Christmas has come and gone and it seems like every year, someone in our family gets at least one Goldfish... but I probably need to explain what the term, "Goldfish," means around my house. As my husband tells it, many years ago his uncle gave his mother a real goldfish for her birthday. It just so happened that he had been coveting this same goldfish for weeks and had been repeatedly denied his request to have it as a pet, so when Mom's birthday rolled around, guess what she got? Ever since then, my husband's family has named any gift you purchase for someone close to you because you secretly want it for yourself a "Goldfish."
This year, the Goldfish in our house happens to be a PS2 game called Guitar Hero 2. Ostensibly purchased by my husband for our 12 year old daughter because it was supposed to be "a great game for kids," it allows the player to indulge in their wildest rock fantasies, playing lead along with Kiss, Cheap Trick and Black Sabbath. Imagine a cross between Dance Dance Revolution and air guitar and you pretty much have it. It's addictive and it's one PS2 game that's definitely approved by this Mom!
We had another Goldfish this year, only this one was unexpected and practically came against my better judgement. My daughter wrote a very convincing letter to Santa about how much she wanted a puppy. The letter was so convincing that even an old Scrooge like me, who avoids the pet shop and considers herself a people person, not an animal person, had to give in.
My husband and I had known that our daughter wanted a pet for years, but truthfully we thought she was too young to care for it herself. My husband works long hours and I was just too busy to add another responsibility to my day. My daughter has matured over the years and I no longer have a day job, so things are very different for us now.
Based upon the sincerity of the letter ("I promise to be diligent and take care of it,") Santa gave us the green light. He instructed us to adopt a rescue shelter animal. We started our search on the internet and at the library, looking for the type of dog that would fit into our lifestyle. We drove all over town looking for the perfect pup, but we could not find it. It’s funny how things never work out the way you plan them. The last place we looked was the pet store nearest our house where they happened to be hosting an adoption fair. We were on our way to a birthday party and just as we were walking out of the pet shop, we spotted a crate with a cute little golden pup wagging her tail at us. We took her out for a test walk and fell in love with her. She was so sweet and loving that we decided right on the spot that this was the puppy to adopt. We brought her home later that day.
My daughter named the dog Cinnamon. We took her up to Prescott to catch a little Christmas snow. I made a doggie sweater for her out of an old sweater sleeve, and she’s been helping us burn off all the tamales we’ve been eating.
She does require a lot of attention. It’s almost like having another baby. She steals our shoes and chews them up if we don’t watch her, but we watch The Dog Whisperer and try to learn from Cesar Millan and my friend Jula, who is a dog whisperer in her own right. We give her plenty of exercise, which is good for us because it’s easy to get lazy and fat in the winter when all I want to do is curl up by the fireplace with tamales, egg nog or hot rum toddies, and of course all the sweets that go along with the season: pumpkin bread, pan dulce, peppermint bark. It’s a good thing I’m learning to sew because at this rate, I’ll have to sew myself a whole new extra large wardrobe.
We think Cinnamon is a Golden Retriever/Labrador mix. That’s what it says on her adoption papers, but when you get a rescue pup, I don’t think you can be too sure. The one thing that is for certain is that this little pup has forced us all to go out on walks together everyday and has helped our family bond together as a tight pack. My daughter says she's the best Christmas gift ever and my husband and I agree that this addition to our family has been a gift to us all.
Here's hoping your Holidays are filled with unexpected gifts and happy surprises.