The Life of the Party

Holiday parties can turn even the best-behaved dog to the dark side — at least temporarily. Liz “P”, a dog trainer, discovered this truth one year at her annual Christmas party.

Her dog, Riker, an Australian Shepherd and a certified therapy dog, had a reputation for being well-behaved. During the party, Liz “P” says, Riker and Liz “P”‘s other dogs typically remained in a separate room, to keep them from getting under guests’ feet — and to prevent them from being given too many goodies. “One year, though, a guest asked to see Riker, so I let him out. The guests petted him and made him feel special.” Liz “P” relaxed, trusting Riker to be his usual well-behaved self.

“Then, out of the corner of my eye,” she says, “I saw his head swivel. He spotted the sugar cookies on the coffee table, and before I could say a word, my good dog who would never steal food dove headfirst into the bowl of cookies. He was gulping as fast as he could. When I grabbed his collar, his face came up covered with frosting and sugar and sprinkles. I admit I was laughing so hard I couldn’t say a word to him.”

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