The above ornament was a gift to my wife in 2003. We were hoping to get a dog in the near future, and this was a little promise that it would happen. I also wrapped up a retractable dog leash, though when the real dog came we had to upgrade for her additional size.
We were renting a house in Greenlake at the time, and we hadn't finalized anything with the landlord about a dog. We had mentioned a future dog when we moved in, and though he wasn't excited he seemed open to the idea. We also had to be concerned with our upstairs neighbor as she was a doctor working all kinds of crazy hours. We couldn't have a dog barking all day while we were gone.
We found our wonder-pooch shortly after Christmas. I wandered through a Humane Society and found her and her mother. Both had been given up as a result of a divorce. I mentioned the find to my wife who rushed down on a lunch hour and put our name on the list for Sierra. We still hadn't talked to the landlord, and he received a call from the Humane Society breaking the news. To his credit, though still not excited, he didn't refuse.
Sierra of course looks nothing like the "promise of a dog" ornament, but she is still one of the best Christmas presents ever.