Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa's Sigh

“Please, Santa, I would like my own puppy for Christmas. I’ve been very good this year. And I don’t want anything else. Love, Julie.”

Santa sighed.

You see, over the years, Santa has developed a strict No Pet Policy on Christmas Eve. He even included it in the Elfin Handy Helper Study Guide. But it wasn’t always so. How did those humans get things so messed up? It wasn’t the children, of course. It was the grown ups.

There was a time when he could put a big red bow on a darling puppy and place it in a snugly stocking, and know that it would be a treasured member of the family for life. Eve after eve, Santa would drop down chimneys, and be greeted by the very dogs he had given in years past. Cheerful reunions, with wags and woofs, bright eyes and happy tales of living in a family of love. Santa adored seeing the Old Ones: pets who were in their Last Years. Though their eyes could just barely see him, and their ears could no longer hear him thump onto their hearth, their hearts felt his presence and they smiled in their warm plush beds and welcomed him back into their homes.

But times had changed. The dogs used to work the stock, or rid the place of vermin, or provide the family with dinner, or they guarded the homestead, or kept a lap warm. And there was always someone home who needed company. Kids spent every daylight hour playing. And their pets were their very best friends. The pets were important members of their families.

Of course, Santa watches all year long. He started seeing families leaving the house first thing in the morning. Rushing off to work and school. But after school came soccer or video games, and after that came dinner at a fast food place, and then it was dark. No time to walk. No time to play. No time to learn tricks. No time for pets.

And then the families were scolding his puppies for doing what bored puppies do.

Santa has a big heart. A heart as big as love itself. When a heart as big as love breaks, it sends shock waves. Fires, floods, storms, droughts, tsunamis of sadness came upon the Earth as Santa cried over his puppies. Thrown away like a broken toy, or tied out back and treated like a burden, at best, and shamefully, at worst.

Santa couldn’t risk another natural disaster, so he implemented the No Pet Policy. But he needed to do more. Parents were cheating. They were buying puppies, putting them under the tree, and signing his good name to them! The very thought caused an earthquake, as Santa hiccuped in horror.

“A list! I’ll make a list,” thought Santa. He was good at lists. And he went right to work.
· #1. No pets for Christmas, they are not toys!

Santa, the Champion of All Listmakers, could only come up with that one entry. He thought for a moment, scritching his beard. "Yes," he said. "That's the ticket!" He chuckled, and started a new sort of list, and went back to work ho, ho, ho-ing all the way.

Christmas Eve came, bright and crisp. Santa’s sleigh couldn’t hold another thing, and the reindeer snorted their eagerness to get going. Off they flew, dropping toys and goodies for all of the sleeping children.

And at the houses where the pets snuggled warm with their humans, he dropped gifts of love, comfort, and fulfillment.

At the houses with pets outside, shivering forgotten in the cold, he dropped gifts of responsibility, compassion, and appreciation.

And at Julie’s house, the little girl who had written to him, and all the others like her, he dropped gifts of intelligence, foresight, and education for the adults in the home. For Julie and the other children, left a special note:

Dear Julie,
Santa wants you to have a dog, oh yes! After your parents open the special gifts I brought just for them, they will be ready to find you a puppy. They will take care of your puppy, since you are a child. You may help! From your parents’ care of the dog you will receive the gifts of responsibility, and compassion. You will learn to appreciate the gifts of love and comfort your dog will bless you with for its wonderful, long life. You will enjoy a gift of personal fulfillment like no other.
Merry Christmas!
Santa Claus

Years later, when Santa came to Julie’s house, his heart burst with joy! There was her dog, an Old One now, thumping his tail in welcome. And curled up with the Old One was a puppy, who looked at Santa with shining eyes. The Old One said, “The pup’s been here a month, St. Nick. My girl's parents used your gifts wisely, so I’ve been able to give dear Julie my heart and my love.”

Santa dropped his trinkets under the tree, and gave the Old One a kiss on the nose. Knowing there was no greater gift than a dear pet’s pure love, he allowed himself a happy, all-is-well sigh, and then sailed on his way, shouting,

“Merry Christmas to all! And may love rule your life!”

copyright 2008, PC Renzulli

image credit:

hug your hounds


  1. Oh Patience.. I'd love to see the statistics on how many of your posts make people cry... But in a good way, of course!

    It's lovely.


  2. We are honored that you chose to share this with your blog readers. Thank you, for tears of the good kind.


    pee ess...they got me 20 days before Christmas, and for Christmas, I met E.rabbit for the very first time. She is a nice pet, and I am keeping her.


  3. Oh...that is such a wonderful piece...

    love & licks,

  4. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful story!!! I have tears in my eyes, for you have so creatively addressed a subject dear to my heart.
    Your story should be on the OpEd page of every newspaper in the country - it is every bit as moving and appealing as the classic "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," and it is every bit as important and significant.

  5. I LOVE your story. I see a whole book of children's stories... I'm sending this on to many places the world over!

  6. Tears again,dear P-for all those we have loved and lost who wait for us at The Bridge, and all those who aren't -and weren't-as loved as those of your readers!

  7. Francarrich from WWDecember 10, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Hey, Patience,
    Every Christmas I was like Julie, asking for a dog but didn't get one until I was 46! Mind you, he was a brindle whippet & well worth the wait.

    As usual, your stories hit the mark!


  8. Hi P,

    Love the story...

    Can I post a link on my web site? Lot's of people need to read it and learn...

    Luv & Licks
    HJ & The Whippet Gang +1/2

  9. HJ, I would be honored if you linked to this story. Jean, thank you for doing so!
    Thank you all for your comments.


  10. That was wonderful.


  11. Bravo, P!

    May I share the link with my dog training students and also the clients and staff of the local rescue that I work with?

    -Stephanie, Zoie and Quiz

  12. What a wonderful story, they always make us a little bit leaky. BUT IN A GOOD WAY of course. Your writing is very powerful!!

  13. You got me again. Great one.
    Everyone needs to hug their hounds.
    Hugs from Sunny, Scooter & Jamie(blowing her nose at the moment)

  14. This afternoon was a challenge for me, suddenly not feeling well at all. But then I came here. Sigh, I feel so warm and fuzzy and have only bright shiny thoughts. Thanks, thanks, thanks for being you and being here.

  15. WE wewen't stopping anywhewe, cause Mommi is twying to fix my bloggie that she wecked, but couldn't help ouwselves, we got mesmewised by youw stowy, and then I had to lick Mommi's face dwy
    Thank you fow youw gift of wowds
    smoochie kisses

  16. Thanks for sharing this youching story.


  17. I always knew that Santa was one smart dude!

  18. That story was wonderful on so many levels. I agree with both Jean and Tracey. Thank you.

  19. Awww. That was a wonderful story

  20. What a wonderful posting, Patience! We are wiping away tears here! Love that picture!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  21. Oh, my, you are so good as the well-written, emotional, and thoughtful stuff! I also want to share this with others in the rescue community here in Cleveland, please.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  22. I'd be honored. Thank you for asking.

  23. Oh Patience,

    That post should be right up there with Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!!! Leaky eyes and lump in throat.

    I see you've had lots of old friends visiting. When you have a moment, please check the e-mail I sent yesterday and let me know if it's OK.

    xx Joan, for Jake and Just Harry

  24. Oh Patience,

    That post should be right up there with Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!!! Leaky eyes and lump in throat.

    I see you've had lots of old friends visiting. When you have a moment, please check the e-mail I sent yesterday and let me know if it's OK.

    xx Joan, for Jake and Just Harry

  25. Patience, I love your writings/blogging.....this one is especially touching!!

    merry christmas
    Michelle C.

  26. What a cute story! My Mom would've adored a Christmas puppy, she was the type that WOULD have loved one as a kid. Instead she got me -- well, I was too young at Christmas (5 weeks) so she came to see me Christmas Eve and I licked her hand for the very first time.
    I knew I was going to have a great life with her!


  27. Well written! Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  28. Thank you for sharing this with us, just beautiful!

  29. That Santa is a wise fellow.

    Our SPCA just got 80-some chihuahuas from Laurel. :(

    wally t.

  30. Oh, Patience,

    Thank you for speaking for those dear ones. So many just hear the bark or the roo and never listen to the heart.

    Our family has a new Christmas story at our house. Thank you!


  31. I think it is a good idea to not allow adoption at the SPCA this time of year. People act in haste and a lot of times the animal suffers. Very sad.

  32. Oh geez, really got me with THAT story.

    The..."At the houses with pets outside, shivering forgotten in the cold, he dropped gifts of responsibility, compassion, and appreciation." made me cry!

    You are such a wonderful writer.xox


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