Well, the shopping is almost done, the decorations are up, and 'Junior Her' is appearing tomorrow like an angel of mercy, to plead mitigation for any festive misdemeanours that may occur. 'Junior Him' has, as usual, kept us all guessing as to when he'll arrive, but he's just announced he'll be back on the 23rd, assuming that South East trains don't dump him in Oxted or, even worse, refuse to bring him back at all. It's a long walk!
Anyway, I've been brushed and dry shampooed, my Christmas bandanna is firmly in place, and my stocking is on stand-by. I'm always slightly anxious about the visitation of Santa Paws. I think it's unfair to make the number of presents conditional on good behaviour, and as I've always received them regardless, I suspect it's a ploy dreamt up by 'Him Indoors' to try and make me a 'good dog' - fat chance!
Still, when I reflect on any little mishaps from the past year, I realise that they really weren't my fault after all. Would I have got through the hole in the fence and eaten a bunny in next-door's garden if there hadn't been a hole in the first place? I think not. And how could I have sicked up said bunny if I hadn't been able to eat it? Also, I never would have swallowed that mouse whole if I hadn't have known that 'Her Indoors' was going to try and take it off me. As 'Them Indoors' have had me since a small puppy, they've only got themselves to blame for any bad behaviour, whilst good behaviour is entirely of my doing, of course. Take the statue that I found buried deep in the front hedge. They'd never have found her if it hadn't been for me. She's now been reunited with her family in her forever home in the back border and is doing very nicely. Good dog or what?
Whilst I might be getting on a bit, there have been some 'firsts' for me this year. It's the first time I've had my own magazine column so a big thank you to all at Magnet magazine for giving me another platform for airing my views to the world. I'm a vocal dog, what can I tell you. It's also the first time I've been in a dog show and my rosettes have pride of place in the lobby. They only need a class for the most badly behaved dog and I could be a national champion. This has also been the year I've discovered the Twitter group, BT Posse, and a nicer group of dogs and people you couldn't wish to meet. I only wish I'd found them earlier. I've done a couple of tweet-ups and I don't know how tweet choir managed previously without me, ad-libbing furiously. It's surprising what you can do with the most innocent sounding lyrics....
There have been some on-going successes in my people training too. The moment when 'Nice Postman with the biscuits' stopped his van especially to give me a treat was a particular triumph. I've also trained Mr Milo and Labrador Man into giving me not one treat but two, when we meet on walks. Once I've found a publisher for my first book, 'The Last Rolo', I'm going to write a training guide for dogs: 'How to Train your Human'. It would be a shame not to share all that experience.
Although I'm definitely a 'glass-half full' kind of dog, there are somethings that don't have a good side, and the premature loss of the younger brother of 'Him Indoors', who went over the rainbow in March, is one of those things. He was a kind, funny, brave, dog-loving man, and very tolerant of my little ways. We all miss him and his absence hangs over this Christmas as his illness clouded the last. I know there are lots of people out there for whom Christmas adds an additional emotional charge to already difficult situations so I sit quietly for a moment, with my ears down, and send them the gentlest of nose bumps and some dog's breath licking.
But I'm going to end my Christmas message on a positive note, by sharing my own philosophy on life. I live it to the full and in the moment, extracting the most amount of fun and mischief that I can. I don't waste time with regrets and I never pass up an opportunity when it presents itself, particularly when it comes to food. I believe in being kind to those you love, being gentle with those you meet, but if I really don't like someone, I reserve the right to bite them on the bum! I invite you to adopt a similar outlook. Have a very happy Christmas!