The gift that won’t stop biting

As somebody who worked a lot of holidays over the last 15 years, I’ve tried to post something of substance on Christmas mornings for those who are on the clock, those who don’t celebrate Christmas, or those of you who are just bored.

Alas, my wife and I adopted a puppy a few days ago, so the last few days have largely been about attempting to recover broken sleep and discovering broken skin, so this is what you’re getting instead.

He’s something like eight to 10 weeks old, something like a Corgi/Australian Shepherd mix. We’re calling him Chief, because most of our other name ideas were for stumpier or chunkier boys, and it’s fun to call a puppy “Chief.” This is my first foray into dog ownership, and I’m assured it’s worth it. I can see the upside when he isn’t trying to make me bleed the stigmata, which isn’t even the right holiday.

At any rate, Merry Christmas to some, and happy 93rd birthday to Nellie Fox to all.

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Merry Christmas, Jim! My kids will be getting up soon to see what Santa brought – I won’t show them your puppy because they’ll get jealous.

Greg Nix

Merry Christmas, Jim. We got a puppy this summer (my first dog, as well) and it’s been well worth the trouble — although it sure is a lot of a trouble!


Same could be said for kids


Just in case you aren’t up to your ears in well meaning advice, here is what worked with our four dogs; when the puppy puts his teeth on you, let out a sudden, loud, high pitched yip. You will feel a little silly but that’s ok. The theory is that puppies are wired to play with other puppies. They wrestle and bite each other for fun but when it goes too far and one of them bites hard the victim yips loudly. The aggressor is hard wired to learn from that and backs off. This works best if you are consistent and yip loudly whenever he touches you with his teeth, even gently, because you are trying to teach him that it is never ok to bite house apes. He will think you’re kind of wimpy but that’s ok. You will have many other virtues in his eyes.

Dogs are the best. I am happy for all three of you.

Ted Mulvey

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a restful, relaxing day for those who do not. With this addition that’s at least 4 Sox Machine contributors with dogs (Jim, Greg, myself, and Josh). Unsure whether Patrick or Billy own a dog, but pretty soon there’ll need to be a SM site just for the canines!



Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Thank you to the staff at Sox Machine for a year of fabulous writing and coverage. Thank you to the commenters whose insights inform and whose good humor shines through.

Note: Nellie would be 93 today. This is something I should know.

Trade proposal. My two human children plus cash considerations for your puppy. Let’s make a splash!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to the Sox Machine family.


I would like to make an offer as well. My wife, 5 children and a child to be named later. I won’t be able to include any cash considerations.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

(Chewing holes in) Sox Machine


“Puppies are cute so that adult dogs and humans do not kill them.” – A trainer I know.

Respect to Jim and Greg for initiating doghood with a young’un. As this household’s 8-year-old dog lies inert on the carpet, we wish you all a safe, healthy, and relaxing Christmas / Friday.


Merry Christmas, Jim! Chief looks awesome. We just got ourselves a kitty, who we’re calling “Rough Puff” because it’s fun to call a kitten “Rough Puff” and because we’re watching (too much) British Baking.

Here’s to better, safer, saner 2021!



Are you O K?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m not quite a dog person but my wife had just gotten a puppy (her first dog) the morning of the day I met her. 30 years later we’ve spent almost all of that time with 2 dogs in the house (or apartment back at the beginning) and innumerable cats. Since that first dog, they haven’t been puppies as my wife likes to take dogs from shelters that they are having trouble placing and every one of those dogs drove me up a wall when we first got it. More than once I’ve suggested that we should take one of the dogs back to the shelter. My wife insists that I do my part letting the dogs out, feeding them if I’m the one who is up first or home first, taking the dogs on walks, … In the end, every one of those dogs slowly but surely won me over and I’ve cried like a baby when they reached the end of the their time. I’ll forget this the next time my wife picks up new dog that starts out nothing but trouble but having dogs has always been worth it.


Congrats on the little ankle biter. Buzz the Wonderpointer looks forward to meeting him at a future Dog Night at Sox Park (well worth the trip).

As Cirensica

This is a great gift Jim. Probably one of the best gifts you have giving to yourself. And one you will certainly enjoy and remember the most.

Eagle Bones

Another dog owner here, though I must confess I kind of cheated. My wife had an 18 month old golden retriever when I met her four years ago, so I kind of got to skip all of the crazy puppy stuff. We’re also insanely lucky in that this dog, despite basically never being trained, is pretty damn well behaved. Never eaten anything in the house, doesn’t bite or nip, listens pretty well. Probably the worst thing she does is get way too excited when she sees a person who she knows or another dog (or squirrel). This was my first dog as well, so I’m probably due for major issues if we ever add a second one knowing my luck.

We did however start taking in fosters from a local shelter about a year ago and I have to say the results have been surprisingly tame. We’ve had six of them so far and the worst we’ve gotten is a male Pyrenees / Anatolian mix that kept marking all over our house and a hound who managed to get out of her collar and make me chase her across the neighborhood at 1 in the morning. After doing the fostering for a year, I have to say you’re doing a great thing adopting Jim. So many dogs out there that need a home, many of which have been really poorly treated (the stories the rescue sends us about these dogs make me a mix of furious and teary-eyed), so good on you for helping out a four-legged friend in need.

They really are amazing animals. They’re like medication without the pills. They always pick your mood up and know when you’re not feeling great. This is my first one and after four years I don’t know how I ever survived without one.