I took advantage of the after-Christmas sales to get the dogs new collars, but I don’t think the boxer Val really  appreciates what I got her.

I needed to get the dogs collars because the boxer likes to chew off collars -- unless, of course, it’s her own.

The old dog Chester got a wide, green high visibility collar meant for hunting dogs -- because I worry that with his natural brown and black camouflage that motorists may not see him when he gets out every once in a great while. I’m not worried about him getting hit in the street -- he’s too smart for that. But being so close to the highway and the Presbyterian Manor, we have a pretty busy alley behind my back yard, as many people use it as a shortcut.

The little Shih Tzu Leonard had been wearing the collar that Val wore as a puppy -- a faded pink number, because Val chewed up all of his other collars. But now he has something more appropriate for his personality -- a new vinyl collar pressed to look like leather. I just hope the ornery boxer doesn’t find it tasty.

I got the boxer, who didn’t need a new collar, one of those Christmas light necklaces that was on sale for just a buck. I know this isn’t their intended use, but I couldn’t resist. They held up surprisingly well considering how destructive the boxer is.

We spent the week after Christmas laughing at her because no matter how much Val shook her head or scratched at it, she couldn’t get the Christmas lights off from around her neck. I had weaved the lights around her regular collar, so they stayed in place quite well. I didn’t even need duct tape to do it.

The more Val scratched at it more it changed the settings between all on, slow blinking, fast blinking and off, because I had put the button to change the settings in the spot she scratches at. After a couple of hours, she stopped trying to get it off, and though she was resigned to her fate, she’d look at us with sad  and pleading eyes, begging us to take them off of her.

But it was nice to have the blinking lights around her neck on the farm. In the dark, we could see her running down the lane with the old pit bull Sunny from a mile away, or when she’d jump onto the window from the outside to see what we were doing inside. We’d see her rooting around in the brush pile, catch her running around in the cow lot chasing cows and they gave her away when she tried to get into the garbage too.

The lights didn’t let her sneak up on the Jack Russell terrier, and she couldn’t hide from the mutt Arbuckle wearing them either. She couldn’t even get away with sneaking off with my son’s socks.

But she sure did look festive wearing them. The thought makes me chuckle -- I can’t wait until next Christmas or another excuse to put the lights back on her.

When we got home from the farm, Isaac decided Val had enough of the torture, though. He felt sorry for her and took the lights off from around her neck.

And he did the boxer a favor by hiding them from me and not telling me where they are.