Ollie doesn’t instinctively celebrate Christmas of course. For him, yesterday was just another day of routine. Wake up, go outside for a look around the garden, then back inside for a small breakfast treat, followed by another long sleep on his rug in the living room. But his routine was about to be disrupted. We had to go out, and earlier than usual too. Both of us were rushing around, in and out the bathroom, getting changed into ‘outside’ clothes. Ollie knew immediately that something was amiss. We were going somewhere, and it didn’t look like he was included.
As a distraction, he was given wrapped presents. The sight of soft toys wrapped in Christmas paper always excites him, especially when he is told that the parcel if for him. The two words “For Ollie” are two of his favourite words, and he knows exactly what they mean. As each toy is revealed, his excitement knows no bounds. He grasps the toy in his mouth, and rushes around the room with it, displaying his delight to anyone who can see it. By the time all four toys were unwrapped, he was over-excited, and running around panting, unable to choose a favourite. He got a stuffed Santa, a stuffed Snowman, and two stuffed Rudolphs, one a present sent from my cousin, in a parcel addressed to him.
But as we loaded the car, and appeared wearing outdoor coats, his playful mood changed to anxiety. I gave him an extra treat to eat while we were out, but he demolished it immediately, so he could check on what we were doing. When it became evident that we were going without him, he retreated to his bed, looking glum.
We got home four hours later, and he was delighted to see us, choosing the stuffed Santa to greet us with. He got an extra treat, and I got changed to take him for a walk over on Beetley Meadows. There were some other dog-walkers around by 2 pm, so he got to meet up with a few dogs, and sniff all his usual favourite spots. But when we got back, the sight of me getting changed once more left him pacing with a worried look. He didn’t know that we had to be at a local restaurant by 4 pm, for our Christmas meal. So once we had coats on again, he looked dejected indeed. We were only out for just over two hours, stuffing ourselves with a three-course traditional meal. When we got back, Ollie was very pleased to get his own special dinner of ham and chicken, with a dog-sausage to follow. He was even allowed a few cheese savouries and crisps, as he had been left so long that day.
By the time we were relaxing on the sofa at 7 pm, he wanted to play. He had been alone for most of the day, and had some catching up to do. So he brought all of his new toys, and played tug-of-war with them, or had them thrown for retrieving. Once an hour of this had passed, he decided we were staying home now, and he could rest. By 8 pm, he was snoring peacefully, and his Christmas Day was all but over.
He is very happy today, as it is just ‘Wednesday’ in our house. Routine returns.