Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

When Your Dog Can't Come to the Holiday Party

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

When Your Dog Can't Come to the Holiday Party

Article excerpt

Ten years ago, while vacationing with friends in Italy, I suddenly became depressed.

Depresso.

"What's wrong with you?" my friend Al asked.

"It's Jasper," I said, referring to the dog I left back in the good old U.S. of A. with my good old parents. "She'd really like it here."

I said the same thing, one year earlier, to friends in Florida, every time another tiny lizard darted past me.

"Jasper would love chasing these things..."

Sniff, sniff.

Otherwise, I brought her almost everywhere I went.

Friends loved her. Relatives loved her. My friends' and relatives' dogs loved her.

I've had her replacement, Charly, for a year and a half now and, sniff, sniff, I hardly bring her anywhere.

For starters, she can't stand the car. Beyond that, she's on the large side. Jasper was chubby, but compact. She got along just fine with my brother's dachshunds.

But the first time Chase and Cody — no relation to Kathy Lee Gifford — met Charly, you would have thought I'd brought Godzilla over for dinner.

Charly's a coonhound, with a little beagle mixed in. Her legs are longer than mine. (When people ask what breed she is, I say "Half beagle, half giraffe.")

This leaving-her-home business bothered me last Christmas Eve, when we were all at my brother's house for dinner. My father was there. My niece was there. My aunt and cousins were there.

And Charly was home. Sitting by the window. Waiting for me.

Like a dog!

Just so we're clear on this, I never brought Jasper anywhere that she wasn't wanted. I'm pushy, but I'm not that pushy.

On Christmas Eve, she and her cousin dogs all ran around the house playing. When the humans opened presents, so did the dogs. They got Christmas stockings. Squeak toys.

Sigh.

Last year, two of my cousins gave me gifts for Charly and I couldn't wait to bring them home to her.

"Merry Christmas, Charly!"

Years ago, I read a story about about a couple who drove from Colorado to Ohio for Christmas ... with their dog.

They were going to the wife's brother's house for an old-fashioned family holiday.

When their mini-vacation was over, the wife said, she didn't speak to her brother or their parents for months.

Oh, well.

People who don't have dogs insist the rest of us treat our pets like kids. …

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