Take a break from the holiday hustle to enjoy this funny tale of a black lab whose sense of smell led him to a whole heap of Christmas trouble. This story is a great holiday-read-aloud for children, grandchildren and dog lovers.
Chip was almost a year old when his first Christmas rolled around.
A solid-black Lab whose shadow looked like his mirror image, he had all the makings of a fine dog. Smart and attentive with a great sense of smell, I thought he might become a good gun dog. But it was that sense of smell that causes me now to think of him as Chocolate Chip.
We were also training Chip to be a family dog.
He spent most of his time indoors with us and we began by teaching him to stay in the kitchen. Of course, the kids roamed freely so it took some time for him to treat the doorways as boundaries. But he did, sort of.
I say sort of because Chip would creep.
When we were in the living room, he’d lie on the floor with his nose even with the doorway. A few minutes later, his whole head would be in the room and one of the kids would yell, “Dad, Chip’s sneaking.” And I would go back him up to where he belonged.
It was a game both Chip and the kids enjoyed. But over time, it seemed to be working.
Chip slept on a bed in the laundry room guarding the back door and he was always where he belonged in the morning.
The rest of the story I blame on Christmas cooking.
The smell of cookies baking wafted throughout the house. Candy sat out in open bowls along with assorted finger foods of the season. Anyway, it’s easier to blame that than the alternative.
A couple of nights before Christmas I had been asleep for a few hours when I heard a rustling downstairs.
My first thought was burglars. So I slipped into my jeans not wanting to get in a fight in my pajamas and eased down the stairs. When I suddenly flipped on the living room lights, it looked like a bomb had gone off under the Christmas tree.
Actually, Chip had gone off which as it turned out was much the same thing.
Using his spectacular nose, he had sniffed out every present under the tree with food in it. Then, he opened each one none too delicately and ate the contents.
Not satisfied, Chip then roamed the house eating all the decorative Hershey Kisses wrappers and all.
In total, Chip consumed close to a pound of chocolate.
Knowing we would both be in the dog house tomorrow, I took Chip outside and put him in his for the night.
Leaving the mess in the living room until morning, I hoped that Christmas elves might visit or that it had all been a dream.
Just as I fell asleep for the second time, I heard a loud crash.
Jumping and running back downstairs, I tried to remember if Chip had a house key.
But Chip was still outside, so I looked in the living room. Apparently, he had nudged the tree enough to make it lean and gravity finally won.
The tree crashed and ornaments shattered. It looked like the garbage man had made a delivery rather than a pickup.
The next day, my wife called the vet who was a friend of ours, and asked him if we should be concerned about all the chocolate Chip had eaten. We had heard some dogs get sick or worse from eating chocolate.
He told her that if the chocolate was going to bother Chip it would have already. Then she asked the second question.
“Well, now he’s passing all that foil. Should we worry about that?”
Sure enough, Chip was decorating his pen with red, green and silver foil in his droppings. It looked festive.
Looking back, I can say for sure it’s a Christmas we’ll always remember. Not that we will want to repeat it, but we’ll remember it.
Chocolate Chip, on the other hand, had a grand holiday.