All I want for Christmas?

I wasn’t exactly looking for a puppy for Christmas, but when one arrived about a week before, how could I not bring it home to foster?

Surrendered at 14 weeks, Leo is an adorable yellow Lab puppy. His people purchased him and figured out within a week’s time that they were not cut out for puppy raising. Having a really bad feeling about the breeder, they thankfully brought him to Homeward Bound instead of returning him. He checked in on Friday morning and was loaded into my car by Friday afternoon, headed for Camp Yogi. And then the fun began!

He took to my Yogi and Jackson immediately.

He slept in his crate through the night.
He went potty where he was supposed to.
And then my husband foolishly remarked: “He must be the easiest puppy we have had yet.”
Leo had played us well.

Shortly thereafter, Leo’s true personality came bursting through. He is one of the busiest, bounciest, flying-highest puppies we have every fostered.

He turned on the gas stove; he stole things off the counter; when he couldn’t reach, he used Yogi as a ladder.
He had zoomies of epic proportion, and tantrums to match if they could not be exercised (exorcised?) out.

A tired puppy is a good puppy, and we were able to keep him tired enough to weather the hurricane –

until he went in for his neuter surgery and Doc said “no jumping or running for 10 days.”

I managed 48 hours before surrendering to his will.

Forewarned, the in-laws cancelled their Christmas visit and we prepared to spend the long holiday weekend playing, chasing, and keeping the house from burning down.
And then: a Christmas miracle…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
A creature was stirring, ‘beware’ said my spouse!
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature tornado on a barking, whirling, tear!
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
He was chubby and plump, a right crazy little elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

He cuddled and cooed, to a family he wooed,
And got himself adopted; he is truly quite shrewd!

And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Merry Christmas, little Leo. You tested, tormented and exhausted me – and flat out stole my heart.
Happy life, little boy!


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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

11 thoughts on “All I want for Christmas?”

  1. Looks like Leo chose well, with three boys to help tire him out! Bet Jackson and Yogi are as tired as you are. I love that “keep the dog quiet for 7-10 days after neuter” thing. Yeah…right. Gracie made it a day and a half. Merry Christmas to all of you, and to Leo and his new family.

  2. A perfect Christmas story… Leo who reminds us of our Golden when he was less than 1 year old…a tornado but we hung in there….not easy for a couple past 66 yrs old LOL. Walking our sweetheart was a dreaded chore….slowly getting better. Merry Christmas and blessing to you and all at HBGRR.

  3. Merry Christmas to you, my friend, think I’d have fallen for Leo boy myself, ‘but we are keeping to our’ one dog at a time’ rule around here. See you soon, I hope! Happy New Year!!

  4. What an experience having Leo in your house. Glad you shared the story with others. See you in the New Year in the garden.

  5. What a delightful outcome! Leo is one lucky pup! I really do hope the new year brings an abundance of such happy faces–pups and new families together. 🙂

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