The Christmas torch, well, I mean antlers, was passed to a new generation last night as we decorated our Christmas tree.
This is almost certainly the last Christmas for the 13-year-old, almost deaf and nearly blind Moosedawg, so it had to happen.
Every year for as long as I can remember, part of my son and my Christmas ritual has been adorning Buddy with his big brown antlers, transforming the Moosedawg into a major Moosedeer, totally equipped to pull Santa’s sled.
Buddy always loved the attention — getting his photo taken, receiving many HoHoHo-related treats and hugs.
It was sort of the same last night, at least at the beginning.
Buddy now gets his Christmas “rack” and treats in the basement. He was banned from upstairs about five years ago in a sad but necessary milestone. Even though he’s only half German Shepherd, and half moose, he really blows his coat twice a year, including Christmastime, which falls during the summer Downunder.
Since then, Buddy has not been allowed to trot happily around the Christmas tree and Christmas presents.
Even sadder, we lost our special time in front of the roaring fireplace in winter, me crashed out on the floor, with the Moosedawg’s big head on my chest. We’d stay there for hours, only moving when a new log had to be added to the fire, or when Buddy would let out a deep sigh of contentment and reposition his carcass atop his master.
But, alas, time waits for no man or Moosedawg. And like I said, I doubt Buddy has another winter in him. Even though he’s still happy as can be, he’s almost deaf, nearly blind, stiff legged and has tumors popping out everywhere.
So the antlers had to be passed to a new generation; to the Crack Puppy.
It took a long while before Ling Ling III got into the Christmas Spirit. She was a little tentative around all the new sights and sounds and smells.
She was not keen when we decked her halls with bows of holly and started fa-la-la-ing.
And she really did not like the antler presentation. That might be because the antlers were custom-fitted to the 100-pound Moosedeer. So they fit him way better than the 12-pound Crackdeer.
But after much laughter, many treats and hugs and countless photos — with no grandkids yet, cameras are aimed mainly at Ling Ling — she got into it.
At least until Junior tried to crown the Christmas tree with her. No, she did not like that even a teeny little bit.
Pause for two days…
Well, we’ve now finished the house-decorating festivities and moved onto preparation for the family’s Christmas Eve bash. It will be down to 2.5 families this year, as one sister is now in Australia.
Soon I will grab a beer and my barbecue tongs and make camp on the back deck. The Moosedawg will assume his position down below, wagging his tail and salivating, relentlessly, waiting for me to “accidentally” burn the first sausage and toss it to him.
For the umpteenth year in a row, he will greedily burn his mouth on the sausage, drop it, and then poke it with his paw until it’s cool enough to wolf down. Well, not so much wolf it down anymore.
He now eats like an old codger because he’s so long in the tooth. It’s hard to believe that those savage teeth used to be “the better to eat you with, my dear”. Now they’re only sufficient for soft food. And a sausage or two.
But for at least one more Christmas, the Moose will be loose, and the Crack Puppy as well.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Blessings from Nu Zillans.
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