It’s been a light blogging Christmas week here at Via Meadia. The staff has deserted the sinking holiday ship, skiing in Switzerland in at least one case. But the Mead clan has also been absorbing a lot of the attention that in quieter times of the year goes to the blog. During the last few days I’ve driven from glamorous Queens to Philadelphia and on down to northern Virginia for various holiday festivities with various collections of relatives.Today I drove back from Virginia to New York — almost eight hours of stop and go driving on the New Jersey Turnpike and its accomplices up and down the Eastern seaboard. It’s been many years since I made that trip during a holiday week; now I remember why I gave it up.But the experience that knocked all the blogging spirit out of me this week had nothing to do with traffic. It was about a dog: my brother’s three children and his wife had long wanted a dog. That desire reached a fever pitch over Thanksgiving when they spent several days with their cousins’ dog in Philadelphia. It was clear that a dog had to happen for the Virginia Meads. Not so clear was how it could happen, and happen in time for the holidays.After many calls, much consultation, and a certain amount of old fashioned deceit, an eight week old black lab has been tracked down. The shots have been given, the vet has signed off, solemn oaths have been sworn, and the new Mead dog will be meeting his new family tomorrow night.For now, they are calling him Riley, though I understand that a determined minority of the children concerned still likes the name Mowgli. ‘Blog’, I fear, was never really in the running. He is coming in a crate and will have a blanket with his mother’s scent to help him make the transition. The children have all sworn to take care of him; the mom and dad, remembering their own records of compliance with such promises back in the day, are reconciling themselves to becoming part time puppy parents. I think this is OK with my brother; he never actually gave permission in so many words for me to gift his family with a dog. (Come to think of it, he did kind of the opposite. I remember words like “no” and “never” being bandied about, although his children told me he didn’t really mean it and was just being grumpy.)In general, the family’s experience with labs has been mixed. Cosmo was an excellent dog and is much missed. Sam was relocated to a farm after, among other exploits, eating most of a couch. Sophie falls between these extremes, though if she gets everything she wants, she is generally sweet tempered. Where Riley or Mowgli falls in the spectrum is of course unknown at this point; something tells me that for the sake of my relationship with my brother, I should be hoping for another Cosmo.We shall see.