‘Twas the night before Christmas, and 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 Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
My dogs, they were nestled all snug in my beds,
While visions of chewy toys danced in their heads.
When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Off to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutter then threw up the sash.
The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
With a sputter of ashes and flurry of soot,
He slid down the chimney with all of his loot.
My precious dogs stood there, so regal and proud,
Guarding their home with their barks oh so loud.
St. Nick showed no fear, and he called them by name.
He knew in his heart they were gentle and tame.
He brought out his list, began checking it twice.
“My beauties, I see that all year you’ve been nice.
“I have in my bag many toys and much more.
Please tell me, you puppies, what you’re longing for.”
My dogs talked to each other — much to my surprise —
And then turned to Santa with tears in their eyes.
“We have chewies and balls and ropes to be tugged.
We are pampered and coddled and petted and hugged.
But for Christmas, dear Santa, we have but one care:
That all dogs be loved just as much as we are.
“We want no dog beaten, no dog whipped or chained.
We want no dog abused, abandoned, or maimed.
We want that all dogs, no matter what size,
See true love reflected in their masters’ eyes.”
St. Nick paused for a moment to gather his wits.
“I cannot stop humans from being such twits.
All dogs are so beautiful and such a treasure.
They just want to be loved and to give humans pleasure.
“This is a bright lesson I will try to teach.
And maybe your wish will be within my reach.”
St. Nick then turned to me, his face wet with tears:
“Be proud of your babies. They all are such dears.”
He planted a kiss on each beautiful head:
“Now you gentle giants, go right off to bed.
Think only good thoughts, and dream only good dreams
Of running and jumping and playing in streams.”
In an instant, St. Nick disappeared in a poof,
And I heard him laugh loudly up there on the roof.
He jumped in his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And off he then flew like the down on a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to All, and to Dogs a Good Life!”
Richard Lederer M.A.T. English and Education, Ph.D. Linguistics, is the author of more than 30 books on language, history, and humor. Explore his web site www.verbivore.com. Write him at [email protected].