Author: Campbell, Bruce

Have Yourself a Merry Little ArfMas

I received a lot of wonderful responses when I wrote about having to put my dog down about a year ago. I was thoroughly shaken by how tightly that dumb dawg wrapped herself around my heart, and shocked at the depth of my grief.

Lots of folks helpfully suggested I replace her as soon as possible, but her sad demise coincided with my children moving out, so my wife and I have really enjoyed the lessened day-to-day responsibilities of the “empty nest”.

Another factor in holding off getting another dog was the uncertainty of choosing another dog. My old dog, Heidi, was a rescued dog, and came to us perfectly formed for our family. She was affectionate, gentle, grateful, (mostly) calm, and quiet. There was no period of training, furniture or shoe chewing, barking, or “accidents” in the house. She slipped right in, and it was like she’d always been there. How could I hope to duplicate that? How could I even try?

Well, through of series of circumstances, some odd and some tragic, I came to meet another dog from a shelter. This little guy seems pretty darn close to what we had with Heidi – temperament seems perfect, size fits our little home, and he’s past the puppy tendencies that leave shoes, furniture and rugs in shreds. So, we are going to give him a home. Hope he likes banjo music. {official bluegrass reference!}

Odd thing about dogs – we have an instinctive emotional response to them. It’s not surprising – they give absolute love so willingly, and demand so little in return. Here’s a sampling of pithy quotes about dogs:

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." (alternate: “To err is human, to purr, feline.”)

“I wish I was half the man my dog thinks I am.”

"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."

Oh, there’s stuff to put up with, of course. Dogs are capable of unspeakably gross behavior, and horrific flatulence. They often do things that seem to be embarrassing, even to themselves. But I think that works in my favor, because by comparison, my own behavior will seem all the more refined and civil to my wife.

So, this Christmas will be marked by the addition of Leviticus the Dog to our family. Details to follow in future columns, I suppose, if he ever does anything worth writing about. Merry Christmas to you all – may you all be the fine people your dogs think you are!

Posted:  12/21/2011

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