‘Twas the night before Christmas and the kennel was still

Here’s the cute little Christmas story that makes its way around all guide dog schools this time of year. If you have a guide dog, I’m sure you’ve heard it…and if not, well, why not? lol

Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all handlers and those furry pups!

‘Twas the night before Christmas and the kennel was still,
The dogs asleep after eating their fill.
The Labradors curled up and quite snug in their beds,
With visions of edible goodies dancing in their heads.

The Goldens and Shepherds sprawled out on the floor,
Some twitched in their sleep and continued to snore.
The dog food was stacked neatly in the feed room with care,
With the scent of dog food swirling in the air.

The kennel cat lying on the cool window ledge,
Surveying the dogs as they lay on their beds.
Something was different, that little cat knew.
Tonight something would happen, it had to be true.

Before the trainers packed up and started for home,
They wished us all, “Merry Christmas!” in a merry tone.
The dogs sensed the joy during the training and walks,
The trainers were much happier and eager to talk.

In the mall working through the maze of people and stores,
We saw decoration and music and distractions galore!
The dogs pranced along without worry or fear,
But some balked at the man on the sleigh with the fake looking deer.

The cat sprang up when he was startled by a sound,
From a loud “Whoosh” in the air and a jingle around.
It reminded him of a dog’s collar when the animal shook,
But this sound kept on growing. He’d better go look.

From the rooftop came a noisy thump and ker-plunk,
The kennel cat scampered to the Christmas tree trunk.
A jolly old man in red appeared from the chimney,
Standing in the kennel gazing at the wonder in glee.

The dogs still so quiet, all sleeping so sound,
As this man dressed in red tiptoed in and around.
He patted the cat as he walked past his spot,
And made his way to the trainers’ empty coffee pot.

A brown German shepherd sat up not quite awake,
Followed by a Golden with a mighty loud shake.
All of the dogs jumped up making a loud noise.
In spite of the rumble, the jolly man kept his poise.

After preparing the coffee pot, it started to brew,
He sat down on a chair and took in the view.
Dogs all around him, spectacular in breed,
He knew well their jobs, the blind people they would lead.

The dogs standing up and barking quite loud,
Quieting down after a chorus of howls.
The man dressed in red laid a finger on his lips,
And with a twinkle in his eyes, he silenced the yips.

Gazing at the dogs in training he started to talk,
“Hello my pups, I’m Santa Claus”.
Turning to fill his mug with coffee and cream,
He said, “I’ve always wanted to stop here. It’s been one of my dreams.”

The cat peeking out began exploring Santa’s sack.
“Yes, little kitty, that’s an empty pack”.
Santa smiled as he looked into the dogs sparkling eyes,
Deep brown ones and gold ones held wide in surprise.

Some of the dogs he remembered from last year,
In their puppy homes, cute and full of holiday cheer.
“I didn’t bring you presents or bones for you to chew,
I’ll tell you something better, what you are going to do.”

“You are working hard with trainers who deeply care,
Giving you praise and correction, gentle and fair.””
You’ll go many places and face many strange things,
You’ll ride buses and subways and hear fire sirens ring.”

“You’ll See cars drive close to you, but you will stand tall and strong,
Not moving into danger, not moving toward wrong.”
“Just when you think that this trainer’s the best,
Once again you’ll be faced with another of life’s tests.”

After you learned every lesson your trainer can teach,
It will be time for your trainer to turn over the leash”.
“Your new friend will be someone that is blind and can’t see,
Your guide work will help them walk independently and free”.

“Some are visually impaired and can see just a tad,
Most of their sight is missing and their focus is bad”.
“Your training as guide dogs will replace their eyes,
You will work as a team facing challenges that arise”.

Santa sipped at his coffee and looked over the brood,
Knowing what he had to say next might sound a bit rude.
“Not all of you will do the work of a canine guide,
Your time here isn’t wasted, you won’t be cast aside.”

“Some of you will be a service dog for a person with different needs,
Making their life so wonderful, happy and free”.
“Your work is so important, People wait on long lists,
To receive such good dogs as you, the school folks insist.”

When the last drop of coffee filled Santa’s cup,
The jolly man turned smiling at each wide eyed pup.
“The best gift of all is to give something back,
That’s why there’s nothing for you all inside of my pack.”

Finishing his coffee Santa visited each pen,
Petting and scratching each dog again and again.
“Next year and many more after this magical night,
Your gift of guide work will replace someone sight”.

“Each day you’ll guide your new friend along the way,
Noticing harm you’ll step out of the way.”
“You will travel the cities and find new ways,
With the Masters harness in hand day after day”.

“Your master will love you and treat you with care,
And remember your training and trust will always be there.”
“The bond you share will be special and strong,
Like a new puppy or the tune from a song”.

After the last dog had been petted and softly soothed,
Santa put away the coffee pot and made ready to move.
Up to the roof top he rose quickly high above,
With a smile and a wave as he slipped on his gloves.

The dogs peered out the window as Santa flew out of sight.
They heard Santa say, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night”!

Author Unknown

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