-- Miguel de Cervantes
Christmas is less than a week away, and somebody at my place is in the doghouse.
For once it's not me.
Yes, our little white dog is not handling the holiday stress so well.
Last week we took him to the pet groomer to make sure he was all trimmed up for Christmas company. He had not been in a long, long time.
Maybe that's why he unexpectedly, inexplicably and unpredictably bit the groomer. Pretty hard, actually. I offered profuse apologies and promised he would never do it again.
But he had never done it before, so I really don't know about that last part. We were told that next time he would have to take some sort of doggie tranquilizer.
Well, I wondered what might have provoked such a snap, and noticed he seemed to be favoring one side of his head.
I say favoring, but actually he was walking around the house with his little head cocked to one side, like that RCA Victor dog in the old commercials.
"His ear must hurt," my wife said.
"Itches," I added. "Looks a bit inflamed. I'll take him to the vet."
The vet was glad to see us both, diagnosed the dog with a minor infection and even gave us a cream to smear in the dog's inflamed ear.
Well, I figured that was it.
But it wasn't.
My dog has lately developed a taste for Christmas tree ornaments -- not the breakable ones, but the little, low-hanging plastic things that have proved chewier.
At first we noticed the ornaments gradually disappearing, but then we began to find parts here, there and out in the yard where he finds relief.
No problem. We just moved the remaining ornaments out of reach.
Unfortunately, we did not get to the Nativity scene in time. We're missing two Wise Men, and a little lamb looks a bit gnawed. (The baby Jesus was saved.)
Now all this is probably our fault.
From a dog's perspective, it must seem confusing this time of year that the taller, two-legged family members are rushing around more than usual.
From a dog's perspective, it must seem unfair that there are a lot more treats within smelling distance but that no one ever shares a taste, only the advice that "they're not good for little dogs."
And, for the dog, it must be perplexing that so much company comes around, sits on his favorite couch and won't share whatever they're eating or drinking.
That's what happened Thursday night when a dozen or so of my wife's co-workers dropped in for a holiday social. They brought bags and boxes, food and a karaoke machine, and my son and I were told to get lost for several hours.
We should have taken the little dog with us.
By the time we got back, he had been banished behind the closed door of an upstairs bedroom because people kept almost tripping over him.
From a dog's perspective, I bet the new year can't come soon enough.
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.