I recently read a book called “Marley and Me – Life and love with the world’s worst dog”, a NY Times best seller about the companionship offered by a couple’s 99 pound madcap yellow lab. It’s full of entertaining tales of this high-energy dog as his owners attempted to tame him into the perfect family dog. However, despite their most noble attempts, the book continued to cite incidents that would make almost any other dog look like a dream dog. That is, unless you catch an uncanny resemblance to your own nutty yellow lab. This being our mis-fortune, we’ve come to regularly experience similar stories, one of which occurred last night in true “Marley” fashion.
Having previously set up our Christmas tree, Lisa, Justin, Ginni and I spent last evening placing ornaments and putting up decorations around the house as Christmas music played in the background. Lisa’s great taste as helped us compile quite a collection of attractive holiday decorations. One of those pieces is a beautiful “classic” looking Santa Claus that stands maybe 2 feet tall and is decorated in the traditional Christmas/Santa Claus garb. The face is more life-like than cartooney, much like a porcelain doll. Lisa quickly found a place to display it on the floor of our living room next to our entertainment center.
During this time of decorating, Indy had been in his kennel to avoid the inevitable “National Lampoon” like incident. However, once the decorating was finished, we finally let him out under supervision to explore the new smells and sights. After 10 minutes or so of this, Lisa and I were sitting on the couch relaxing when Indy suddenly spotted the Santa standing about five feet away from him. He froze…completely still…”pointing” at the doll with every hair on his back and neck shooting straight up, his tail arched and out. He stood not moving for over a minute, just staring and monitoring this newly discovered threat. Then he let out a little “gruff”, turned around for a second and shot back to his spot five feet from the doll to continue analyzing. After another minute, he ran around the coffee table but quickly returned to his spot, the entire time in attack/protect mode.
This went on for a solid 15 minutes…”gruffing”, crying, running around the table, patrolling the living room, then back to his post, hair on end, as Lisa and I watched in wonder. Each trip back to his spot he inched a little closer, but continued to be completely distressed by the doll, never trusting to turn his back on it for more than a few seconds. Perhaps he thought it was a small person, or maybe he felt the beady black eyes were staring him down, but regardless, that dog had every instinct in his body set on “protect my family”.
Eventually, Lisa stood up and went over to the doll to show him it was ok, at which point Indy shot between her and the doll to execute a perfect block…he was NOT going to let this thing get his family, even if it meant sacrificing himself to the peril at hand. Finally, he calmed down enough that, with Lisa by his side, he was willing to approach it. He sniffed it all around and with a final “gruff” left the room.
It was one of the funniest things Iâ€™ve seen in a while…even funnier than his insane weekly reaction to the garbage truck. Yes, our nutty dog is afraid of Santa Claus.