A Canine Christmas Carol
My name is Arthur, you may see me as a Golden Retriever, but I am the embodiment of dogs across many lands from Christmases past, present and future I would like to tell you a story.
It all began in a time that has now passed, when I was just a baby with my Mummy and brothers and sisters; I loved them so much. We would play and Mum would wash us, feed us and make sure we were alright. One day, I think I was about 8 weeks old, a man and a lady came in and picked me up, they seemed nice although I was a bit worried about being picked up by strangers. After a little while they took me away from my Mum and siblings and put me in a moving thing, they called a car that made me sick. I was very confused, when would I see my family again? I missed them already.
The car came to a halt and they carried me into a new place, with new smells and showed me a basket that I think was meant for me. I was frightened, but there was food and water and a lovely tree in the corner of the room with lots of things that looked good to chew! So I went to investigate it, with my teeth of course, because I am a dog and have not been blessed with opposable thumbs. Immediately the man lurched across the room and struck me across my nose saying human words that I did not understand, I think it was ‘NAUGHTY DOG’ I didn’t like those words and I soon learned that whenever they were spoken or shouted I would either be hit, shaken or have my collar pulled so tight that I couldn’t breath. Where was my Mummy? She would be sure to protect me. I was sad.
Night time fell and they put me in a cage, I had never seen one before, this was my first time and all I wanted was to snuggle with my brothers and sisters as I usually did when the darkness came. I cried and cried and cried some more until the lady came in and shouted at me, she shouted ‘NAUGHTY DOG’ so I thought I had better be quiet or something worse might happen so I soothed myself by chewing my basket.
When the humans returned in the light of a new day they saw that my basket in tatters and again they shouted at me, dragged me towards it saying new words that I didn’t like because their vibrations made me feel all wobbly inside: ‘WHAT’S THIS?’ swiftly followed by the familiar ‘NAUGHTY DOG’ – smack. I was so frightened that I did a wee and they put my nose in that, I have no idea why; the word they used was ‘training’.
After a while they came to me and played with me and that made me happy, they told me that today was a special day called Christmas and that they had to go and visit their family so after the lovely game and cuddles they put me back in the cage and told me to be good. I have no idea how long I was in that place, but the darkness began close around the house again before I heard them return. I was so sad and so lonely, I had tried calling out to my litter mates while I was alone, but I don’t think that they could hear me. There was a knock at the door and a very red faced man began shouting at the human that I had come to know as Jim, he was saying things like ‘That bloody dog’ and ‘Barking and howling all day.’ Jim looked perplexed when he came inside he and Maggie (the lady) began talking, they said ‘We picked a bad dog, he has to go.’ I wondered what that meant.
When the new day dawned off we went in the car to a new place with lots and lots of dogs. Maybe I would find my family there. We went inside and Jim and Maggie explained to a kind looking lady who smiled at me that I was a bad dog, I was destructive, I was noisy and I wasn’t house trained. I wondered if they had always been ‘house trained’ when they were babies.
That was then and this is now. The new lady held me in her arms, spoke to me softly and told me everything would be OK. She then took me and put me in another cage, much bigger this time that she called a kennel. The door closed and once again I felt frightened. This time though I had next door neighbours one took great pains to tell me that he was a German Shepherd cross, not a Collie cross like it said on his kennel. He explained that his name was Milo and he had been in and out of this place many times. New humans would come and fall in love with his handsome face, but not understand that he couldn’t cope with a lot of noise and a busy house, it made him ‘act out’ and if they tried to ‘train’ him by striking him or shouting at him he would bite them! Then he would quickly arrive back in this kennel. He was very sad, he told me that all he wanted was a human who understood him and his own armchair. Poor Milo.
On the other side of my kennel was a funny looking dog, Ronnie, he had scars all over his face and neck. He told me that he was a Bull Terrier type of dog and his humans had liked to get other dogs to attack him, it made them very excited, they called it dog fighting, but he didn’t want to fight and so they threw him out onto the street. He had been found by a man who he thought was called Mr RSPCA and taken in a van to this place where he had been for many months. When humans looked at him through the bars of his kennel they would gasp and exclaim that he was obviously vicious. He said that he wasn’t and that all he wanted was cuddles and perhaps a child who he could be best friends with.
So here I am In this place and I am tired and confused, I decide to go to the corner of the kennel where there is a blanket and I fall into blissful slumber. As I drift away, eyes closed. I can hear the voice of an angel and she tells me that as this is a magical time of year she has been granted permission to show me my future because I am a special boy with an important job to do when I am grown up. I can see myself, I am a big dog, quite handsome actually and I am with a lady she has a beautiful face, but I can see that she is sad. The angel’s voice tells me that this is going to be my forever human, but that I am being sent to her because she sometimes gets so very sad, her humans didn’t want her when she was a child so they put her into kennels too, called ‘the care system’ just like me and she didn’t like it there, it wasn’t a nice place. Now she is all grown up and the memories of that place come to her and she needs someone very special to heal her emotional wounds. The angel tells me that this will be my job and it is a very important one.
I try to speak to the angel using the Universal language of the soul (wow! that was a big phrase for such a little chap) and she hears me. I want to ask how I can help this lady. She explains to me that animals know what a human is feeling, they can sense it and often pick up on thoughts and feelings that their humans are having and the most important job that we have is to listen when they speak, cuddle when they cry and let them know that we have unconditional love for them. She tells me that unconditional love is something that humans struggle to give each other, but animals, especially dogs like me are the universal masters of it. By giving our love and care to our humans we can help them to heal. When they are healed they can then go on to help other beings who also need healing. She calls it the ripple effect. I thank her for her guidance and before I know I awake to see a face looking at me through my kennel bars. It is the lady from my dream, I tell her from my heart and soul that I am going to love her forever and take good care of her – she smiles and says ‘That is the one for me!’
The moral of this tale of mine is that there is no such thing as a naughty dog just dogs who go to live with humans who don’t understand them. We are all individual and need love and care. If you give us the chance and communicate with us in a way we understand we will love you forever! Love Arthur x