Wally loved Christmas with its yummy smells, happy music and trees allowed to live indoors. He was a curious little guy clothed in a black and tan fur coat and sported a magnificent beard. He was also a miniature, wirehaired, dachshund. He did not understand the meaning of the holiday, but he knew the arrival of a tree in the living room signaled a time of delicious treats.
Each year, Wally watched intently as we decorated the tree. Once the branches glowed with lights reflected in shiny globes, presents began to appear at the base. He carefully walked a path among the boxes. Despite his lack of education, I believe he read the labels seeking his name. He was well mannered and never disturbed the packages except to use one as a pillow while napping under the fragrant pine. Each time more gifts appeared, he ran through the house to gather the family and lead them to the tree, insuring they did not miss the miracle of more presents.
Christmas morning, exclamations of pleasure as presents were opened excited Wally. He danced from person to person, wagged his tail and always managed to be included in the hugs of appreciation. Then it was Wally’s turn, he held a gift in his paws and chewed off the paper to unveil the tasty treasure inside.
December 23, 2003, our Christmas hound died. We took turns holding Wally as we promised him and ourselves, that somehow everything would be okay. The joy of the season dimmed with his passing, but we went through the familiar rituals, trying to cheer each other. We still miss Wally every day and especially during the holidays. Time shrunk our sorrow and now when we decorate a tree we can smile imagining that in Wally’s heaven, Christmas trees are displayed every day and there are always presents to unwrap.