Cookie’s tail wagged with anticipation as I put the presents down in front of him. It didn’t take long for him to lose interest and go play with the other pups that I invited to his party. I smile as I walk towards the neighbors, chatting together, drinks in their hands.
“Nice party, eh?” I ask them all. They grin and chuckle to themselves.
“Yeah, Max and Ruby are getting along with Cookie quite well,” says Betty, a long time friend. We turn to watch Cookie tackle Max, Ruby tugging at his tail. They roll around the floor before Cookie walks over to the large German Shepherd, Gabe. They share a knowing look before Cookie waddles on. My next door neighbor, Tom, chuckles at Gabe.
“Not much energy coming off that one,” he says, nodding at his dog. I chuckle at Gabe as well.
A ripping sound makes all our heads turn in the direction of the presents.
“Cookie!” I scold him, waving him away. He bows his head and sits down, ashamed. I turn back to the guests.
“It looks like it’s time to open presents then?”
With every new opened present, Cookie’s tail gets faster and faster, until it’s a blur sweeping the floor.
“Last one!” I say, looking at the biggest box of them all. Cookie jumps up onto my legs with excitement and enthusiasm. I give the box to him, and in a flash the wrapping paper is ripped apart, revealing the biggest bone Cookie’s ever seen. He gives me a bark and happily picks up his new bone. I suppress a laugh as the other owners restrain their dogs from running to the treat.
“It’s okay, Cookie doesn’t mind sharing,” I say, and all the newly released dogs sprint as fast as they can towards the bone, each one looking for someplace, anyplace, they can hold on. Teeth flash, growls are exchanged, and then all is calm.
The bone lasted fewer than five minutes. As the dogs clear away, I notice Cookie finishing the final touches of his treat. He looks at me happily before bounding away with his friends.
“It was gone in a flash!”
“They DEVOURED that thing!”
“Cookie is one lucky dog!”
The comments on the bone continue as I walk up to all my friends.
“Nice one,” Betty says, laughing with me.
The room is a mess by the time everyone leaves. Plastic cups litter the floor along with dog treats (and human treats), pieces of leftover dog bone, and fur. I look at Cookie and Cookie looks at me. I sense a sorry in his puppy eyes, but I forgive him. I always do.
“Oh, Cookie. I’ll clean up and then we can play for a bit if you’d like. After all, it is your birthday,” I say, already bending over to start cleaning.
Armpits sweaty, back aching, I flop onto the couch. Cookie looks up from where he was chewing on a new toy, and walks over to me. I look down at him, smiling. He rolls over and I give him a nice belly rub.
“Good party, huh?” I whisper to him. He just closes his eyes in happiness.
Then, without warning, he rolls back over and stands up. He gives me a knowing look. He stands up on his hind legs.
Wait a minute, I didn’t teach him that!
Cookie opens his mouth.
“Thank you very much for this wonderful party! I couldn’t deserve more. The presents were amazing, and the guests were fabulous! The decor was superb. Again, I thank you. Let’s gladly do this again sometime.”