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Pet People

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas 2004: A day that will live in infamy

It's that insane time of year when people bustle about getting ready for parties, shopping for gifts, decorating, cooking and otherwise working themselves into a frazzled mess. I try to avoid all of that.

I haven't enjoyed the holidays much since 1989. I was home on leave from the Air Force that Christmas, and it was the last time I saw my dad alive — he died of cancer shortly after.

I felt a spark of the old holiday cheer after marrying The Boss and moving here. Over the next several years, his parents entertained the whole family on Christmas Eve. But after his Mom died a week after Christmas in 2000, the family drifted to separate celebrations.

I stopped putting up decorations because the joy just wasn't there. But in 2004, I came down with a minor Christmas bug and decided to invite my retired neighbors and a single friend who lived in Nashville for Christmas dinner. We decorated the house, put up a tree and gathered ingredients for a big feast.

The day didn't start on a high note. We had snow that year, and my friend Laura was hesitant about driving from Nashville. But she packed her bags and her dog Freeway and made the trip.

While she braved icy roads and my turkey roasted in the oven, I began preparing the holiday ham. That's when I stabbed myself.

In case you didn't know, one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits involves people cutting themselves in an attempt to remove modern packaging. I had selected a sharp paring knife to cut the shrink wrap off the ham. I inserted the knife and attempted to slice open the tough plastic, but the knife slipped and I jabbed it full force into my wrist at least a half an inch. It hurt like you-know-what and spurted blood all over the place. I probably should have had a few stitches, but no way was I driving 20 miles to the ER on Christmas Day over slick roads.

So The Boss, after calling me his favorite pet name (bull in a china shop), helped me apply a gauze pad and bandage, and I bravely carried on.

Laura and her dog Freeway finally arrived. She was a nervous wreck, but grabbed a glass of wine and relaxed. The house was filled with good company, fine food, peppy music and five energetic dogs. We ate, drank and made merry.

The next disaster struck at clean-up time. The Boss and the neighbors were in the living room unzipping their pants to make room for bigger bellies, as Laura and I tackled dishes. The last chore was putting away leftovers. I was at the kitchen island pulling turkey and ham off the bone to put into containers. The five dogs were milling about the kitchen.

As I was slicing up the ham and turkey, drinking a glass of wine and gabbing with Laura, I didn't notice Peanut and Scooter on either side of me at my feet. I also didn't remember that I'd forgotten to feed them. That is, until I accidentally dropped a thick slab of ham on the floor smack dab between them.

If it had been a scene from a movie, it would have unfolded in slow motion: the juicy piece of pink pork lazily drifting downward, both dogs following it with eyes of eager anticipation, licking their chops, the music coming to a crescendo as the ham slapped the floor and the dogs warned each other with hard stares.

The next thing I knew, there was vicious snarling and growling at my feet. Everyone ran into the kitchen. Scooter chomped into Peanut's ear, blood was dripping and neither was giving up. Peanut is very submissive and always backs off when it comes to Scooter, but when it comes to food and a hungry belly, he gets mighty brave.

I was clear-headed enough to remember the best way to break up a dog fight is to douse them with water, and luckily an almost-full pitcher was nearby. I dumped it and they parted ways. The Boss was yelling, the dogs were stiff-backed and angry and decided to go another round with more frenzied growling, biting and snarling. The Boss picked up a chair to try to wedge between them, while I scanned the room for more liquid. I spied the dishpan full of filthy water in the sink, jerked it up and gave it the old heave-ho. Unfortunately, this time my aim was off and most of the swill landed squarely on The Boss' chest! He gave me a look I can't describe, other than to say it's a good thing there were three witnesses.

The dogs finally called a truce, The Boss dripped water as bits of food clung to his cheery red shirt and the kitchen floor was a lake.

My neighbors left shortly after. I think the wife was afraid the Cujos would attack her next. I apologized for the ruckus, to which the husband said, "Oh, I thought it was just part of the show."

That was my last holiday hosting attempt. I figured a stabbed wrist, a dog with a bleeding hole in his ear and a soaking wet Boss was all the cheer I could take for a few years.

The holidays can be stressful for our pets — and dangerous. Make sure to keep their routine as close to normal as possible, keep decorations out of their reach and most of all, don't forget to feed them.

So, do you have any memorable Christmas tales, disastrous or otherwise? Please share!

posted by Sandy at 12/05/2007 09:10:00 AM


Blogger B said...

Maybe you should have you Christmas catered after that one!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I was not sure where you were going with the “next disaster” when you were saying the Boss and the neighbor’s were unzipping their pants! You really got my attention then! LOL.. I cannot even come close to matching your disaster with a simple tree getting knocked over so I will not even attempt a story on this topic!

And you want to Host a Pet People get together??? I will be sure and be in Clarksville for that one. I would not miss the show for anything!

Thank you so much for the laughter you just gave me this morning. I am now ready to go out and tackle the shopping crazy’s with this funny on my mind....

*Note to Sandy, Takes B’s advice and cater the next one! LOL

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

That is too funny!! I would stop too if I had that experience!

We have been very lucky that we have never had an major petastrophies! LOL! People issues, yes, but who hasn't had those during the holidays? Usually involved too much wine. The best was when my 70 something grandmother got drunk at the Officers Club at the Air Force Academy on Christmas eve and was doing hand stands in the lobby. She was asked to leave. LOL!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger tina said...

You are very descriptive of a dog fight and very funny. I can just see it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Lucy's first Christmas was one of our best. We had decorated the palm tree that year instead of putting up the 8 ft monster, and she kept destroying it. We had to take the small decorations off and had given up on a tree becasue of her not liking the idea. So onChristmas Eve, we had been out romping and stopped by the $ general. We had been looking for a ginger bread man cookie cutter all day (including in Nashville) and had not found one. Low and behold, we found one at the Dollar Store, and I bought one of those small fiber optical trees as an after thought.
I took it home and put it up, and Lucy just sat and was mesmerized by the changing lights.Of course, she was ten weeks old at the time-lol
We made gingerbread men and fudge, and Lucy lay by the tree all evening. She never touched a hair on it. We sat in the living room and watched "its a Wonderful Life" with Lucy sleeping by the tree. It was totally amazing. I guess thats one of my Andy Williams Christmas moments.
NOW when Charlie joined the family--well, thats another story-LOL
This will be HINES first Christmas with us, so we'll put on the dog for it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Do you still have that tree? Did you put it up for her every year? I can't wait to hear about Hine's first Christmas. You should get that tape for him of the dogs barking songs. He might enjoy joining in with that since he likes singing so much! You must take Christmas pictures so I can't put them up on the blog!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Oh yeah--we still put the tree out on the entertainment center. With the addition of Pearl, well, she had a climbing thing in the early days, so the top of the ET works best. Lucy isn't as in love with it as she once was, but Charlie likes to bark at it! We can't wait to give Hines his first xmas.
I made all the babies a christmas ornament last night--they are so cute-(if I do say so myself). Even Jeremy thought they were cute.I may have to retire some stuff off that little tree this year to get them on it. I got my Grandmothers old aluminum tree a coupe of years ago, but I've only put it up once. It brings back alot of good memories, but it makes me miss her so much I can't really enjoy having it up. I may give it a try this year. My babies boubles need a bigger tree.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...


Wednesday, December 05, 2007 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Adrienne, I was driving around with my sunroof open yesterday while looking for Santa! Have not been outside today but it is sunny and looks like it may be a repeat!
Calling for 73-degrees for the Augusta Christmas parade on Saturday! Deep South Christmas.... We may go to the lake to celebrate the Saints birthday...LOL...

Thursday, December 06, 2007 9:44:00 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Hi Skeeter When is the Saints birthday? Just wondering cause Mr Fis It's is tomorrow.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Hi Sandy, I am Tina's mother and about the birches....If you go to you can (for $40.00) purchase 2 white birch vases. That would give you a little birch in your house.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Hi Sandy, I am Tina's mother and about the birches....If you go to you can (for $40.00) purchase 2 white birch vases. That would give you a little birch in your house.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Darn it. I forgot to say...if interested the code nuber for them is HE3982. Hope you find this useful.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Thanks Jean. I checked them out--they are so pretty. And it's good you get two different size vases for $40. The minute I saw them I thought that forsythia would be pretty in them, and have tons of forsythia around! Or even just interesting twigs or evergreens. Thanks!

Looking at them it made me wonder if you got a real birch log and hollowed it out and put a vase inside, would the white stay white over time? I guess you could maybe seal it somehow? Or would it just fade and die?

Thursday, December 06, 2007 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

No Idea, Sandy. With all we have in Maine I never felt the need to bring any in the house. And you sure are right the forsythia would go great in them.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 2:50:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Hi Jean, The Saints birthday is Saturday. I knew Mr. Fix- it’s is Friday as Tina mentioned it to me.... Another of our similarities! Small world...

I checked out the birch vase. They are really neat!

Thursday, December 06, 2007 7:09:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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