Christmas is coming, and the holiday season is the time for my wife and I to spend time with our granddogs.
     Bandit and Obie will be home soon, and we couldnít be more excited. Theyíll come running through the front door and bound into our arms, thrilled to see us, licking and slobbering all the way.
     Itís quite a change from our resident dog, Lucy, a 13 year old pug. Even in her prime, Lucy was never much for bounding into arms, or licking, or slobbering, or fetching or doing much of anything except eating and sleeping. Now that sheís 13, sheís perfected her talents.
    Sheís totally deaf, she canít see too well, and watching her get out of her doggie bed in the morning, thanks to her arthritis, reminds me of me. But the old girl is as sweet as they come, and she can eat and sleep with the best of them.
     This is not to say that Bandit and Obie are perfect. Like most offspring, they have their issues. For instance, Bandit doesnít respect me in the morning after a blissful night of sleeping together.
     Iíve slept with Bandit, a 3 year old Corgi/Dachsund mix, many times when my daughter has left him with us while out of town. He snuggles up to me all night long, and I rub his tummy and scratch behind his ears until I fall asleep.
     In the morning I do more rubbing and scratching, but I can feel him drifting away. When we finally climb out of bed, itís as though I no longer exist. He follows my wife around the house, totally ignoring me. I sit down and try to get him to climb on my lap, and he turns away.
     "I feel like a prostitute," I tell my wife. "He just used me. He might as well have left some money on the table beside the bed."
     "He prefers women," replied my wife. "Get over it. Why donít you take Lucy for a walk."
     Itís more like taking Lucy for a drag. Getting her down the stairs and out the door is no easy task. But when Bandit hears "walk," he acknowledges me again. With gusto. All is forgiven.
    Obie, my sonís 3-year old German Shepherd, also has his issues. Basically, he loves everybody, which of course makes me insanely jealous.
    In the beginning, I thought the show was only for me. Heíd go nuts when I saw him for the first time in weeks or months, and he made me feel as though I was his best friend. But after seeing him react the same way when the UPS guy came to the door, I realized I was nothing more than a warm body.
    Some might suggest Iím the one with the issues, not the granddogs. Thatís a possibility. Perhaps Iím desperate for canine affection, thanks to Lucyís preoccupation with eating and sleeping. It has been 13 years of indifference. I know she loves me, but a lick every once in awhile would go a long way.
     Pugs donít lick, I guess. Nor do they come when theyíre called. Nor do they fetch. In fact, theyíre a lot like cats. I hate cats.
     But I love Lucy. Sheís a part of the family, and I wouldnít trade her for any other dog. I can live without the affection, because I now have granddogs who fake their love for me.
     So theyíll be home soon, along with their masters. Theyíll be genuinely happy to see me, and exaggerate it a bit in the hopes Iíll give them a treat, which I will immediately do. And then Iíll give them another and another, until they think Iím the most wonderful human in the world.
     Iíll feed them under the table, Iíll feed them inside, Iíll feed them outside, Iíll feed them in the car. By the time they leave, theyíll be a little fatter and theyíll love me like no other.
     It hasnít worked yet, but it will. Obie will save his best greeting for me, and Bandit will respect me in the morning.
     It might be too late for Lucy, but thatís why they made granddogs.



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