Wow, here I am in a pretty red box on Christmas. How did I get here? Did I come in that box, dropped by parachute? Or, is this the way Santa Claus left me off?
I want you know that I’m a cute, smart, long-hair number. I’m Molly, the furry little big-eyed dog you sometime see in Bill Wundram’s column. If you visit me, you will know I’m friendly to a fault, will lick your face and bark. I bark loud for being a little dog, but I don’t know how to bite. Bill and Helen, my parents, reared me to be gentle.
Some adoring readers are constantly asking about me, so here goes — my Christmas letter to you.
Most of all, I like to play, and on this Christmas Day I hope to get some furry stuffed critters in my stocking. I love to toss stuffed toys around, but I hope I don’t get any balls. Balls are for boy dogs; toy balls are not lady-like.
First thing, if you ever visit me, I will look you over. Then, I will run like crazy all over the house until I get a toy. You will throw the toy so I can fetch it to you, back and forth. This can be endless and the toy will end up wet with dog spit on your hands.
Ask me anything you want because I know everything that a dog should know. First of all, if you spend an overnighter with me, I sleep in my parents’ bed. From the beginning, when I was a teeny-weeny puppy, I have slept with my parents. Now, as a grown dog about 12 inches long, I begin each night snoozing by my mother’s feet. Then, I shift over to my dad’s side. I have my own special little blankets. Toward the middle of the night, I sneak up and put part of my head on my mother’s pillow and the other half on my dad’s. I have long hair, so the hair gets in her face and she sneezes. That wakes up my mother and she isn’t a bit happy, but she gives me a hug.
I was told that I got the name of Molly, because it rhymed with Polly, the name of the Wundrams’ previous dog. Polly was Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Polly. I hope this makes sense to you.
I was to be a smart dog, so my parents enrolled me in a dog training school when I was about 8 months old. That didn’t work. It cost $150 for me to flunk. Can you imagine me flunking a dog school? I felt like biting the trainer who flunked me.
I really think I’m smart, though, in things like dancing and sitting up and clapping my paws. I have a tutu outfit and dance while standing on my back legs. I won first prize in an amateur show, dancing while my dad played the harmonica. No one taught me, but somehow I know to stand on my hind legs and do a trot. Tell me to waltz and I do circles standing on my back legs. My best trick is to sit up, and when someone says “patty cake,” I will pat my front paws together like I am applauding myself.
One of the best things about me is my patience. On a recent Sunday afternoon, I went with my parents to the CASI New Horizons Band concert. I quietly sat on Helen’s lap for a full hour, listening to the music. Between numbers, I was encouraged to applaud with my paws. I did. Honest.
There aren’t many like me in these towns. I am a Havanese. Don’t ask me how to say that. My ancestors were popular in Spain, sitting on the laps of big-shot kings and queens. Havanese still like to sit and sleep on laps. That is kind of silly for a dog, don’t you think? But my mother, Helen, thinks that is cute. Beggars in Spain use Havanese to do tricks and earn a few coins.
I came from an American kennel, a place where they raise dogs like me and they cost almost $1,000 or more. My dad, Bill — a cheapskate — was angry at the price. Bill didn’t want a dog, but after he saw me, he gave in. My mom and her friend, Annie, picked me out of four puppies playing in the grass. It was a sweet sight. The grass was almost taller than we puppies were. Helen chose me because I was the most gentle in the litter. That’s me, gentle. No rough-housing. I was so small you could hold me in your hand. I grew up slowly. Now I am 4 years old and weigh 10 pounds. I grew up to be a real lover, who likes to be held like a baby and give kisses. Ask me to tell you a secret and I will pretend to whisper in your ear.
Our family calls me “the nurse dog” because I am just that. If someone is ill, I will curl up beside them all day, and night, too. When my dad was really sick with pneumonia a few months ago, I would never leave his bedside. My Uncle Tim made me a paper nurse’s cap. I wouldn’t wear it, but he calls me “Florence Nightingale.” I don’t know who that is.
I have some odd habits. We have a lot of brown squirrels in our neighborhood and I pay no attention to them. But there is one black squirrel that sets me wild barking. I can’t say why. I don’t think I know colors.
Last summer our neighborhood had an invasion of foxes. They sat on the lawn while I watched the mother and father fox from our screened porch. We didn’t bark at each other, but I was scared. My parents adopted me out to a friend for a few weeks until the foxes, with their kit of seven babies, gone, we thought. But I’m not sure that they’re really gone. Last Wednesday night, my mom was taking me for a walk and we heard some funny noises and rustles in the neighbor’s bushes. I was really scared and strained on my leash to get home. My mom was scared, too.
Oh, I forgot one thing: What is my favorite thing to eat? I love table scraps and cookies, especially Christmas cookies.
One more thing: We’re going to Florida in January and I look forward to seeing my Florida friends, Johnny Girl, Lilly and Buddy. When I get back, let’s have a visit.
Hugs and Merry Christmas, kids – and grownups.