“I want a dog for Christmas,” I told my husband Charles one November night as we plopped in front of the TV.
He looked at me with a puzzled expression. “A dog?” he asked. “Since when? I thought we agreed we’re too old for cats and dogs. At this stage of our life,” he pontificated, “a dog could very well outlive us. That wouldn’t be fair. Besides…”
He continued, determined to make his point, perhaps? “I thought the subject was A dog needs space, a place to romp and run. And pets are expensive and time-consuming. We’ve been over this before and I…”
“True,” I said, remembering the reasons we had listed when I last said, “I want a dog.”
The kennel when we’re gone.
“I guess I’m feeling sentimental,” I said. “I want something cute and cuddly to curl up with on the sofa––like when I was a kid.”
Charles looked hurt. “You told me I’m cute,” he said, pouting, then brightened. “And I love to cuddle,” he added and pulled me close.
I sat up straight. “I don’t think you’re listening. I want––you know, a furry little creature who…”
“I was about to volunteer again,” said Charles with a wry smile. “But when you said the word furry, well, sorry, I can’t help you there,” he added as he opened his shirt and pointed to the three hairs on his chest.
“Very funny!” I said. “You know what I mean. I’m serious. I want a dog.”
“Give me some time to get used to the idea,” said Charles.
We laughed, hugged, and tabled the discussion––temporarily.
Six weeks later on Christmas Eve, Charles walked into the den with a huge gift box.
“For me?” I asked.
He nodded yes.
I tore into the wrappings like an excited child. I couldn’t imagine what it was. “This is for both of us,” he said, smiling like a 10-year-old kid.
I pulled away the snow-white tissue. And there, nestled in the center of the box were two of the cutest and cuddliest stuffed toy dogs I’d ever seen. I burst out crying. “Oh Charles, they’re wonderful.” I leaped into his lap and covered his face with kisses.
“Down, girl!” he joked. “You said you wanted a dog, didn’t you? Well, I decided I wanted one too. So here they are. They’re small, neat, and very obedient. And they’re, well, cute and cuddly and furry, too. Everything you asked for.”
I pulled the dogs close and nuzzled my face into their soft fur. Each one wore a tag with a name. I plopped Dotty on my lap, and Charles grabbed Bruno. We relaxed on our favorite sofa with our two new dogs resting comfortably on our chests.
That night I placed a soft towel in a little basket, laid the dogs on top, and put the basket at the foot of our bed. They remained there without a whimper until we took them out the next morning.
Two months later, as I walked in from a business trip, I ran into our bedroom to greet the dogs as I usually did whenever I returned home. I had missed them so. But something was different this time. Two tiny heads hung over the rim of the basket. “What’s going on?” I asked Charles.
“Take a look,” he said with a mischievous grin.
I lifted up the big dogs and underneath were two adorable puppies, Doby who was dark like Bruno, and Bones who resembled Dotty with his sad eyes and droopy ears.
“They’re precious,” I squealed. “How did they get here?”
“It just happened,” said Charles with a twinkle in his eye. “I guess Dotty and Bruno were alone in that basket a little too long!”