Fiction: A Dog Named Christmas
(Page 17 of 17)
The next morning, I woke to a bright, clear day with frost on the ground. Todd was already in the barn when I went out to do the chores, and Christmas, of course, was with him. Todd was sitting in a lawn chair holding one of the puppies in his hands.
Todd, Christmas, Lilly and the puppies all had come together on a small farm. For a moment, they were a family. I didn’t have the strength to tell them that it couldn’t last. I simply turned around and went back to the house.
After breakfast, Todd said, “I called Beth, and she’s going to come out and help us with Lilly and the puppies.”
I looked over the paper at him and said, “That’s good, Todd.”
“Dad,” he continued, “about Christmas ...”
“Yes,” I said, suspecting what was next to come.
“It’s the 26th, and we have to take him back,” Todd said in a matter-of-fact way. “That’s the way the program works. You bring the dogs back on the 26th.”
I looked at Mary Ann, and I knew she was fighting back a flood of tears, but only a few small ones escaped. I stood up and put my arms around Todd.
“That’s right, Todd,” I said. “That’s how the program works. And it’s a good program, isn’t it?”
Todd smiled, patted Christmas on the head, snapped the leash onto his collar and headed out to the truck.
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