Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A dog named HOLIDAY

Every year I recycle this story for new friends - I'm sure you will agree that it is timeless! From December 20, 2005...

Our beagle Marley is named after reggae genius Bob Marley, and we named our mixed-breed Billie after scrappy songstress Billie Holiday. And yes, the names have created confusion since "Marlee" sounds like a girl's name and "Billy" is a boy's name. Maybe Billie Holiday Bowie is a bit confused herself regarding her name and its meaning...

Some of you know that two weeks ago, Billie devoured the outlet plug and lower three feet of cord from our new prelit tree. The tree was unplugged at the time, but she nibbled enough copper wire and plastic housing to ruin the entire electrical setup. Craig titled that scenario, "When Billie ate Christmas." After much debate we bought a replacement tree, and with our breath held and our fingers crossed, we put it up and decorated it - but to be on the safe side, we didn't put it up until the morning of our Christmas party.

The dogs were exhausted by all the socializing (and barking) of the party Saturday night, and they napped in one spot all day Sunday. However, Monday has historically been Billie's naughtiest day - too much of a lonely contrast after the weekend when Craig and I are around. Yesterday when I got home I immediately noticed a strongly pleasant smell, which was odd since our house usually smells like dogs and dust. It was a clean, fresh smell, but not acidic - like a combination of floral-scent Lysol and bread baking.

I soon discovered how two dogs were able to produce such a smell. We had left under the tree several gifts we received during the party. The dogs had gotten tired of waiting for Christmas and had shredded and scattered wrapping paper and boxes in classic doggy style. One friend gave us an ornamental candle - the dogs had taken off the metallic lid and rolled the votive glass around, but after a couple of unsatisfying nibbles they abandoned it next to the sofa. The scented candle (Frosted Cranberry) contributed partially to the house's lovely smell.

The cause of death of the second gift took longer to figure out. Combing through the living room wreckage like a CSI tech, I found two decorative drink glasses that had been rolled to opposite sides of the room. Under a large pile of red and white paper was the bottle of booze that went with the glasses.

The huge Amaretto bottle was lying on its side, it was sticky, and the screw-top was loose. There was less than an inch of Amaretto left in the bottom. I immediately played a mental movie of Billie gnawing at the bottle's seal, her gnaws loosening the cap, Amaretto starting to ooze down the side, and Billie and Marley rolling the bottle back and forth, happily licking all the while. When Craig got home later, he did find a small wet spot on the area rug - but this was a very small wet spot for so many ounces of Amaretto.

The house smelled of evaporating Amaretto, but the dogs did not. I thought of sniffing their breath for residual signs of alcohol, but getting that close to a dog's stinky mouth is just too off-putting, regardless of the circumstances.

Their behavior had seemed normal when I got home - crowding me at the door and howling for their dinner as usual. However, as soon as they ate they started acting goofy, doing belly-flops on the carpet and making enormous yawns. I was reminded that the bottle held Amaretto "di Amore" when they started engaging in romantic play. But since they're both fixed, since Marley is 70 in dog years, and since they were both drunk, not much happened romantically - except a lot more belly flops.

We also received a bottle of Korbel champagne as a gift. Billie had nibbled all the foil wrap off the cork, but fortunately the cork was still in place. I can only imagine how startled the dogs would have been if they accidentally popped open a champagne bottle and the cork blew loudly across the room - that would be more partying than even they had bargained for.

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