A Cocker Spaniel Named ‘Dznoont’

A Cocker Spaniel Named ‘Dznoont’
‘My name is Dznoont and I’m a Christmas dog.’

Dear humans:

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dznoont and I’m a Christmas dog.

That’s not to say I was born on Christmas Day. That’s when I came to my adopted family from the animal shelter in town. My previous owners couldn’t care for me any longer and placed me up for adoption. It all worked out okay.

A man and woman dropped by, and all it took was an eye-to-eye and a simple wag of the tail and I was theirs. Well, not exactly that, either. They had come to choose a pet for their daughter Tamar over the holidays and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Maybe it was my floppy ears that attracted them. Or the look. I’m a sporting dog, you see, so I happen to be a good sport by my lineage. You should have seen the looks on the other dogs as I was taken away to my new home.

They kept me well hidden until the big day when out of a cage I sprang, into the arms of Tamar. It’s been a home and an owner I’ve grown to love over the past three years.

They named me Dznoont—an Armenian name for Christmas—and I’ve worn my identity with the same pride this family cultivated.

I was fed Armenian food from time to time and took my regular place under the dining room table, careful not to make a mess. First one hand, then another. The chicken and pilaf was good but no match for the kheyma they served up occasionally.

When I stop and think of all the other dogs—and cats, too—who don’t have homes, I’m very fortunate to have a roof over my head and plenty to eat. My favorite place is Tamar’s bedroom. She lets me lie on the foot of her bed.

The English part I understand. It’s when they speak that other language they call Armenian that throws me for a loop. My mistress knitted me a red, blue, and orange doggie wrap. Butch, the bulldog next door, is jealous, I know. He may wish we were brothers of the same cloth.

Christmas around this house isn’t much different than any other home with a rambunctious dog. I get to sniff all the brightly colored packages. There are so many I can actually hide under the mounds of wrapping paper.

I get to greet everyone at the door and the first thing people say to me is “Paree Dznoont.” Special as that may seem, every day is like Christmas around here when you hear your name called. And when pictures are taken of the family, I get to sit front and center.

It never used to be this way at my previous home. I was always in the “doghouse” if you catch my drift. The shelter was better. But it wasn’t a home, nor a family. Maybe that’s because it takes an Armenian to make you really feel welcomed.

I’m not much of a growler, but don’t get on my bad side. My bark is worse than my bite. I’ll let you in on a little secret: The reason I have so many friends is because I wag my tail instead of my tongue.

My language might be totally off the wall. Although I cannot speak, I understand a command in Armenian. When they say, “Hos yegoor,” I know enough to come forward. When they say, “Hon kena,” I know enough to part company.

And when there’s a small scuffle in the house, I usually keep my distance, though I usually side with the underdog. The time I knocked over the tree, it wasn’t really my fault, though I caught the blame. Had it been placed correctly into the stand, the accident never would have occurred.

Not every canine can be an Armenian dog at Christmas. You must believe in the goodness of your owner and what the day brings forward. You must be willing to become man’s best friend and play the role continuously.

On Christmas, you must be willing to share your doggie treats and bones with other canines in the neighborhood who may be less fortunate. Every Armenian home should have an Armenian dog.

And, quite the contrary. Every dog should have an Armenian home. Where else would I get to celebrate Christmas a second time on Jan. 6?

So, on this Christmas day, I count my good fortunes and hope you do the same.

Shoon’-or-havor Soorp Dznoont! A dog can have his own blessing, too.

Have a good one!

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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  1. Thank you for adopting from a shelter. I wish more people would. I also wish more Armenians get over their unfounded fears and aversion to having pets. A cat, or a dog are some of the best friends you can have. I have many close and precious friends, they and my cats fill my life and heart with joy, love and laughter

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