Dogga Ate Little Bo Peep: Letting Go of the Past

My dog ate Little Bo Peep. And Butcher Bear. Then she waited a day and ate Green Dove of Peace, for good measure. Monster! Bad, bad, bad dog!

I arrived home the other night to find my husband’s sad face greeting me at the door (no, he is not congenitally sad — this was a special case). “What’s wrong?” I queried as soon as I saw him.

“…” Big breath. “The dog ate an ornament…,” he said, waiting for my reaction. Our Christmas tree is decorated each year with ornaments I’ve collected over the course of my whole life, my mother having given my sister and me an ornament each year when we were kids. Many, if not most, of the ornaments on the tree have stories that go along with them.

WHICH ornament?” I began to rush into the living room.

“A bear that was some kinda cook or something…” he trailed off.

“Oh!” I relaxed. “Is that all? I don’t care about Butcher Bear a bit.” No story. No big deal. See?

We walked over to where the remains of the “ornament” were gathered on the table. “OOOOOO NOOOO! Little Boo Peep!! BAD DOG! Little Bo PEEP! BAAAAAAD DOGGGGG!”

“Oh. Er, I guess she ate two ornaments, huh? … I already let her know how we feel about this infraction, honey. You don’t need to yell at her…”

The heads of Bear and Bo stared at me from a tangle of wires, a one-inch square piece of pink gingham, a couple of plastic hands with teeth marks puncturing them, a little twisted brown paper, and a teaspoon of fluffy white stuffing. How could you let your stupid dog eat us? Are you some kind of idiot, leaving a young dog alone with our tree? Why didn’t you at least hang us a little higher, lady?

I sifted through the remants. Wait a minute. Where is Bo Peep’s sheep? Ew. Gross. She must have swallowed it whole. Plus a large quantity of gingham, not to mention stuffing.

“Man, she ate A LOT. Great. Now she’s going to get sick with some intestinal blockage, and we’ll have to take her to the emergency room … AGAIN!”

“Yeh, $1,400 last time. I haven’t forgotten.” Clearly my husband was way ahead of me in the imagining repercussions department.

What can I say, though, really? Our dog is a year and a half. She’s a terrier. Bad combination. Add in that she was mad at my husband for coming home and then going down into the basement instead of showering her with undivided and unlimited affection and adoration. We should have been more careful, I guess. But frankly, it’s just that it seemed like she was getting to be a lot more trustworthy the last several months. The ornaments, those nice soft “dog toys,” in her eyes, hanging right at her level, were just too tempting, apparently.

So, I took Bo Peep’s head, to which the hanging string was still attached, and placed her high up in the tree. And I chuckled. She looks rather fearsome for having been such a prissy person before. I was reminded yet again about how when bad things happen sometimes, they may be unpleasant at the time but they make pretty good stories down the road. I was already writing the story of Headless Peep….

Besides, I have been practicing the art of letting go. I’ve had to say goodbye to Grandma over and over again the last year and a half. I’ve had to let myself grieve and to let go of grief and try to embrace a grandma-less world. This sentimental ornament was a link to childhood and simpler times, and I had to let it go, too. Sure, just two years ago my son and I wrote a Christmas poem about Bo Peep herding her rabbit (a farmer rabbit ornament that happened to be Boo’s neighbor that year on a single branch.) Sure, I’d had Little Boo Peep since I was about four years old, and yes, it was probably one of my favorites. (Though truth be told I always liked my sister’s BLUE Bo Peep better than my PINK one anyway.) It’s not as if my precious blue ceramic gingerbread girl had not already been broken in half. No. Bo was not the first childhood keepsake casualty. Just the first to suffer such a violent and gruesome demise.

My anger drained away, and I grew a little more concerned about Peep’s Sheep upsetting the dog’s digestive track. But that all came out all right in the end, too. (Hardy har har.)

Then yesterday afternoon, after driving home from grocery shopping, slogging through a wicked bad snowstorm that ended up dumping a foot of snow on us by ten p.m. last night, I walked into the house and was greeted by the dog. With a green dove’s wind sticking out of her mouth.

“AAARGH!” I scooped up the dog, ripped the wing out of her mouth, and whisked her down to the basement where she was shut into her crate for the next hour. Every once in a while, she yipped timidly from down there. But I had groceries to put away, snow shovelling to supervise (my son just got his very own snow shovel yesterday and didn’t know how to use it properly). Honestly, I also felt like I needed to regain my equanimity before I wanted to see that animal again. After all, I knew it was yet again my fault, but I needed time to feel that way, too.

Eventually I let the pup out of the crate, after surveying the damage to the bird of peace and finding that, though irreparable, our dog had not, at least, eaten enough for us to be worried about vet bills again. I was surprised, actually, that she had found this ornament, which I had missed when rearranging stuff the other day. I had thought that I had removed all temptations from the lower branches. Ah, well, the best laid plans, eh…?

From here on out this season, dogga must be supervised or crated at all times, apparently. I think this is what she wanted. Well, the supervision part, at least. She’d rather be with us all the time, well, okay, with my HUSBAND at least. He is her be-all-end-all.

And me? Well, I’m just the lady who provides chew toys…


5 Responses

  1. Sounds like your boo peep is what I consider an oddloom. We have many dear memories wrapped in simple material objects that may not seem special to others who don’t know the history behind them–oddlooms! I wrote a comic post titled, “Oddlooms” to describe some of our family’s very ordinary items we keep that are dear to us. I mentioned another such item, our drunken Santa doll, in a recent post. I am sorry for your loss – anyone of us who has seen a precious, memory-filled item destroyed knows how it hurts. Be kind to the dog, she’ll learn!

  2. Ah, yes, she is a sweet dog, and I have forgiven her. I realized even then that it was entirely our fault for leaving her unattended with the tree.

    Anyway, thanks for the sympathy. 🙂

  3. This post brought vividly to mind a memory from a long-ago Christmas, the first year my husband and I lived together. We had almost no money, but scraped enough together for a Christmas tree. For ornaments, I made a batch of salt dough, then spent an entire day cutting it into stars and bells with cookie cutters and pressed old beads and found objects into each to make passable ornaments.

    Our dog Slim was very interested to see a tree inside of the house and proceeded mark the tree as he always did to trees outside- that’s when I found out that salt dough crumbles upon any contact with moisture… for years when I would unpack the single unruined salt dough ornament – I suppose it was an oddloom- I would remember that very happy, very broke Christmas past. Slim died ten years ago at the age of seventeen, and the remaining ornament disappeared a few years ago- I wonder what happened to it. I still miss that dog.

  4. I had to smile at your comment. Though it’s sad to lose something special like a handmade ornament, the idea of the dog marking the tree and the ornaments disintegrating is hilarious.

    Ah, but it’s the missing of the dog part that makes me choked up. I still miss our sweet “dogga” who died almost two years ago. I can imagine always missing her, she was so sweet. (Though she was responsible for her share of destruction in our household over the yeears.)

    Thanks for sharing your memory with us, and may your future trees glisten with lights and nothing more 🙂

  5. Avoid the Next Dividend Implosion

    The icing on the cake? Dividend cuts. See, dividend cuts and crushed stock prices go hand in hand. As such,

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