On Christmas Eve of 2011,as a Safe Haven board member I went out to visit the sanctuary manager, Jeff Barker. I had no intention of adopting another dog; I already had two rescues. But when Jeff came out of the puppy house with the cutest black lab/heeler mix, my heart melted and the rest is history. I named her Christmas (Christy for short) and she literally took over the house.

Christmas quickly became known as “devil dog” after eating a couch, two dining room chairs, a table leg, at least two hundred dollars’ worth of doggie toys plus numerous blankets and towels. After a couple of months she became aggressive, and spaying did not help. Then she began to limp.

I took her to Dr. Calista to find that Christmas had defective hips, and her knee caps were on the side of her knees instead of over them. This explained her temperament as she was in constant pain. It was recommended I take her to Tucson for double hip replacements, but the cost was prohibitive. Then Jeff and a friend of mine located an affordable veterinarian in El Paso who performed surgery on one hip in February of 2012 and will operate on the other one after the holidays this year.

Christmas is the sweetest dog. She has been a challenge but worth the effort and cost. I will be forever grateful to Safe Haven for my now well-behaved “Queen of the House.”