As we move into the holiday shopping frenzy, a time when you think that burning smell is coming from your car’s fan belt only to discover it’s your charge card that’s smoking, I tend to ponder the imponderables of the Christmas season.
Such as why was it so funny to me on the day after Christmas years ago, when I drove by a neighbor’s house and saw the family St. Bernard, a beast of bear-like proportions, whizzing all over a brand-spanking new bicycle?
And I don’t mean a little bit on a fender, a tire, or the pedals, I mean ALL over, from stem to stern, from the tiny tassels hanging from the handlebars to the little reflectorized mud flap on its southern-most portion.
Up and down he went, as if to say, (it seemed to me at the time), “You’ll have to hire Jacques Cousteau to find this bike by the time I’m done with it.” And he did this with the usual dog-style nonchalance, gazing off into the sky, the trees or whatever it is dogs stare at when they’re not looking at anything in particular.
That’s when it struck me — I thought it was funny because the dog, on this grand highlight of the year for many families, a time of festivities, mirth, good cheer and what have you, could not care less.
I will admit, a small part of me wanted to think he was capable of premeditation and was making a point — “You little … watch this!”
But no, as much as we might want to believe our dogs possess certain human qualities, especially if we communicate with them in a language they understand, i.e. baby talk, they’re not us, no matter how many times we say, “Smoochie, poochie, woochie, does-um want a wittle biscwit?”
Which leads me to another point: why do so many people buy their dogs Christmas presents, when they have no concept of Christmas, not being churchgoers, as a rule.
Besides, every day is Christmas for them. It’s called mealtime.
That, at least, is how it is in my house, where getting the dog bowls out is cause for major celebration among the canine set.
You would think they had never been fed. They bark, they dance, they walk on their hind feet. If they had thumbs, they’d swing from the door sills.
“Hey! It’s food! Wow! Food! Yep, it’s food! Wow! Wow! Wow! Give-it-to-me, give-it-to-me now!
That’s how it is, twice a day, every day, and it’s because dogs think in what we refer to as “now-time.”
Ten minutes ago is ancient history, and yesterday never occurred. It’s not as if dogs sit back and reflect on things, or are inclined toward nostalgia.
“Remember that great breakfast we had?”
“Neither do I.”
On the other hand, dogs do get excited when we’re excited, even though they have no idea why anything is happening at all. We’re happy, they’re happy. We’re sad, they’re sad. We’re a little weary of it all on the day after Christmas and they, well, just might go whiz on a bicycle.
It’s really funny, but they don’t know it.