SNIFF NOTES: Merry Christmas from Charlie and all the pets at CVAS


Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Christmas.

Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m going to try to calm down, it’s just.

It’s almost CHRISTMAS!

Whew. Hi. My name is Charlie. I live with this awesome family who adopted me from the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter a few years ago and see, I’m a lab. I’m kind of young and I get…well, excited sometimes and…


See for the last few years it has come to my attention that Christmas is a pretty exciting time of the year in the human world and in this house, it’s a no holds barred event.

Mom makes cookies and the kids and Dad go out and get a tree and everyone decorates it and sometimes the humans sing these bouncy songs to something called an mp3 recording.

I don’t really understand all of it, but I sure recognize the smell of baking cookies and pine in the air.

Dad just left with the girls to go get a tree and I’m sitting by the door, sniffing around the bottom, with my ears perked up for the sound of the truck in the driveway. Mom just walked by a few minutes ago and I think I heard her chuckle, but that’s okay. I’ve got to be right here when they come home. This is a big deal, after all.

My human sisters, Madison and Molly, told Mom and Dad this morning that they were old enough (12 and 9, respectively) to pick out the tree this year. Dad explained the whole height of tree to height of ceiling ratio and the girls totally got it. They’re super smart. Always have been.

Madison was the first one to see me in the kennels at the shelter. Our eyes met and I was a little afraid to hope because I’d been there for a while. Molly trailed her sister and when the pair of green eyes looked at me and they both immediately cooed out loud and screamed for their parents, I had this feeling.

Now, Mom is saying to me, “Charlie, they’ll be back as soon as they can. Standing at the door won’t make it happen any faster.”

I have no idea what any of that means, but her tone is fond, so I wag my tail and maintain my post.

As I keep my head tilted to make sure I can hear any sounds from the driveway, I remember when all four of them took me out of the kennel and into the bonding room for the first time. They were all so gentle with me and the girls just wouldn’t stop patting my head and telling me what great sisters they would be.

They were right. The first night I slept on the floor in their bedroom and I knew I would lay my life down for anyone in the house. I would love them and keep them safe forever. That was a promise I made in my head that night.

So far, two years later, I have kept it. Nothing will happen to these humans as long as I’m around.

The sound of the truck’s engine makes me jump up and bark. Come on, Mom! They’re here! They’ve got the tree!

Mom opens the storm door and we watch through the glass. The girls are trying to help Dad get the tree inside, but Mom has to steady it a little to get it past the frame. There sure are a lot of pine needles all over the place.

The melee that ensues after that includes them saying hold on I’ve got the stand and make sure it’s straight and it’s going to fall into the wall and it looks great right there.

Once it’s upright, the girls race for the ornaments and I try to help by shoving my nose in some of the boxes. That just makes Molly laugh and pat my head and I get that warm feeling in my chest that tells me I’m really loved by these humans.

Mom says we have to string the lights first and Dad goes to get the vacuum cleaner to get the stray pine needles. Man, I do not like that thing. When he turns it on, I go after it, growling and barking to make sure the only damage it does is to the pine needles and not to Mom, Dad or the girls.

By the time the tree is decorated to everyone’s satisfaction, Dad finds a Christmas station on his cell phone and when it gets to a really nice version of Silent Night, I have to lay my head on his knee and the girls start to sing along.

Mom dims the lights so only the tree is illuminating the room and when Dad scratches behind my ears, I know I’ve found exactly where I’m supposed to be.

To everyone reading this and all the animals who have a home as great as mine and all the animals who are still waiting, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at [email protected] The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 263-5791 or visit the website CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.

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