It was December 2009 and Chase’s first Christmas, having been rescued in August from neglect and starvation. An abused and scared dog: many everyday objects were foreign to him and he was learning to adjust to things like the refrigerator, toilet, shelves, plants and vases.
Knowing there would be more items for him to be weary of, the Christmas decorations were pulled out of storage in such a manner that he could investigate everything. The boxes alone freaked him out – unfortunately alluding to the abandonment he faced when his family moved and left him, tied to a tree and left to die.
After much coaxing, praise and treats, his curiosity overcame his fear and he was quite intrigued to see what was in the boxes. As Christmas decorations were pulled out one by one and Chase’s nose-prints were left on each item, a child-like excitement emerged in his otherwise nervous personality. He watched intently as objects were placed around the room and followed into adjoining rooms as items were hung up or placed on shelves.
Eventually Chase became bored and retreated to his bed. He was satisfied his world was not ending again as the tree went up and the boxes were put away. Life could move on.
One evening while cooking dinner, the smoke alarm sounded. This scared the daylights out of Chase and he ran from room to room in a state of panic. As the burnt dinner was being fanned away from the screaming alarm, Chase fixated on the Christmas stocking that hung on the wall near the offending siren. Sure he had found the source of the ear-piercing noise, he wouldn’t take his eyes off it.
When the alarm finally stopped, Chase was allowed to jump up on the wall to sniff what he thought was the cause of the chaos. Satisfied that the Christmas stocking was not evil, he went back to doing his doggy thing.
The following day, the smoke alarm sounded again (which turned out to be due to a dying battery). Chase immediately went to the Christmas stocking, knowing full well the furry red thing on the wall must be the reason for such a horrendous noise. Once again, when the alarm was finally silenced, Chase was content that disaster was averted and he went back about his business.
About 20 minutes later, in a different room, I turned around to step on something soft and furry. As I screwed up my face and prayed it wasn’t a mouse, I looked down to see Chase standing proudly over his new kill: the Christmas stocking.
The smoke alarm never sounded again.
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