey is on the right, with all her strength and excitement to be out with the Girls… on my left, behind me, in front of me, under me, jumps over Emma to see Molly, leap, jump, flip, sniff, stop, oh there’s the door.

Whew! Chanting my new mantra, being Calm and in Determined:

Go in, straight to Santa, photos; stand in line, pay, and leave.
Go in, straight to Santa, photos; stand in line, pay, and leave.

Now it is not uncommon for our puppy and Molly to stop people in their tracks and have them look. They are quite striking, really. And sweet Emma is so engaging with her seal-like eyes and her loving approach — sweet as can be. So, although it is not too modest, I’m expecting some remarks with TWO Bernese, a puppy and such a beauty as Molly, and a sweetie like Emma. And that is what we were met with. Total attention. People just stopped, no breathing, words, only Muzak in the background and my determination.

Go in, straight to Santa, photos; stand in line, pay, and leave.

The stunning silence of the patrons -– gosh our dogs must be beautiful!

My head quickly came out of the clouds when I looked around and was met with a glare from a Grandmother. I snapped out of it and realized I was not met with the stares of adoration for our dogs, but a stunned response. Good lord, I was standing in Toys-R-Us two Saturdays before Christmas.

Followed by the vacuum sound of the automated doors closing behind us….. woosh.

Then there was a glare from the mother with the child who’s faced contorted and started to screech, “I want a ppuuuuuppppppyyyyy” and was running to us, at which the puppy jumped, the eight-year old startled back, and the deaf one just waggled and sniffed the ground. Grandmother just shook her head in disapproval.

Quick turn around, leave.

ENTRANCE ONLY read the sign on the door.

The associate in the Customer Service desk ten steps ahead pointed to the right …. we had to go AROUND all of the security and out the other door. Oh good night.
Jump, wiggle, lunge, sniff, snort, startled….hurry hurry. PUPPPPPYYYYY!!!!!!

Standing outside I quickly gather myself and check to see if the daggers I felt in my back for the icy glares of Mothers and Grandparents left a mark. No, good, head to the correct store, one parking lot down the complex.

Shake it off, determined; they’ll never know in this store what just happened.

Go in, straight to Santa, photos; stand in line, pay, and leave.

Looked up – pet store, yes? Pet Store, yes, go in, Santa’s waiting …wiggle, jump, yank, snap.

We go in and walked in to the right with determination and purpose, right by some families murmuring “ooohhh look, how pretty” (right response, right store!).

…straight to Santa

Decided they needed a little outfitting as I went by the Holiday Costumes. Had them all sit down and tried on hats, collars, and settled on pretty velvet collars with jingle bells. How precious they all looked. And they jingled to Santa -– how perfect.

Santa and Mrs. Clause were glad (?) to see we were back – and there was no waiting. Right on!

He decided to sit on the platform – the photo would be Santa on the ground, Bailey in his arms now that they are pals, Molly next to him, the Tree next to her, cascading to gifts and decorations on the floor and sweet Emma sitting in front.

Good plan. Things are looking up.

Santa moves his chair and sits down, calls Molly to him. Now the platform he is on is the end cap to a retail aisle in a pet sore – so it is a platform of very malleable aluminum – when one sits on it or a 85 pound dog stands on it, it makes the “whomp whomp” noise.

Santa sitting, Bailey in his arms, Emma in front, Molly …whomp whomp, gets very nervous and starts waggling and wiggling – and knocks the tree over. Thump…down to the presents…splat…hitting the nutcracker, when he hits the ground … crack … off comes his head and it goes rolling in front of Emma.

Now being a self-respecting English Springer Spaniel, Emma sees the ‘squirrel’ and decided she needs to retrieve it. Within two seconds: tree over; Molly waggling; Emma proudly prancing and vocalizing her catch Nutcracker Head; Bailey wiggling in his arms; me, in flight to get the tree back up and gifts alighted. I grab the decapitated nutcracker and shove it behind the props.

Now it is not uncommon for our dear 10 year old to get excited in public, and when she does, (parental advisory: alert for ickynesss) she does a crab crawl style and makes a line of doggie poop. I knew it the second she started to assume “the” position —

One, ummmmm, two, lady, three drops. LADY

I find something to clean it up with – my back is turned when Bailey, thinking Emma is making “Christmas Cookies” decides to jump out of Santa’s arms and swoop down and pick up a treat of doggie poop…and she realizes she’s free…and she starts running.

Chomp chomp.

Jingle jingle jingle.

Oh good – right into the Pet Adoption area.

Kittens in a crate totem pole on each other, hissing and scratching – Bailey has never seen kittens, and does this animated cartoon stop and back up…jingle jingle….and I can’t get her attention.

I grab some treats form the ‘scoop it yourself treat bar’ and Bailey smells the aroma of real Christmas Cookies and runs to me…jingle jin….a bell flies off and Bailey swoops down to grab in, in her mouth it goes.

Up until now I was going with the flow, now she is in danger and we are not messing around.

I grab the puppy in mid flight, and swift like a lion tamer I open her mouth and stick my hand completely down into her throat and pull out the bell. I hold my victory to the light, relief that she is safe, and look past me ….there was a kid, eyes bugged out completely pressed against her Mom, watching me shove my arm to my elbow into this wild beast. What a sight! Mom understands, and from one lion tamer to another, we exchange knowing glances, I smile and walk away.

Santa, now not all that excited to get a poop-eating puppy in his arms, somehow has the tree, gifts, and dogs set up ready to go. Put the pup in his arms, click click click click.

Mrs. Claus: “Which photo would you like?”

I’ll take them ALL I say, completely winded.

• Go in
• Wrong store
• Go In – again
• Straight to Santa
• Stop and try on costumes
• Knock over tree, packages, nutcracker
• Poop
• Swoop, eat poop, run
• Swoop, eat jingle bell
• Remove jingle bell
• Terrorize kid
• Photos
• Stand in line and pay

I tuck my wallet under my chin; shove the jingle bells in my back pocket, dogs loaded in each hand, car keys accessible, and pictures in my mouth, partial bag of dog poop in my hand.

…stand in line and pay

New plan – get them in the car, at all cost.

I walk right out with determination and fire in my eyes. Put the dogs in car, sit down, and breathe.

Back in the store, I give the jingle bell velvet collars back, dropping them on the counter. With a trickle of perspiration coming down my forehead, I ask, “What do I own you?”

Clerk says “Well, let’s see, photos, a scoop of dog treats, and collars”. No verbal recognition of the decapitated nut cracker, either gracious or didn’t see it. Let’s just say you owe us for the photos and chock the rest up to Entertainment.”

“Deal,” I say.

I left the bell-less collars on the counter, took my photos, and realized that was the longest 10 minutes of my life.

Merry Christmas to all!

One thought on “Project 365 : Guilty as Charged”

  1. For those not in the know, Becky can handle three dogs in her sleep! If there is anyone I know to whom I have not e-mailed her adventure, I apologize. I still fall over laughing.

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