I like to refer to my dog as a grumpy old man dog. At age 7, he’s not especially old. Coming from a background of abuse, he is especially grumpy. So when I decided to include him in a family Christmas portrait, I was worried about how worlds might collide. My grumpy old man dog would be sitting next to probably the least grumpy old man in the world — Santa. My husband and I took our other dog for a portrait with Santa two years ago. She’s much friendlier and of course loved all the attention, cuddling up against Santa’s legs. That year we left our male dog at home. I felt guilty, as if dogs have any clue they’re not included in the portrait with Santa. This year, I begged my husband to get another Santa portrait, this time with both dogs. Imagine his enthusiasm. Thankfully, he agreed. Such is the life of a newlywed husband. We took both dogs to Northpark Mall for photos with the Northwest Oklahoma City Rotary Club. The four of us passed through the doors, around the potted plants and up to Santa. The female dog ran up to everyone there, panting with joy and jumping with excitement. I held my breath and watched my grumpy old man dog. Tail wagging, he trotted up to Santa and licked his hand. It was a Christmas miracle. All four of us sat on the floor by Santa, and after some pooch scooching, the photographer snapped our portrait. Everyone was smiling, even my grumpy old man dog. The whole affair made me think about my pup. As he’s aged, he’s become more loving and confident, less afraid and aggressive. Hopefully the further removed he is from his abusive past, the closer he becomes to living life as a normal dog. Now I’ll just have to call him my old man dog.
The Northwest Oklahoma City Rotary Club will take photos from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Northpark Mall, 10904 N May Ave. PETCO
Photos will be taken from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the three metro-area PETCO locations: 7001A Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City, 324 S Bryant in Edmond and 1670 24th Ave. NW in Norman.