Wednesday, November 4, 2009

As the HOLIDAY continued...

From 2 days later in December 2005...

Billie Holiday must have wanted to restart the party yesterday - there was nothing left to drink, so she looked for snack food. Since we had done such a good job hiding the tree light plug, she had to be very resourceful. She pulled down a low limb of the tree and started picking off the green light holders like fruit. Munch, crunch, munch. By the time I came home there were discarded plastic wads everywhere, like olive pits left from her snack.

Craig had originally had a theory that Billie attacked the plastic cord because she was plastic-deprived - the month before I had taken away all her plastic chew toys. Our vet suspected she was allergic to the toys, since her gums and lips had gotten irritated, which he said was a symptom of dogs with plastic allergies. (Craig doesn't believe that dogs have allergies, but that's not relevant to this story.) I didn't want my precious sweet doggy to itch and scratch, but after the Amaretto party, Craig persuaded me to return Billie's plastic toys so that she'd have a distraction from the tree. Surprisingly, she didn't seem excited to see her old favorites - her plucked chicken, her football, or her Tweetie bird. Last night she did have one favorite chew toy laid out by the tree - her brown plastic tree branch. I guess that got her in the mood for the real thing!

Speaking of "real," the reason we haven't tried buying a real tree is that we've seen what Billie does to our woodpile. She turns the smaller logs into toothpicks for herself and uses the larger ones to fill her excavations in the backyard.

As we have yelled at Billie, we have been praising Marley as the good dog, which is rather ironic - in his puppyhood he was a Christmas Terror. He only ate one light cord, but he ate many Christmas ornaments, and some ornament hooks. In the house where we lived back then, we had a breakfast table sitting near the tree. I'll never forget chasing Marley around and around the table, trying to get a half-crushed ornament out of his mouth before he swallowed the hook that was attached to it. Beagles are bred to chase rabbits, which means they can turn corners on a dime. This suits them well for evading their parents.

This morning I caught Marley checking out the bottom of the tree. I had left the plastic and wire mess there overnight, figuring more would be added to it before Craig hauled the tree out to the curb. Marley was quietly sniffing and nibbling, like a person grazing on leftover party food - the plastic probably tasted about as good as morning-after tortilla chips and stale popcorn.

Craig and I hope this is the last installment of this year's HOLIDAY tale. Billie has ruined two trees in less than three weeks. That must be a record for dog resourcefulness and dog-parent stupidity.

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