Category Archives: Random Thoughts

“Last Year’s Christmas Present”

“Last Year’s Christmas Present” (author unknown)

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 outside filling their head.
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 and into the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa Claus – his eyes full of tears.
He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick,
Last years Christmas present, now thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog’s name.
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain;

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 giving 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 given a gift! You were given a life!”

– Author unknown

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FIV Won’t Kill Them but Our Ignorance Might

Distressing. A Washington Post Metro section column today, page 1, under the fold. Writer goes to a local shelter with kids to adopt a cat. They fall in love with a pair of lively tweens.

Shelter worker then informs them the cats are FIV+. They leave, without applying. Mom decides to go on Craigslist and purchase a kitten. For $1.

There is so much wrong with this story. So I decided to put my two cents in and send Ms. Dvorak an e-mail. I don’t expect a reply but had to speak up.

As follows:

“Oh Petula,

I love your column. But today you left me heartbroken.

We have two FIV+ cats – Blackie and Valentino – both found as strays, in poor condition. We nurtured them back to health through a wholistic approach, including our raw diet. We mainstreamed them in our multi-cat household. FIV is difficult to transmit and if you avoid full blown fights and sharing of dishes, almost impossible.

Blackie and Val have been with us over eight years, both full of personality and great joy. Blackie’s overseeing my writing of this e-mail. They are the picture of health.

I’d hoped for the happy ending as I read your story. Shame on the shelter staff for not providing better information. Every animal that’s purchased from a backyard breeder or pet store means another homeless animal euthanized.

I know. I’m a former Assistant to the Director of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Please reconsider and thank you for your honesty.

Best regards,

Note: Blackie is the black cat in our banner (original, eh? – that’s a whole other story) and Valentino the handsome tuxedo boy.

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