Santa Claus must have had time to read my letter because the big man delivered, well sort of. 

Long after unwrapping presents and filling our bellies with yummy holiday food, the Lady Human woke from a nap and took a late-night stroll through Facebook land.

I was brushing pecan pie off my teeth when I heard, “quick, come here and look at this.” I washed the remaining toothpaste out of my mouth and hurried to the living room, not knowing what to expect. 

“The shelter has a chin. The shelter has a chin,” the Lady Human said with glee.  

I couldn’t believe it. 

What were the odds of the Kodiak Animal Shelter having another Japanese chin, the place where we adopted Gizmo and Pepper Jack?

I looked over her shoulder, and there he was, Cody, a 7-year-old chin. 

Right then, I knew the Clarkston Zoo was getting a new addition. 

Lady Human messaged the animal shelter boss Thursday morning, and that afternoon we met Cody for the first time. 

He shot through the door and raced to Lady Human. Check, please. 

Before he knew it, he was in the back of our car, headed to his new home. 

Cody — a Japanese chin and Pekingese mix — was dropped off at the shelter a month ago. We were told his previous humans didn’t want him because he shed too much — their loss. 

We have until mid-January to decide if we want to adopt Cody for good, but chances are he will become a permanent member of the Zoo and Pepper Jack’s younger brother. 

We quickly discovered that he doesn’t like the name Cody because he doesn’t respond to it. We constantly called him as he marked his scent through the apartment and pulled Shadow the cat off a chair. No response. 

The next few weeks in the Clarkston Zoo should be interesting, and while Cody wasn’t underneath our tree, our Christmas still ended with Lady Human getting what she wanted. 

We got a new addition, while momma Clarkston lost a member of her pack.

Sophie — a 15-year-old Italian Greyhound — passed away Christmas night. 

She was blind, and her health was deteriorating fast. It was a blessing that she went peacefully. 

Sophie joined the family as a 9-month-old pup. Mom always wanted a greyhound, while dad thought it was the ugliest looking dog he had ever seen. 

She was a good companion, who loved eating Twizzlers — I nearly fed her an entire pack because she kept eating them — and curling up under covers.

Mom dug a 3-foot hole in the yard and buried Sophie Thursday morning. She is down to one dog — Daisy, a 13-year-old blind miniature pinscher.



 I apologize for the NFL picks missing from last Friday’s paper. I was too busy covering the Joe Floyd basketball tournament that I didn’t have time to prognosticate. 

I’m back this week and enter the final week of the season with a 44-30 record. 



The Steelers need this game to stay alive for the final AFC wildcard spot. Beating Baltimore has not been easy this season, but this is Week 17, and the Ravens have already clinched the No. 1 seed and will be sitting a slew of star players. 

Clarkston: Steelers



Regardless of what Pittsburgh does, the Titans can clinch the final AFC playoff spot with a win at Houston. 

Ryan Tannehill has resurrected his career in Tennessee and will lead the Titans into the playoffs. 

Clarkston: Titans




With its win over Dallas last week, Philadelphia has the inside track to claim the NFC East title. All the Eagles need to do is beat the Giants on Sunday. 

The Giants looked good last week, but the Eagles will be primed for this one. 

Clarkston: Eagles



The 7-8 Raiders enter Week 17 with a glimmer of hope. 

They need a victory over Denver, losses by Pittsburgh and Tennessee, and a Colts win over the Jaguars to claim the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs.

It’s possible. 

Clarkston: Raiders 



Two words: Beast Mode. 

With a depleted running back group, the Seahawks brought back Marshawn Lynch to energize a team that is fading fast. 

At 33 and having not played a snap this season, I don’t expect a lot from Lynch in this Sunday night game that will decide the NFC West title. 

Seattle won the first meeting against San Francisco in overtime. That game was also in primetime, a slot that has treated the Seahawks well. 

Clarkston: Seahawks



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