The gift of Christmas Giving

By Renee Poole

special to the Enquirer

I have always loved to give others gifts, especially at Christmas. The season is extra special to me, and it seems as though most people are in a more generous mood during this time. People seem nicer, more patient and more caring. This year is no different so far.

My husband and I decided about a month or two ago that we were going to gift our five children with a puppy for Christmas this year. They have been asking for a puppy for about six years now, since my oldest was 4 years old.

We agreed for many years that we weren’t ready for a pet because life always seemed so crazy and hectic. Chaos consumed our lives, and it still does. However, we are now in our forever home and are not planning on having any more children. So we decided to give in and get our kids a puppy this year.

Last weekend, that’s exactly what we did. After researching several breeds online and scouring Craigslist, we found a sable and white English Shepherd located about 20 minutes from our home. We went to look at him at the seller’s home and bought him on the spot. It was a bit of a whirlwind process, until we loaded him up.

I had previously asked a family member if he would be willing to babysit the puppy at his house until Christmas so the kids wouldn’t find out until then. My husband and I named the puppy on the way so the kids wouldn’t fight over naming him, and we decided on Max.

The ride to our family member’s house was long and stinky. Max was so excited during the ride that he pooped in my van about five minutes after we loaded up. We had to stop and clean off my weather mat before making it to our destination.

Along the way, we talked about how we wanted to surprise the kids with their new puppy, and I immediately came up with the idea to have a personalized collar made and wrapped up under the tree for the kids to open together.

The day we picked him up, I bought food, treats, a collar, a leash, food and water bowls, a bed and some toys for him to play with. The collar was just a cheap one to hold us over until I went this week to pick out the collar I envisioned for him, adorned with his very own personalized tag.

To do that, I made a trip to Pet Depot in the Kroger shopping center. Not only was the store decorated for the holidays, but the employees seemed to be in the Christmas spirit as well. They were extremely cheerful and helpful, which is hard to find these days. The warmth of the season was definitely felt inside.

I picked out the perfect collar and tag to have personalized at the store and made my purchase. I had a hard time containing my excitement at this seemingly small gift. I just kept thinking about how excited my kids are going to be when it’s time to open that last little present under the Christmas tree. Their squeals of delight, laughter and initial disbelief are going to be the best gifts of all for my husband and me. Seeing their joy will definitely be better than any material thing that I could unwrap.

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