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Looking to make Christmas bright? Get a dog

We’re told that the holiday season should be filled with smiles and laughter and love, but you must admit that lately that’s been a little difficult to come by as we edge ever closer to a fiscal and emotional cliff.

Please let me help. If you’re really interested in keeping the Christmas spirit — if you want to be the Chairman of Cheer — get a dog.

Actually, the best thing to do is have a dog, one that’s yours, so you feel comfortable with each other. That way, you can go Christmas shopping together. If you do that, even just once, you will clearly see what makes those bells jingle.

Duffy and I have a big white Goldendoodle named Bijou. We get to take her everywhere because she’s a trained therapy dog.

On Tuesday, we were shopping at one of those big box everything stores and Bijou became Santa Claus. Kids of all ages were coming up and asking if it was okay to pet her, moms and dads shared stories about their family pets, an elderly couple broke into smiles seeing her prance across the parking lot.

These are the things that, this time of year, makes me feel that the only animal missing from the nativity is a dog.

I’m Pat McMahon.