Luke brought me a holiday gift this year... I had to wait to mention it, but I think it's finally safe.
I figured I should be cautious. I spent the last few weeks scouring the headlines, google news searching, and otherwise verifying that come next winter, my dog won't be responsible for going way beyond Seuss's Grinch.
When we're up in G'town visiting LD, Luke has the run of the woods. No fences, no leash. He patrols the property using the house as his base. A bird -- or for that matter, a moth -- flutters on the other side of the pond and he's off to the races to check it out. He sleeps quite well at night because he spends the days in nearly constant motion -- generally at high speed crashing through the woods, circling the pond, or traversing the driveway.
A couple of days after Christmas, while my dad and I were moving random slash piles to burn piles, Luke emerged triumphant from the woods carrying a branch. As my proud pooch approached, I noticed the branch had a funny bend in it. No, wait -- two.
This is a dog that only fetches when there's competition, so his emergence from the trees with a stick was a bit odd in itself. And then I figured it out.
That funny bend was a joint. And that other funny bend toward the end, well, another joint. Ever so proudly, my charming dog presented me with the foreleg of a deer -- hoof intact. Boy howdy was I glad I was wearing work gloves. Ditto that @ was happily amused on a stack of cut 20 yards away imagining himself floating a barge of timber down an Alaskan river.
Given the recent holiday, I figured I should watch the news. Did one of Santa's reindeer go astray? Was there a mid-air reindeer collision between Prancer and Rudolph over the Sierra foothills? Would I need an alibi for my loyal canine protector?
The news has been quiet. No investigators have shown up to scour my dad's property for remnants of a flight disaster involving missing Rangifer tarandus east of Sacramento.
I never saw the nose, so I can't verify Rudolph will be around next year, but if he's not? Well, I'm a good storyteller and this is all completely fictional.