In our family the pets were as much a part of Christmas as the people. It would not have been the holidays without them. They added so much laughter to the day.
Rusty was our first dog. He was a liver coloured Cocker Spaniel. It was my first Christmas and my Grandmother gave him to my parents as a gift. He was hiding behind the Christmas tree and came out with a bloodied nose. He had got into a little tussle with one of my Grandmother’s dogs. Rusty was a major factor in our lives for sixteen years.
Cats were also a part of our family. Charlie was the first one to spend Christmas with us and he enjoyed rooting in the mounds of papers and boxes after the parcels had all been opened.
Boris and Natasha preferred the presents before they were opened. Playing with the curly ribbon and bows was great fun.
Tabitha could never wait for her presents and always went snooping.
The cats were always quiet after they had received their Christmas catnip toy.
My Cockatiel Percy liked to usurp the dove on the top of the tree and sit there himself. He spent hours on top of that tree.
The one who enjoyed the holidays the most was George our Golden Retriever. The holidays started for George as soon as the decorations came out. There were a set of hand held bells that had broken and he picked them up and went prancing around the house bells jingling. We tied them around his neck with a little string and he wore them every day until Christmas. My parents took them off at night so we could sleep. If George decided he needed to scratch they made a lovely jingling noise. He would go looking for them to be put on again in the morning. This happened every year and he eventually started digging in the boxes if we did not find them quickly enough for him. George loved his bells.
There was always a present under the tree for George and he was the first one to open a present every Christmas. It was a very large rawhide bone and he would tear the wrapping paper off and then the packaging to get to the bone. He then sat quietly and chewed this lovely bone while we opened our presents.
The bone would not be abandoned until my father went to carve the turkey. It was very important that George be at the carving of the bird in case any little bits should be forthcoming – they always were.
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