Boomer and Baby Jesus

We’ve owned many dogs in our lifetime, and no two dogs are alike. When we lost Red Dog at age 14, we knew there’d never be another like him. But his death left a huge hole in our lives. We didn’t know it, but the children had decided, after seeing Red Dog at Thanksgiving, that they would give their daddy a puppy. They wanted a puppy as much like Red Dog as possible so that when Red Dog was no more we’d already have a young dog who had benefited from Red Dog’s wisdom and training.

They had already put a deposit down on a new puppy and had planned to give it to their daddy for Christmas, but Red Dog’s untimely demise sped up the timeline of events.

So, by Christmas Eve we had a seven-week-old boxer bulldog, officially called a Bull Boxer or Valley Bulldog.

His daddy is a boxer, and his mother an English Bulldog.

He looks like a serious little fellow with his wrinkled brow. There was so much debate about what to name him that when we made the appointment at the vet for worming and shots we had to tell them he would be temporarily listed as John Doe Fowler until a more suitable name was selected.

olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddSo, John Doe went for his checkup and our vet suggested we name him fireplug since he is built like one. He did not intend this as an insult, but admittedly John Doe has proven to be a hearty eater and does have a stocky, muscular build. He is affectionate and has a very relaxed approach to life.

After some time went by, we named him Boomer Baby Fowler and he has learned to respond to his name. It doesn’t mean he’ll come when called, but he does act interested. He eats often, and he eats a lot. He already weighs twice as much as the Chihuahua, but Toby Lee is in no danger, as he can run around Boomer at least three times before the puppy can gather himself for pursuit.

I told Boomer he is a floor dog and Toby Lee is a bed dog, but Boomer has aspirations. He wants to be a bed dog, too. This upsets the Chihuahua, who leans over the edge of the bed and threatens Boomer when he makes any attempt to climb up.

Boomer isn’t quite big enough to make the leap, but the time is coming. He has an enquiring mind and was fascinated by the Christmas tree. It’s been a while since we’ve had a puppy in the house, and I had forgotten how much is required to keep a puppy from being electrocuted or poisoned.

The poinsettia had to be moved up, the electric cords had to be suspended from the floor, the ornaments near the bottom of the tree had to be moved to higher branches. And I had to completely remove the basket of pinecones.

We thought we’d taken all possible precautions. But then one evening as we were relaxing by the fire in the den, I heard something that sounded very much like someone breaking china. Obviously, I hadn’t been as vigilant as I should have been.

Boomer was on the hearth scattering the porcelain figures of my treasured manger scene.

The candle that lights the scene was rolling on the floor. Fortunately, it was unlit. But the wise men were flat on their backs, Joseph was face down, Mary looked frantic and Baby Jesus had disappeared.

“Oh, my God,” I said, and it was said as a prayer. “Boomer has eaten Baby Jesus.”

Baby Jesus was just the right size for him to swallow, and my heart sank. I dreaded calling the vet and telling him that through sheer carelessness and lack of supervision we had allowed our puppy to eat part of our porcelain nativity set. And we don’t even know if Boomer is a practicing Christian.

I didn’t want to hear our vet tell us, “Well, Baby Jesus will just have to pass on through.” It just didn’t seem right. Suddenly, there was a faint glimmer of hope. I spied something under the edge of the couch. I got down on the floor to see and sure enough, there was Baby Jesus, manger and all, lying under the couch waiting for rescue. He appeared unharmed.

I was so relieved. Boomer Baby is not the pagan I thought him. It was not going to go down in our family history as the Christmas Mama let the puppy eat Baby Jesus. It was a true Christmas miracle.