Meet Figgy

He’s a barking, sweater-wearing, puking Christmas ornament

I didn’t want a dog. My wife wanted a dog and our daughter wanted a dog. Guess what? We got a dog.

That’s fine, though, because there’s nothing I love more than Christmas, and our dog is a living, breathing, four-legged Christmas ornament that sheds tinsel and hocks up garland after eating too much fruitcake.

From the moment he joined us, he’s been more festive than either Currier or Ives and I’m convinced that what he did in the basement last week was his version of decking the halls.

His holiday proclivities were apparent from the start. A rescue from South Carolina (how do we know? he barks with a southern accent and lives on banana pudding and sweet tea), he came home to us on the easy-to-remember date of 12/12/12.

We surprised our daughter with an early Christmas present allowing him to bound into the living room and greet his new family. He’s a 12-pound terrier mix of some kind, and my wife brought him home wearing a little Santa suit. He ran right past the Christmas tree and into my kid’s arms.

We explained that the foster family that kept him for a week or so had given him the name “Mulligan,” but we’d allow her to give him his permanent name.

Without a moment’s hesitation, she christened him: “His name is Figgy Pudding.”

If I was a producer at the Hallmark Channel in charge of approving scripts for Christmas movies, I’d reject this one for being too far-fetched. But that’s exactly how it went. Now, every year around this time, he gets a new Christmas costume, because when you have a small dog, that’s what you do. You dress it up. You don’t question it; you just get a little suit and put it on him. One year it was deer antlers, last year it was an ugly Christmas sweater. He doesn’t seem to mind, and my 15-year-old thinks it’s hysterical.

Note to the dog: Sorry, Fig. If the kid laughs, the tradition lives on.

The only thing that’s not very Yule-y about him is his aversion to cold weather. Go figure — the most festive dog on the planet hates snow. It’s probably his southern heritage coming through, but his little paws freeze up pretty quickly. We got him some shoes last year, but he did not approve. If you want to see an animal levitate, put some shoes on it.

He’ll happily wear a sweater around the house (as long as none of the other neighborhood dogs see him), but try to get him to wear teeny little Chuck Taylors and all of a sudden we’re the bad guys. Still, it made my daughter laugh, so I’m guessing there’s more footwear in the dog’s future. 

Bill Burke, his wife and daughter are the stars of the Claymation Christmas special, “The Dog Who Threw Up Christmas.” He lives in southern New Hampshire with his family and is also managing editor of custom publications for McLean Communications.

More Dad on Board columns by Bill Burke

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Meet Comfy Baby

Because all jazz bassists need a memorable nickname

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My daughter doesn’t have to ask my expert opinion on music — it’s automatic
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