I plan to wait up for Santa… so hurry down the chimney, Santa baby!
’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even Louie.
I am trying so hard to wait up for Santa but it is getting so late my eyelids are becoming heavy. Before they close, I put a cup of hot cocoa on a bench in front of the fireplace for Santa to enjoy. He is sure to be thirsty on his long journey.
It is so quiet, I can hear all the little critters stirring outside. The sounds are fading… fading, I am falling fast asleep. Countless colorful, ornate balls that no one would throw in the shops are dancing in my head… so colorful against a black velvet backdrop… I am lying down but my feet are running, I am speaking but only my lips are moving… I have fallen into a deep sleep.
Images of Santa kissing my puppy raiser… again!! And I thought that he came back for me!
Wait! I’m stirring… stirring, I inhale a huge breath of air and stretch. I’m awake! And Santa is here!!!! He is here again, just like he said he would be. I am not dreaming, there is a Santa Claus, and he is telling me that I am a good boy! Oh wait! That is my puppy raiser… his scent is just like Santa’s! He is telling me that it is time for bed, and that I am a good boy, and that Santa will have come before I wake.
I am so excited… with each morning comes a new day but this is Christmas morning! And yes, Santa did visit while I was sleeping!! I don’t know how he fit in the fireplace or how he flew back up the fireplace but he did it! He came again! I thought that I was dreaming! Life is Wonderful!
I was a part of all the December hustle and bustle, and I loved it! I visited the Columbia and Towson malls where so many people slowed their pace to greet me, and some, once they met me, didn’t want to leave me. No surprise there, I am Louie after all… and I know how to win them over! My puppy raisers tell me that I am a clever little devil, and call me puppy love. My list of nicknames is ever growing. I think these loving names are a good thing as long as they remember that my name is Louie, Louis Zamperini.
I am six months old and fifty pounds! As far as I can tell, I’ve got all my big boy, pearly white teeth, and they are really cool! They can bite into just about anything but the peculiar thing is the food seems to taste the same as when I bit into food with my puppy teeth.
The Towson mall had an enormous variety of tempting, colorful ornate balls so numerous, it was dizzying! My big boy teeth had the urge to pop right out of my mouth but I contained them! I have been teaching my big boy teeth self-control which, as all of us young pups know, can be rather challenging at times. I understand this is one reason my puppy raiser shows off my wait skills in crowded places… self-control. I have a variety of wait skills. I get it.
I have another new girlfriend! She is an older human girl who they refer to as a teenager, and I met her in a people-packed-like-sardines-in-a-can, small shop in the mall. I kept an eye on my impressively strong, ever growing, wagging tail just like I did with my big boy pearly white teeth. My new girlfriend used a funny, high pitched, scratchy voice that seemed to hypnotize me into rolling on my back for one of those fantastic belly rubs. I laid in the short, narrow aisle for several minutes while receiving that fantastic belly rub with admiring people surrounding me… hey, at least I did not try to kiss her lips in mid-air! Yup, she fell in love with me, Louie. It reminded me of a bit of heaven.
I am getting around the mall with fewer treats now, and the elevators and stairs have become old hat.
My very first official Hero Dogs demo was this December for VFW members in the Charlestown Community Center with Barb. My puppy raisers and I had fun showing this audience my skills. I even showed them the nifty skill I had learned from my Puppy Kindergarten 1 buddy at our Halloween party; I waited to eat a treat off my paw until I heard ‘At Ease.’ And I did it for the first time with my favorite treat – you remember… chicken!!!![Fast forward: I can now have a treat on each of my front paws and wait to hear ‘At Ease’ before eating them!] Humans love this skill!!
On our way out I heard a member say it was the best event they have had! After I was finished, Mitch entered. I really look up to Mitch – he is my role model (as is my half-sister, Ruby)!! What an honor to have been included in Hero Dogs’ VFW event. While waiting in the hall a couple of ladies came out of their flats to greet me, and they told me that they missed having large dogs and then proceeded to show me some love.
I had another Boys Day Out! I do think that this day was invented just for me and my puppy raiser. We drove all around town, stopping for a snack at the bookstore, and then driving onward in the Mustang to the storage unit. On this day my puppy raiser’s brother joined us. I was happy to share my Boys Day Out with him even though I am getting to be a big boy, and it was a tight squeeze sharing my place in the car.
The debonair young pup I told you about in October has come back for a visit. This time he showed up in the dishwasher. I was sitting by my puppy raiser when he appeared. I returned his gaze but this time I touched his face with my paw to see if he was genuine. It was then that I experienced an epiphany. He might actually be ME!
Yet another day was spent at the Columbia mall, this time because it was raining. I needed some exercise before my checkup at my girlfriend’s (Doc’s). We walked really fast all around the upper floor, then around the bottom floor, and then back to the upper floor before leaving for Doc’s. After spending time with a very kind gentleman who was waiting for his tiny canine, and getting a clean bill of health from my girlfriend, we drove to a dark parking lot where I enjoyed a tailgate dinner. I had my two red Kongs stuffed with dinner, and water set up in the back of the car… a cozy little setting… and I ate with the overhead light on, which substituted for candlelight. After I finished, my puppy raiser herself prepared for the next event while I ate, then she brushed my fur and dressed me in my Service Vest once again. Off we went to my second Demo!
The American Legion Christmas party in Ellicott City is where I gave my second Demo – this time a Solo presentation. They loved watching my skills demonstration, and hearing stories. They laughed, loved me, and were very interested in Hero Dogs. My puppy raisers even gave out cards, which were stored in my vest, to a couple of interested party-goers. These party-goers were American Legion members and their guests. They had a lot of life experience, and they were wonderful. One guest was a four-year-old human boy, and I, Louie, did not jump up on him!
This American Legion Post is where my puppy raiser first heard of Hero Dogs! If it weren’t for this American Legion, my puppy raisers never would have gotten to meet, know, and love me! Life is amazing!
This December I practiced my grocery shopping skills as well; backing up and heeling behind Wegmans’, Weis’, and Shoppers’ shopping carts… waiting and waiting to ‘go through’ at doors….waiting at the checkout… and, of course, ‘leave it’! I did quite well, thank you.
After grocery shopping, my puppy raiser, her sister, and I stopped in Panera Bread for lunch. Since I was out so long, I had my stuffed Kong on my mat under the table before napping. I really liked it… my puppy raiser remembered my wish about having a prepared meal under the table, reserved just for me. After my puppy raiser gently awakened me to leave, the humans waiting for our seats said they never knew I was there! This has happened before, and even though I know that the world should revolve around me, I think that this is a very good thing. It’s kind of like a variation on the theme of Hide and Seek.
I had a brief doubt that I still had ‘it’ during the Jingle Bell parade because I just couldn’t contain myself with so many fun-looking canines. Alas, they didn’t want to have anything to do with me… go figure! How could that be? Later, after having been so excellent with ‘heeling’ all along the parade route, we came to a stop and waited for the massive crowd of parade marchers to line up with their flanks. There was a much older canine next to me who didn’t appreciate my social ‘how-do-you-do’ so he pinned me to the ground using my ear to get me there! Even I, Louie, had to scream. I guess he just didn’t like the quick face-sniff-hello that this charming pup offered. This was a lesson in hard knocks, folks. I, Louie, was put in my place by this grizzled civilian canine. Not to worry, I was able to get up, I shook myself off, and I continued as if nothing had happened. I figured that I was only trying to be social, though I think that I will stick with the younger fellows next time.
This fleeting doubt of still having ‘it’ was cured after having met my new mall girlfriend. As a matter of fact, everyone I met at the malls, and at the VFW and the American Legion, loved me. I know this because they said so! My new girlfriend had told me that I am “beautiful” (I think the word she meant to use was ‘handsome’ but I will accept any compliment); “what a shiny coat” (this is true, my coat is like black velvet); “so well-behaved” (I do have my moments); and “only 6 months? Wow! He knows a lot!” (Yup, I do! I take every opportunity to show off my skills because it is good practice, the people stroke my ego, and I make them laugh… it’s a win-win situation!)
The morning after the Jingle Bell parade, I re-visited the man who wore the long black dress with a white collar – the one who called me his ‘little friend’ in October, remember? This time he was wearing purple, and a lot of people came to see him. I sat in the seating reserved for little humans just in case I had the urge to become vocal. I met a lot of people when it was time to leave. I even met new children, and my paws did not leave the floor, nor did I sing or speak! Oh, no! Big boy teeth… an impressive bark… self-control… could I be growing up? Is this OK? Is this too soon? I need to talk to my puppy raisers and my big sister, and then get back to you.
With the two days following Christmas, I went to two more Christmas dinners with lots of family. I loved them so much, and I could tell they loved me because they laughed and laughed, gave me lots of pets, and were so impressed with all the skills I had shown them. I even showed them how I play ‘Find It!’ With the house full of humans, I patiently waited in the middle of a crowd while my puppy raiser hid my toy. When she called me to find it, I ran as fast as I could, and my human family laughed, and they thought that I was fabulous and showed intelligence way beyond my months.
School has started again, this time with an online class since the weather changed the curriculum. My new skill is ‘under.’ Yup, have no fear, this young, debonair pup still has ‘it’ – and Life truly is Amazing!!!
Merry Christmas!! Wishing you a Safe and Happy New Year, and remember that I, Louie, love you all!