by Stacey Vincent
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With no thought of the dog filling their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Knew he was cold, but didn’t care about that.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa Claus – with eyes full of tears.
He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick,
Last year’s Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog’s name,
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain.
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Let’s find this dog a home where he’ll be loved by all.”
I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year,
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear.
The gift of a dog is not just for the season,
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.
In our haste to think of the kids a gift,
There was one important thing that we missed.
A dog should be family, and cared for the same.
You don’t give a gift, then put it on a chain.
And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight,
“You weren’t giving a gift! You were giving a life!”