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I'd like to introduce you all to Marley, my 10 month old who-knows-what-he-really-is mutt. He enjoys chewing on rawhides, barking at strangers and, as I've recently discovered, he has an affinity for Christmas lights.

It all started Saturday, when I came home briefly before heading out for the city's holiday parade. As I stepped into my living room, an electrical plug in the middle of the floor caught my attention. And as my eye made its way around the room, it landed on the somewhat disheveled Christmas tree, which Marley was conveniently cowering behind.

He'd eaten my Christmas lights. Or at least chewed them enough to make them unusable.

So, after muttering a few choice words and picking up the cord so he didn't swallow it, I made my way to the parade and then to Wal-Mart to purchase new lights. The rest of my evening consisted of painstakingly taking off the lights (It was a prelit tree so the lights were fastened on to the entire bottom part) and reattaching them. But after a job well done (I thought) I headed off to bed.

The next morning, as I rose and got ready to feed Marley, instead of his perky, happy self, he greeted me with a guilty, hunched over expression and proceeded to crawl under my bed. 

You guessed it: he'd done it again.

So after some price comparisons - I went to Target this time - I set out for new ones. Once I returned and restrung the lights, I doused the entire bottom part of the tree - ornaments and all - in that "bitter apple" stuff to make it taste bad. And then I completed a makeshift fort around it for protection.

And so far so good - I woke up to no eaten ornaments or frayed wires (by the way, both times he chewed, the tree wasn't plugged in. I wouldn't leave him alone with live wires).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all's well when I return home from work tonight... 

But all in all, he really is a good little guy. So ornament eater or not, I think I'll keep him.