CHRISTMAS SURPRISE | A few weeks ago my family decided to foster a dog we would be able to adopt after she got spayed. Illinois law says you can’t officially adopt a dog until they have been spayed/neutered. We did this with our first dog Zipper a couple of years ago and it was a great experience. The dog we are fostering now is some kind of poodle mix; about 1 year old. The rescue organization thinks she was a breeder dog who was released into the wild after having her first litter. They vet said she showed signs of being a recent mother.
I thought we were lucky to get her because she came into the shelter just the day before. The kids named her Buttons on the spot, the vet gave her some kind of shot and we were on our way. When we got home Buttons made fast friends with Zipper.
Fast forward a few weeks to Sunday morning. My wife and I agreed to have Christmas start at 7:30am and we were going to hold a hard line no matter what the kid said. At about 7am I went downstairs to the kitchen to make some coffee. Buttons likes her crate, so she sleeps in there every night right by our breakfast table. I look over at the crate after I start the brew and I notice there is just a little bit of blood on the floor. I wipe it up and as I turn my head to the crate, I see Buttons giving birth. I’m staring at this and can’t believe she is having a puppy. I give Buttons a quick scan to make sure she is doing OK and to my surprise there are already three other puppies in the crate. This is her fourth puppy. It is Christmas morning. The coffee has not yet completely brewed.
The kids were lined up and down the staircase, daring not to set foot on the first floor as if it were covered by lava. They knew the 7:30am rule but they heard me milling around in the kitchen. I didn’t want them to miss this so I got them lined up on the stairs. If they came down the stairs and went straight they would be in our living room where we keep the tree and presents, so I told them they had to make a hard left turn and go to the back of the house, directly to the kitchen.
Once in the kitchen they watched Buttons give birth to her 5th pup of Christmas morning. By this point my wife had heard the commotion and probably thought we started Christmas without her. I heard her coming down the stairs and I could already tell it was not a happy descent. I looked at my watch and it was only 7:15am. We’ve been happily married for 17 years so I’m expecting some harsh language as she enters the room, but I know we’ll be all good in about two seconds after she sees what Santa brought.
What happened next will probably be my all time favorite Christmas memory. As my wife turned the corner, she saw me and our four children sitting by the dog. She stopped dead in her tracks. Her expression changed from extreme annoyance, to utter disbelief, and finally dumfounded joy. What went through her head at that moment is anyone’s guess. Considering she is the mother of four school aged children and works full time, I’m going to assume at some point her inner monologue was laced with profanity. She composed herself, sat down with the family, and we started Christmas morning together, with our four kids, Zipper, Buttons, and five new puppies.
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