Christmas 2021

Here’s the annual Christmas letter.  Been sending this out to family and friends for the past 20+ years, written from the perspective of our dogs for the past ten.  I believe this is more entertaining, since I imagine a dog’s mind works in a simple fashion, always happy in the moment, and uncluttered with the cares and woes of typical humans.  So that’s the reason they’re on the cover.  I still include our late dog Sammy, since he always will be a part of the family.  Anyway, for better or worse, here is:

Front side of card (tri-fold pamphlet style)

Christmas 2021: A Very Serious Letter*

Have you heard the news?

If not, you’re a of couple years late and a Weiner-Monkey* short.  Sammy is deceased.  Bad joke--he hasn’t risen, unless you sneeze on his cremated remains resting in his urn.

I’m Benji.  Dog no. 2.  I’m a little canine but bigger than Sammy.  Floating around are words such as “diet, he’s heavy, can’t fit through the doggy-door,” yada yada--meaningless concepts since I can’t sniff, eat or pee on ‘em. 

Every now and then, creepy stuff happens in this house: a whiff of a familiar odor, a short bark arising not from my mouth, a feeling as if someone’s scratching my behind but no one’s there.  It’s not in my head, nor my butt, and I’m not making this up.  At times I hear a wee voice between my ears, which is amazing since I was told there wasn’t much capacity left to otherwise house my hugely magnificent single-digit IQ.  I swear it’s the ghost of Sammy.  He’s watching me, keeping me in line (or trying), reminding me to look after the family.

And he delegated his Xmas letter-writing to me, my penance, I guess, to earn my keep.  And this they call “fair?”  Man, a dog’ life is rough. 

(Pause: must squat & drop a payload behind the couch.  Seriously.  Don’t tell Mom.)

So I’m tasked to tell you about the folks here, like my sister Lauren, who now resides in Portland, thick and thin deep in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nursing residency at Randall’s Children’s Hospital, whose unit holds a whopping load of tiny babies, some can fit into a shirt pocket, and she astounds us with unusual medical conditions that even Dad (Randall, so ironic) hasn’t seen.  She enjoys the work but I don’t believe she likes Portland itself too much, since it’s gone to the dogs (and that’s a problem?).  She’s making good friends and is sharing an apartment with Caroline, her roommate for all four years at Gonzaga (go Bulldogs!).  She’s become a versatile cook and I wish I was there to taste-test. Hey, I’m bigger than the babies she cares for.  Just saying.

(I wonder if cats taste like chicken)

My big bro Nick still lives in Seattle, working at Radiant, doing engineering-computer-math related work, helping other techie people (he says the PhDs are the worse) with the products they create (quality control instruments for manufacturers/companies that have LCD monitors in their products…hey, that’s all I know and after writing that, I need a nap).  They’re talking about sending him to Japan.  He’s already been to Silicon Valley, Wisconsin & Michigan (in the dead of winter) and Hawaii.  I’ve only travelled to the groomer, well, and to Seattle and Portland to see Nick & Lauren.  He lives not so far from his little sis, so they’ve met for sight-seeing, eating, drinking…hey!  Why couldn’t they bring me?  Life’s unfair.

(Sigh…no reason, just sighing… )

Mom keeps busy, chasing me around since I’m not entirely potty-trained, can’t seem to distinguish house from outdoors.  I also hang around her feet a lot and she says something about me tripping her but she does a lot of experimental cooking and if something drops well naturally it’s in my and everybody’s best interest that I’m on the spot to gobble the droppings since food-on-the-floor is a sin, so I’ve heard, and like Nick I need to do some quality control by taste-testing her food, so I’m serving a ginormously vital function whether she knows it or not.

(I must be getting fat.  Can’t see my privates)

Oh yeah, there’s Dad, the afterthought, who still runs barefoot outside, people think it’s strange but hey I don’t have shoes, so what’s the big deal?  He chases me around the house to leash me up for a walk.  He still works as a doctor, goes to the hospital but looks a bit weary since he doesn’t sniff the ground the way I do nor pees on inanimate objects which is enormously liberating and I recommend everyone does this but he says he can’t in the hospital, something about germs, viruses, screaming nurses, COVID, infection control, and all that jazz which is meaningless to my floppy ears…wait…squirrel!

 (Another squirrel gets away.  Darn.)

Thanks for reading my stream of babble.  Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

Benji with the help of the Spirt of Sammy Fong

for Randy, Nancy, Nicholas & Lauren, the minor players in the overall scheme of things in Dog World.

Footnotes:  *OK, maybe not.  **Sammy’s favorite toy.  Shape of a wiener, face of a monkey.  Don’t be so shocked—we’ve mentioned this before.

©Randall S. Fong, M.D.

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