Our first Christmas living off campus, Steven, Anelle, and I bought a Christmas tree. Like real adults. And we probably drank hot chocolate spiked with rum while we decorated it. Like real adults. Maybe it snowed. It was super Norman Rockwellian. Our only ornaments were whatever was on clearance at Lowe’s and things we made, but it was our tree and we were proud of it.
We also had a dog named Aspen. He was a shelter mutt, and he seriously needed therapy. Aspen’s two goals in life were at odds with one another; to not be noticed, and to please you 100%. I think we could all relate to Aspen a little bit. Whenever we had parties we would create a hideout just for him in the laundry room, where individual people could visit and give him love. The perfect introvert cave. As I’m typing this I’m understanding why we fell in love with this dog – he was us, in K9 form.
I have no doubt that the sudden arrival of a tree inside his house was disconcerting. Trees are outside. Now they are inside. This did not fit Aspen’s preconceived notions of the world.
What happened next has been the source of much speculation.
We woke up the next morning and the tree was on the floor. Maybe we didn’t know how trees worked? We lifted the tree, glad that most of our ornaments were made out of .19¢ Food Lion mac and cheese boxes from the recycling bin. As we restored the tree to its upright position we realized it had been lying in a big pile of dog poop. Squishy dog poop was now caked into its branches, and smooshed into the floor.
What the… How the… Huh?
A few theories.
Aspen, angry that the trees were invading the indoors, decided to beat the shit out of it. Instead it beat the shit out of him.
He was taking a leisurely poop by a tree, like you do, and backed up into it.
He was just sitting there minding his own doggy business, pondering the meaning of life, when the tree started falling in slow motion. It literally scared the shit out of him.
He pooped in the house, for secret reasons, and then knocked the tree over to hide the evidence.
We cleaned poop out of pine branches as Aspen watched with reticence, neither smug nor contrite. He was Aspen, and sometimes weird things happened to him. Random strangeness was, after all, a prerequisite for being part of our little self-made family. Maybe he just wanted to feel like he belonged.