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Chapter 14


I love music of any kind. From my favorite Classical piece (Chopin’s Nocturne #1 in B Flat Minor) to the screaming vocals of Skillet and Disturbed that I listen to while training on my handcycle, it’s safe to say that my musical tastes are eclectic.

The same can be said of Christmas music. Whether it’s religious or secular, I enjoy it all. That’s not to say I start listening to Christmas music on November 1st like some people. Instead, I prefer to begin my holiday musical journey on December 1st through January 6th, the celebration of Old Christmas in Europe. The song is called The 12 Days of Christmas after all.

December 16th marks my dog Gabe’s “Gotcha Day” when we picked him up from the breeder in Creswell, North Carolina. During the 8-9 hour drive home, which included many stops to accommodate the needs of a small puppy, we listened to Christmas music. It is safe to say, Gabriel Noel Conley was introduced to holiday cheer early in life.

One year later, many things have changed. Gabe has grown from a miniature, curley-eared ball of fluff to a lean, muscular, near-perfect example of what a Chesapeake Bay Retriever is supposed to look like. In fact, I have had several people tell me that Gabe would probably win a dog show if he entered. One thing that has not changed over the past year is Gabe’s fondness for the Holiday Season. He loves the colder weather and his already boundless energy seems to skyrocket. For example, the next morning after we picked him up last year, we got an early clue about Gabe’s personality. He found a stick about three times his size, picked it up in his mouth and like Frosty The Snowman, he began to dance around through the yard with the typical Chessie swagger.


Fast-forward one year. Gabe still goes through life with a swagger both inside and out. He doesn’t wait to be under the mistletoe to give kisses. Gabe gives my face a bath whenever he wants and he will also pull the Santa hat off of my head at a moment’s notice. If I had to choose a Christmas song to describe Gabe, it would be Christmas Don’t Be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks. The line “We’ve been good, but it can’t last. Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast”, not only applies to mischievous cartoon chipmunks, but to lively Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, as well.

Gabe tries his best to be good and please us, but sometimes he is faced with the irresistible temptation of chasing the cat or jumping in the car with muddy paws. Like the Chipmunks, Gabe has been good, but it doesn’t last. While he may never develop the angelic disposition of his namesake, in my mind, Gabe will always be a good boy. Mom disagrees and says the best Christmas song to describe Gabe is,  I Am Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas, Cause I Ain’t Been Nuttin’ But Bad. We agree to disagree.

Whether your dog has been good or bad this year, they still deserve an ample supply of Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats for the Holiday Season. The simple rattle of opening the bag will be music to their ears and the taste will make them stand up and sing the Hallelujah Chorus. There are Holiday Bones and a Holiday Ornament filled with treats available for a limited time that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest pooch on your list.

Thank you all for reading this blog over the past year. I hope it has given you some things to think about while also making you smile. May you all have a blessed and joyful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.



Jacob & Gabe.

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