25 December, 2008

Annual Humiliate the Animals Photo

Mom dragged out some old holiday pictures this week, and among them was one of her dog, Harley. "Fuzzy ol' man," I smiled when I saw the photo, marveling at how gray he looked here. It's not how I remember our Harley at all. I remember him as a frisky young pup, a mostly-black-lab-with-a-bit-of-springer-spaniel puppy that my dad found at Pet Rescue in Bloomingdale, near their house. The photo is from 2006, Harley's last Christmas with us. He had reached the respectable age of 12, not bad for a big dog.

Like many families, we keep up certain traditions during the holidays. One is to eat herring at Midnight on New Year's Eve, an old Polish custom said to bring luck for the rest of the year. (New Year's Eve was also my grandmother's birthday, and she taught us the tradition.) Another tradition is the annual "Humiliate the Dog" picture, where we dress up our critters in bows and other holiday finery and make them sit still for a photo.

Here is another photo of Harley when he was seven or eight. You'll notice his martyred expression didn't change much over time. He was never particularly happy with getting dressed in his holiday best, but the rest of us thought it was hilarious.

Harley always got a treat afterward for putting up with us; a big rawhide bone or a delicious pig ear.

We had planned on dressing up Maggie this year, but our groomer beat us to it. She comes to our house in her mobile dog-grooming van. We decided earlier this year to have her come to us, because Maggie--who was abused terribly by her first owner--is very much afraid of cars, and panics if we leave her anywhere. Maggie knows the groomer's van, and tries to drag us back inside when she spots it, but settles down well enough once she's inside.

This time, when the groomer brought Maggie back to the door, she handed us a holiday card as well. And look! The picture on the front is of Maggie! What a nice surprise!

She looks about as un-merry as can be! When she came back into the house smelling like dog shampoo and wearing a tartan scarf, the kittens didn't recognize her, and went scurrying away, hissing and growling. Poor Maggie! The jaunty little scarf didn't last.

And now with the kittens, the tradition is morphing into a more general Humiliate the Animals one. Mom brought home these adorable kitten costumes, and I waited until they were napping to put them on so they wouldn't struggle. No way I wanted to combat those claws.



They do not look happy. I don't blame them. There's no dignity in jingle bell collars or Santa hats. Hee hee.

Do you ever dress up your pets in silly costumes? If you have a photo you'd like to share, you can either mail it to me at blog(a)compassrose.com or post a link to it in the comments section. I'll include them all here.

Happy Holidays, y'all!


Karen Anne said...

My cats always reacted like a strange cat had materialized in the house when one came back from the vet's. Someone told me about taking a towel, rubbing it over the "vet cat," then over the other cats, so they'd all smell alike to each other.

Marilyn said...

Lovely tales and great pics, Joanne. Harley has such a face, and Maggie - well I never get tired of that mug. Happy Holidays to you all at Box House!

min hus said...

Cute critters.

The last time I dressed up a cat was when I was in high school. I'd put old Cabbage Patch doll clothes on my kitty and she'd flop over and refuse to move until I took them off. Poor thing.

Now the only things I dare put on my cats are blankets. I fear their wrath too much to do otherwise. :)