Saturday, December 4, 2010

More than Just a Present (Christmas Club #3)

Here's my latest installment for Christmas Club, an exercise where blog friend Sian from High in the Sky encourages us to share stories from Christmas past . . .
I'm not sure how my parents managed it, but our belief in Santa Clause remained in tact for quite a long time.  So, when my older brother Petey was 7 and asked for a puppy for Christmas, they went to great lengths to preserve the magic for all of us (I was 6; my older sister Cordelia was 8; and my younger brother Tommy, pictured above, was 4).  They picked up the border collie mix from the kennel on Christmas Eve and he stayed in a neighbor's garage over night. When we came piling down stairs on Christmas morning, the cutest puppy in the world was there to greet us.  The pup was so happy that Petey named him "Happy."  And Happy was the best family dog.  Ever.  He put up with the antics of six kids (my younger sister Tricia arrived the next year and my youngest brother Carlos two years later), offering unconditional love and a steady presence throughout our lives. He was well known to the neighbors and animal control folks, too, because he insisted on patroling the neighborhood each morning (walking around the block, with his collar and i.d. tags jangling away), no matter how hard we tried to keep him within our yard.  He lived to be almost twenty years old.  When it was clear his time on earth was through, my brother Petey came home from college.  Petey gave Happy a bath, dried him, brushed him and then walked him over to the local vet (about half a mile away) to say good-bye to our childhood friend.  Who had been a gift from Santa.  But so much more than just a present.

19 comments:

Amy said...

Border Collies are the happiest looking dogs on this earth I am sure - I have always wanted one, but living in suburbia we do not have the space to let one run - I have heard they can easily run 20kms a day - no wonder they are great working dogs!
My parents did the same thing for the four of us when we recieved bikes one Christmas - and because there is a seven year age span - me being the eldest - I had to play along with the Santa story for a few years :-)

Kirsty.a said...

Lovely story - brought tears to my eyes

scrappyjacky said...

A wonderful story,Rinda. Our best dog ever was a Collie/labrador cross...she was the perfect dog.

Sian said...

This is such a lovely story, perfect for Christmas Club! It's a wonderful reminder of the importance of pets in a childs life - and of the power of wonder and a belief in Santa. Thanks for telling your story today Rinda :)

Miriam said...

We also had a Collie cross, the best dog ever. This has brought back wonderful memories for me, thank you for such a special Christmas story:)

JO SOWERBY said...

what an amazing story and so poignant, i know how it feels to have a pet put down, very hard indeed. i love how ur parents kept santa such a special surprise too, that's what he should be. i'll remind the people downtown later as he goes past on his sled with the reindeer,
Jo xxxx

laurie b said...

it sounds like a magical christmas morning. because you have so many wonderful memories, the gift of happy lasts a lifetime, as only the most thoughtful of gifts can do.

Deb said...

Oh, Rinda, this is such a sweet story! :o) And how awesome that your parents pulled off the surprise like that. So many kids ask for a puppy but you rarely hear of Santa pulling through with it. So glad your Santa did, and that Happy turned out to be a wonderful pet for you all.

Tammy Lee Bradley said...

Sooo, if I am going to bring a puppy to Mosey in San Fransisco... you want one too?

debs14 said...

Oh Rinda, I now have tears in my eyes, what a lovely story! I bet your parents had so much fun hiding that puppy and anticipating how excited you would all be on Christmas morning.
PS please don't tell my daughter that Santa sometimes really does bring a puppy, she's been asking for one for 24 years!

Mommy2CVC said...

Petey loved that dog. He's always trying to get rid of Woody though.L Love that story!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

What a wonderful story!

Nancy Y said...

what a great story... teary eyes here. Happy's antics remind me of my BFF's dog growing up, Spot was well known around the neighborhood and even would lay out in the middle of the street and never got hit. We think the little mutt we got as young teens was perhaps one of his offspring!

Heather said...

lovely story Rinda xx

Lizzie said...

Lovely story, Rinda. The bit about Happy having to be put to sleep made me cry... But you obviously have wonderful memories of a great dog!

Cheryl said...

What a gorgeous story but as I am typing this I am holding back the tears. Animals are such faithfull unconditional companions who become part of our families, so when they go it is heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing x

Becky said...

What a lovely story, it really did bring a tear to my eye. What happy memories for you.

Karen said...

What a beautiful story! I grew up without a pet, but always wanted one.

Gail T said...

Rinda, what a lovely memory. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.