The end of December/beginning of January is always a big time for me. First there is Christmas. Mommy brings a tree in the house that you are NOT supposed to pee on and then she puts presents under the tree that you are NOT supposed to open even though you can smell that they are for you and yummy. This year was no exception. I KNEW there was a new antler for me and a bag of walnuts under the tree and I really wanted them, but I was good and didn't take them, except once when Mommy was on the phone and even then I didn't open the present, I just carried it off to my bed. Finally after waiting forever Christmas came. Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy's youngest brother came to our house for dinner and Mommy was very careful so I didn't get any people food. She said she didn't want me to blow up and end up at the emergency vet again. Mommy and I slept in the next day and then I got to open all my presents EXCEPT THE ANTLER AND THE WALNUTS!! Mommy told me I could open them at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We got in the car and drove to their house and when we got there I jumped out of the car and discovered that I was very stiff. I walked towards the house in a C shape. Mommy said if I were an old man I'd have been bent double and walking sideways. Mommy took me for a short walk down the block and I loosened up again. It seems that the deep snow we'd been walking in the past few days tired me out more than I knew. Mommy and her youngest brother hung around a bit and then Missy and her family came! I wanted to play, but Missy has become a bit of an old grump (even though she is younger than I am). We got to open our presents when the humans were opening theirs. I was very excited to have the new antler and settled down to chew it. Mommy gave Missy one too and she chewed on hers a bit, but then saw how much I was enjoying mine and she decided mine was better. We spent the whole rest of the time with her waiting for me to put down my antler and turn my back so she could rush in and grab it and run away. Then I'd take hers and chew it until Mommy got mine back and we'd start over again. Missy can be goofy at times.
After Christmas Mommy and I went up to the family house in Wisconsin. Grandma and Grandpa went up too and Missy and her family went up and stayed with Mommy's oldest brother and his family at their house. I don't like Walter, Mommy's oldest brother's dog, so we have always had an agreement that I don't go to Walter's house in Wisconsin and he doesn't come to the family house when I am there, but Missy's dad wasn't very bright and on his first night there, after Mommy and I had gone to bed, he came over with the kids and Missy AND WALTER! I heard them downstairs and ran down to say hi and was really pissed off that Walter had come. I ran up to Walter and stood over him all stiff and said, "What are you a wimp? Come on. Just try something." Walter hunkered down as low as he could and whispered, "Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me." and Missy ran off to the far corner of the kitchen and pretended to be invisible (she does that very well). Mommy sensed bad doggedness and came downstairs calling, "Is Walter here?!" and Grandma said, "Yes they are getting along great! Merlin is wagging his tail." Mommy tore down the stairs and saw what was happening and said quietly, "Everyone step away from the dogs. Do not look at them. Do not talk to them." The humans all thought she was nuts, but Mommy could hear what I was saying and yes, my tail was wagging, but it was curled into a very tight spiral and was wagging in quick jerky movements, which is never good. Missy saw Mommy was there and RAN to the back door. Mommy let her out and managed to get me away from Walter long enough for Walter to get outside too. I then ran to the window and whined my, "Come back I just want to play" whine and the humans, except Mommy, believed me and insisted that Walter get to come back in. Another few very tense moments ensued, but Walter eventually got to go home uneaten. Mommy told Missy's daddy that Missy could come back the next day, but Walter needed to stay home.
The next day everyone came over and I ran out to play with Missy and then realized that WALTER HAD COME BACK AGAIN!! I ran downstairs to tell him to stay away from my house, but he came upstairs anyway and tried to get me to play. I looked at him and ran up like I wanted to play and then, without warning, I jumped him and tried to eat him. Missy's daddy tried to get Walter away by pulling on his leash, but the leash broke. Mommy was at us by that time and she pulled me off Walter by the scruff of the neck and base of the tail and forced me into the house and up to my room for a time out. I knew I was in trouble, but frankly, Missy's daddy was in more trouble as far as Mommy was concerned. Walter and Missy decided to go home with Missy's mom and everyone, including me, went sledding. Grandma said I shouldn't have gotten to go sledding because I'd attacked Walter, but Mommy pointed out that sledding and Walter have nothing to do with each other in my mind and leaving me home would do no good. It was a good thing she didn't leave me home because while we were gone Walter and his daddy came back over to the house. Mommy wonders how so many humans can be so dog stupid and then go around telling her she is the stupid one. Anyway after that Walter stayed home, so maybe they did learn, and Mommy and I decided to leave that vacation earlier than planned and have some quiet time at home instead. We had a good time taking walks and sleeping in and just having a "staycation".
Also this month we had some nice weather and Mommy and I took a long hike which was fun. We were out for three hours, but only got 3 1/2 miles because I had to sniff EVERYTHING we passed since it had been a long time since we had been able to get out onto the trails. I also almost caught another squirrel this month. He was on top of the stockade fence and I jumped up after him, but he jumped down the other side. Mommy was shocked to see me hanging for a brief moment by my armpits on the top of the fence (it is 6 feet tall) and she said I was lucky the boxer wasn't out on the other side or we'd have had a problem, since he can jump high enough that she can see his whole face over the fence.
Finally I celebrated my Adoption Day this month and am now starting my 10th year with Mommy! You can read my adoption story in the previous blog.