December 2000

Dear Mom,
A couple of weeks ago we went over to the house where Mr. Steve grew up. I hadn't been there yet. I got to see some of his brothers and his sister and their little humans. We were there all day long and all my people did was eat. They stood up and ate, they sat down and ate, they walked around from room to room and ate, and they sat in front of TV and ate. Miss Ami tied my leash to her pants and I followed her around everywhere and all I got for it was my regular food. They called it Thanksgiving and I'm not thankful for nuthin---especially since Miss Ami said it was a special day and I had to have a bath before we went. Yick. Not only that, but I had to behave nearly the whole time and couldn't chase nobody or bark either.

My people are getting weird. Right after Thanksgiving they brought a dead tree in the house and propped it up in the corner and hung sparkly stuff all over it. And I'm not supposed to go near it. Not even to smell. If that wasn't bad enough, after that, they put boxes under it. A new one shows up every couple of days. I can't play with those either. I don't get it. If I so much as track in a dead leave on my paw, they whip out the vacuum and suck it up so fast it makes my fur fly. And then they drag a whole tree in. What's up with this?

Wait. It gets worse. About the same time the tree came in they put dead people in the front yard. There's a baby and a bunch of bigger folks wearing drapes or nightgowns or something. And a dead cow and some dead lambs. Scared me half to death first time I saw them. I thought, you know, they were invading our territory, so I ran right up to them and barked. I growled too, and tried to chase them away, but they held their ground pretty good, so I rammed one with my head. That's when I noticed they were dead because they didn't smell like people. They smelled more like the garage. Miss Ami started laughing at me. (Right, like I'M the nut case here.) She let me get a couple good sniffs and then touched each one to show me they were OK. Then the cow's head fell off! Well Mom, I nearly lost it. I was so spooked I didn't know whether to bite it, bury it, or bark at it, so I did all three.

And it's not just MY people that are acting strange. The whole place has gone berserk. They've hauled dead trees into the mall, and people are putting the twinkly lights on their houses, and did I mention that somebody's been dumping white stuff on the lawn? I woke up one morning and the whole place was COVERED with it. Don't get me wrong, it's DELICIOUS, but it's EVERYWHERE.

Did I tell you about the fat guys in the red suits? They came out around Thanksgiving too. There are two kinds: ones with bells and ones with chairs. The ones with the bells aren't allowed inside. Maybe they aren't house broken, I don't know. They stand by the door with red cooking pots and ring and ring to be let in. They ask the humans going in if they can't please go in too. Some of the humans say "no thanks" and others pay them to stay outside. The ones with chairs are always inside and must give off a scent that attracts the small humans. The little humans stand in long lines and wait to talk to him and when they finally get the chance their mothers put them on his lap and he laughs at them real loud and a lady named Mrs. Claws takes their picture. And the small humans laugh right back and lick one of his ears and everybody is happy.

Miss Ami and Miss Jennie and me stood in line too. By time it was our turn I couldn't wait to jump up on his lap and lick his ear. He didn't smell any different, but he gave me a big hug and I licked him all over and he loves me a lot so I want to go back and see him again right away. Here I am with my new friend in the red suit with the chair.

He was SO nice I just couldn’t help myself. I had to lick him all over.

Training is going great. We go to class at Leader Dogs For the Blind every other week and work with all the other dogs. Here I am practicing walking on weird stuff. I do this great, Mom.

We also go to outings with Aunt JoAnne and the other dogs and their people who live around Flint. We march in parades and have obedience class at the mall. Here I am with Aunt JoAnne. I love her so much.

And we go out to eat sometimes. That's an oxymoron, Mom. Us dogs don't get to eat a thing, unless you count the crumbs under the table. We just sit under there and behave while our people eat and talk about us.

Here I am posing wth the other dogs after the meal. I’m over on the left. Looks like I'm ready to fly some place, but I was just making sure I could move really fast if I had to. My plan was to circle around behind Miss Ami and head butt Aspen. Forgot about the leash. Again. Anyway Aspen's over there on the far right. Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes. But, I have it on good authority that he chewed up a whole entire tube of lipstick last week when nobody was lookin’ and walked around with Crimson Delight all over himself. That's Murdock next to him and there's a new little puppy behind me. Can you see me, Mom?

I do a lot of walking with Miss Ami. Mostly in the morning when I get up. Mom, do you get your people up early like I do? I get up at 6 in the morning. Sometimes I whine and whine and Miss Ami gets out of bed real slow and opens the door to my kennel to take me out and then I just pretend I'm stuffed and sit there without moving a muscle. And no matter what she says I don't come out. Do you do that too, Mom? Isn't that fun?

Anyway, I like getting up early so Miss Ami can take me for a walk. That's when I get paid back for the stuffed animal routine. She insists on wearing this horrible orange outfit with reflect-o tape and blinking lights. She says it's so people can see us on the road because the sun isn't up yet, but I think she wears that stuff just to humiliate me.

Sometimes when I get Miss Ami up at 5 am she'll lie down on the floor and nap with me at night when the others are watching TV. I LOVE that.

Mom, don't worry about me. My people are really nice and they treat me just like part of the family, even if they are acting a little strange right now.

I'm doing really well in class and I'm going to make you proud of me, just you watch. Big licks all over you,
Daisy © 2000 by Ami Simms
Please don't forget to save your change for Daisy. Put aside those dimes and quarters for Leader Dogs For The Blind. I'd love to take her weight in coins back with me when I have to turn her in at the end of our year together. Thanks for your support.