by Vita

You better watch out!
Oh wait, that’s what you say about Santa … not to him. Of course, if Santa is a dog, maybe the rules change.
Anyway, my name is Vita (rhymes with Pita or Margarita — my mom likes those). And I’m a dog, too. I’m here to introduce you to my new friend.
So, when I told Santa to watch out it was because he almost ran into me! See, he’s got a thing for catching stuff. Especially frisbees. When a frisbee gets thrown, he doesn’t look to see what’s in his way. He just revs up those road-runner legs and goes. His brain has nothing to do with it.
Personally, I pride myself on being a thinker. Except when it comes to barking. I guess you could say that chasing and catching frisbees comes as naturally to Santa as barking at anything that moves comes to me. In a way, we do make kind of a good team.
Not that I’d admit it. He’s a young pup, only three years old to my mature twelve. And while my wisdom and training have been accumulating over a long time, he’s still got so much to learn. Like, for one thing, to care about something else besides things being thrown through the air.
I did try to help him a couple times, but he left in me his wake. His dad, Steve Jennings, told my mom, Ellen C. Warren (who writes for this paper) that Santa is a pure Border Collie, just like his predecessor, Orbit (who was written about in 2009 by my predecessor, Buddy) and another before them, named Deacon.
Even though they are chasers and fielders by nature, there is a lot of training involved. Santa won a competition at Summerfest this year in the Comprehensive Interactive Frisbee Show. His dad has been doing that for 44 years with each of his dogs, but this was their last year cuz things at Summerfest have changed.
Just now my mom threw the frisbee and Santa chased it and did a full spin
before jumping to grab it mid-air! Steve said that would get high points in a competition. It looked really cool!
I heard Steve say that Santa was a pretty “rough puppy” when he got him. Santa was born on a sheep herding farm way up in Northern Wisconsin. He didn’t get to sleep inside or anything, so when he came to the city he had a lot to get used to. He didn’t even know that it was fun to sleep on a couch! Geez! He figured it out though.
If we’d met earlier, I would have helped him find all the coziest spots. That’s one of my specialties. But his dad says he’s got a lot of favorite spots of his own now.
Once, shortly after he moved to town, it was snowing out and Santa bolted out the apartment door like, I don’t wanna be in this little hot place when there’s fun outside. He frolicked in the snow and wouldn’t let Steve catch him while he jumped in and out of snowbanks having a good old time!
That’s not why he’s named Santa, though. The year his dad went up North to meet him was during the Covid Pandemic. That year Steve’s family didn’t have Christmas together. Steve told my mom that he said to himself, I think this little guy can pull off a big name like Santa. And then, we can feel like we have Christmas all year!
Well, I think that’s a great story, but you probably want to know about my name, too, right? My name, Vita, means Life in Italian. And I have a sister who needed company and her name is Bella, which means Beautiful. So, mom said to herself (she told me) that when she got me it made the Beautiful Life. She’s a lucky person.
Now, back to my talented friend, Santa. He thinks it would be a good time if you would come and watch him do his amazing jumps and catches in Reservoir Park, where he likes to practice. He even recommends that you bring a couple frisbees, cuz his dad only has two hands, and he really wouldn’t mind if things moved a little faster. Cuz fast is what he is … and some treats wouldn’t be a bad idea either … and you might wanna let me know if that last part is gonna happen …

Ho ho ho!