by David Francis
This is the time of year which doctors call the post-holiday depression season. During the entire month of January, and maybe some of February, the past holidays of Christmas and New Year's have a lingering melanchonic effect for a sizable portion of the population. A number of unfortunate people see the New Year as a time to analyze their failures and thus work themselves into a good bout of depression for the next month or so. Other people are just stressed from dealing with their families and friends up close and personal for too long (with mandated good cheer), and just need some time to fully recover. And just about everybody comes down badly from the sugar high brought on by excessive cookies, candies, and other goodies.
I understand and sympathize with these people and their dilemmas, but I think we would all do well to step back and look at someone who really suffers during the holiday season, and carries on through this season without a word of despair. I am speaking, of course, of my dog, Alpine.
Consider. As a one hundred plus pound husky living in the remote countryside of northern Indiana, Alpine can, for the majority of the year radiate an image of total domination. Few animals in this peaceful farmland region can compare to Alpine in size, and those that do (cows, horses, etc.) do not have his sizable teeth or claws. When he goes for a walk around the neighborhood, he travels with the confidence of a mountain lion crossing through a prairie dog town. If some neighbor's little dog comes yipping up to the road as he walks by, Alpine usually just gives it a look that says: "I think its pretty obvious how much bigger I am than you. You want to bark, make some noise--fine. Just don't get too close."
Thus Alpine lives the good life of intimidating the smaller, and terrorizing the smallest. He can pull off this macho, tough guy appearance because for 99% of the time, no one mentions, and he is not reminded of the very poignant fact, that he has been neutered.
This all changes during the holidays. Invariably one or more of my relatives brings home some female dog with a set of four gams that go all the way up and a sexy little tail that just won't quit! This immediately brings Alpine's little world to a grinding halt and wrecks unimaginable damage on my poor dog's self-esteem. Face it, while you are all worrying about how you are going to survive another Scrabble game with your various relatives, my poor dog is trying to figure out some way to assert his manhood.
Oh, I know what you're thinking: "The little female dogs are in the same boat. They have been spayed." Sure, I know that. You know that. But does Alpine know that? And what? She's going to tell him? Right. First thing these lasses do is go up to poor Alpine and check out the goods. While someone is saying, "Oh, look! She wants to play with Alpine!", she is saying: "I knew it. This is going to be fun."
What is poor Alpine supposed to do? Mutter something about an accident with a barb wire fence while trying to save three puppies from a burning kennel? Of course not. He is going to hope she didn't notice and do his best to maintain his macho image. Unfortunately, this is playing right into her paws. All during the first day she is laying it on thick. Complementing his big muscles, rubbing up against him, and generally "shakin' it 'til he can't take it." Then just when everybody's getting ready to go to sleep for the night, she nails him with: "Hey there, stud," (or does she say 'stub'? Hard to say, she laughs coyly at this point and articulation is not definite). "What say you and I get together in about an hour, and you show me what you're capable of?"
"Uh..uh...uh...uh..uh.." Alpine pants in desperation, thinking it would be so much nicer if they could just cuddle and talk.
"Great." she responds. "I'll be outside in two hours. . .with the leash. You do know how to use a leash, don't you?"
Then the lass goes inside, finds Alpine's blanket and immediately falls asleep and wakes up not once until morning.
But not Alpine. No, this poor clod spends the next seven hours wishing he knew exactly how long two hours was. He eventually decides he will just run away for the night and in the morning explain that he couldn't make it (which of course is painfully true) because he had some important guy stuff to do. This he does, and she loves it because this means she can run the same scam again the next night.
I won't go into further detail. Alpine deserves some privacy. But perhaps I have revealed enough so those currently suffering from post-holiday depression can see their problems are nothing compared to what my poor dog suffers.