All Suzy wants for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sitting at the Carriage House Restaurant last week Suzy, our apparently tropical dog, quickly became the subject of conversation.

It was the Trace City Kiwanis Club’s annual Christmas auction to raise funds for the club’s mission — helping children.

As the auctioneer tapped the gavel, ending bidding on an item, his helpers, club members banker Wade Heatherly and insurance agent Stuart Heflin, reached for the next item.

Email newsletter signup

“Next up a Mr. Heater portable heater.”

And the bidding began.

Julie leaned over and said, “Suzy wants that for Christmas.”

She was joking, sort of, but I’m a guy and anything that involves flammable substances is worthy of a bid.

My hand flew toward the sky and the bidding began. After a few back and forth’s the bid hit $50. I was out, ultimately losing to Judge John Hudson.

“So why on earth would a dog need a Mr. Heater?” you might ask.

Despite looking like a squirrel dog and with one chipmunk already added to her 2009 bag limit, Suzy isn’t really a Mississippi dog.

Her genes are rooted in the tropics where the temperatures never get cold.

As a shorthair dog — and one that sheds a bunch — she’s admittedly at a disadvantage when the weather turns cool. So she hates winter.

When it’s cold outside, her ventures outside to do her business are short sprints and she hates every minute of it.

Like a Mississippian visiting the South Pole, Suzy remains in a constant state of being cold for weeks on end.

Julie keeps a small space heater in the bathroom to take the winter morning chill off. Although Julie actually bought the heater for herself years ago, it’s really Suzy’s heater now.

Immediately after Suzy’s brief “business trips” outside, she will quickly plant herself in front of the heater. The message is clear — plug it in and turn it on high.

Do that and you’ll hear groans of pleasure as the warm air begins to melt the tiny dog’s tropical marrow.

Her addiction to the heater is greatly amusing.

She’s even learned how to act a bit in order to lobby for the heater’s switch to be turned to “on.”

She’ll sit contently there for long periods awaiting the plug-in, seemingly fine and comfortable.

However, if you look at her for a few seconds while she’s planted in front of the unplugged heater, she will look you in the eye and shiver violently. Her entire body will shudder and her eyes begin to close just a bit as if in pain. The message is clear: I will die if you don’t turn this heater on.

It’s comical, but it’s often effective.

Suzy is an alumnus of the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society and has greatly improved the quality — and fun — in our lives. If you’re looking for a great gift for the responsible party, a pet can be great— under the right circumstances.

For those of you worried that Suzy may not have an overly warm Christmas present, don’t worry.

Hope is around the corner.

The Rotary Club of Natchez’s annual Christmas auction will be at 11:30 this Wednesday.

Like the Kiwanis auction, the Rotary one is a fundraiser for all of the many contributions the club makes in our community, from giving dictionaries to students all across the county to financial contributions to a long list of non-profits.

If anyone would like to attend the auction contact any Rotary Club member.

Who knows maybe another Mr. Heater will be on the auction block and maybe this one will have Suzy’s name on it.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or