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23 December 1998 Issue

Holiday Etiquette For Dogs

1. Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans, wags (especially circular wags) and kisses.

2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours.

3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers.

4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know:

~ don't pee on the tree
~ don't drink water in the container that holds the tree
~ mind your tail when you are near the tree
~ if there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open
~ don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree

5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part:

~ not all strangers appreciate kisses and leans
~ don't eat off the buffet table
~ beg for goodies subtly
~ be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your sofa
~ don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach.

6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important:

~ observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses.
(4a is particularly important)
~ respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house
~ tolerate children
~ smile your best foxy smile
~ turn on your charm big time

7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. DON'T BITE HIM!! (Barking is okay.)

Go on to Christmas
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