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“What the heck are we DOING?” Fido asked.
“Just sit still, you big red lug, this won’t take much more than a minute.”
“I’m not liking this.”
We were an hour away from our appointment with a photographer and some other dogs to make an image for a Christmas card. The idea was simple enough. The execution was going to be another thing altogether.
“Before we get there, it would be good to have a kind of dress rehearsal, just to make sure it isn’t going to be a problem,” I said.
“Problem?” Fido wanted to know. “It’s a problem, and EXECUTION?!?!?”
“Golly, Fido, sorry. It’s not what you think. The idea is that we’ll attach these fuzzy antler things to your head. It’s all the photographer’s idea, and I’ll yield to the artist’s judgment.”
“But artists don’t have any judgment,” Fido said. “That’s what makes them artists. Hey hey hey hey!”
“Still, let’s have a go with this.”
I reached for the antlers. They were red polyester things, wrapped around a green headband, with a rubberized chinstrap underneath so they don’t fall off.
“This,” proclaimed Fido, “is ridiculous.”
“Aw, Fido, a lot of what happens during the winter holidays is ridiculous. But ridiculous doesn’t make it a bad thing, altogether.”
“Humans,” Fido sighed. “Is there a biscuit in this for me?”
“We’ll see,” I said. “You are getting a little portly, to tell you the truth, so I wouldn’t count on it. But if you’re a good boy and we get through this thing, a biscuit is not too much to ask.”
I asked Fido to sit. He did. I slipped the ridiculous antler thing over his head.
“Fido, you are adorable.”
Obviously, things were going well. That is, until they started to go wrong.
“These are uncomfortable and stupid,” Fido said, and he pawed at his antlers until they went askew, sticking out the side of his head instead of on top.
“Hold on, Big Boy.”
“Get these OFF OF ME!” he yelped. “I am not-liking, not-liking.”
“Okay, okay” I said, and slid them off his head.
“You had it going on for a while, though,” I said. “Maybe this dress rehearsal thing was a bad idea by me. Maybe we should have just done it.”
“Grumphh,” Fido said.
With the photographer, nearly all of the other dogs were skeptical too, in various states of not-liking.
Mica was there, and Skye, too. Zeppelin was there, and Kassie as well. Bear, the big chocolate lab, lay in the corner, close to his human companion. They all are newshounds.
“Why do we do this Christmas thing, anyway?”
“Honestly, Fido, I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe it’s because we love you so much. It’s like when we give our human companions gifts of jewelry and things like that. The gifts represent something bigger.”
Fido scrunched up his face like he does, and considered this.
“Could I trouble you for a biscuit now?”
“Of course,” I said, and reached into my pocket and gave him one. Fido appeared to be resigned, but he was game.
“I’m ready for my close-up now,” Fido said to the photographer.