Fiction: A Dog Named Christmas
(Page 9 of 17)
“Mark, perhaps you should consider adopting three dogs – one for each of your boys,” I said.
Hank immediately understood the magnitude of my catch. His eyes sparkled with mischief as he slowly looked down at the carpet.
“It’s not good for a boy to feel left out,” Hank said. “Particularly it being Christmas.”
At times, I must admit that it’s hard for me to leave well enough alone. This was one of those times.
“Mark, if you like,” I said in a humble and sincere voice, “I could send the vet down the road to your place to make sure your three dogs are up on their shots, too, when he leaves here.”
By ten o’clock that night, things were slowing down. Everyone had headed home, but I knew the holiday season was long from over for my children. The next two days, they’d be busy putting together toys and making final preparations for Santa’s arrival. I tried to imagine the conversations they were having on the way home, and a small tinge of guilt came over me.
I knew the grandchildren were carrying on incessantly about their Christmas dogs. It inspired me the way children shifted focus so easily from what they wanted and hoped to receive to the type of dog they wanted to help over the holidays. They would discuss breeds, age and temperament, and then everyone would agree that there was no finer dog at the shelter than Christmas. They would just do their best to choose a dog. Because, after all, each dog deserved a nice home for the holiday. I could also hear each of my sons asking their children the same question I kept asking Todd – “When does Christmas end?”
What Todd started was turning out well. Getting the children and grandchildren to focus on something besides themselves seemed to make them happier. And the Christmas holiday was turning out to be more meaningful for all of us.
While Mary Ann was carrying the remaining tumblers of half-consumed soda to the kitchen, I went to check on Todd. He had fallen asleep on the couch, and Christmas was sleeping on the floor, his back to the fire and his legs stretched out in front of him. Normally I would have let the fire die out, but instead, I threw on two more logs. I bent down and patted Christmas on the head.
“Well, old boy, we had quite a day, didn’t we? Do you have any idea what you and Todd started?”
Christmas tilted his head up and opened his sleepy green eyes. He looked at me, and I’ll be darned if his lips didn’t curl up into a smile. His tail began to sweep lazily to and fro, and his tongue licked the palm of my hand. I had to admit he was a good old dog.
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