Paducah, KY – If you're looking for a warm and fuzzy Christmas present for a loved one, a puppy might not be the best idea. The Humane Society warns "a dog is a precious purchase that will be in someone's life for an average of 15 years, so it should not be an impulse buy." Commentator Patience Renzulli addresses this issue in a story titled "Santa's Sigh."
"Please, Santa, I would like my own puppy for Christmas. I've been very good this year. And I don't want anything else. Love, Julie."
He had to develop a strict No Puppy Policy on Christmas Eve. There was a time when he could put a big red bow on a darling puppy, place it in a snuggly stocking, knowing that it would be a treasured member of the family for life. Santa would drop down chimneys, and be greeted by the very dogs he had given in years past. Cheerful reunions, with happy tales of living in a family of love. Santa adored seeing the Old Dogs. Through dim eyes, with ears that could no longer hear, their hearts felt his presence. They smiled in their warm beds and welcomed their jolly friend.
In times past, dogs were important members of their families, who worked the stock, rid the place of vermin, provided dinner; they guarded the homestead, or kept a lap warm. Outside of school, kids spent every daylight hour playing, and their pets were their very best friends. But times had changed.
Santa began to see families madly rushing off to work and school. After school came soccer or video games, and dinner at a fast food place, and by then it was dark. No time to walk. No time to play. No time to teach tricks. No time for pets.
He saw families scolding his puppies for doing what bored puppies do.
Santa has a big heart, as big as love itself. When a heart as big as love breaks, it sends shockwaves. Fires, floods, droughts, tsunamis of sadness came upon the Earth as Santa cried over his puppies. Thrown away like a broken toy, or tied out back and treated like a burden.
Santa couldn't risk another disaster, so he sadly implemented the No Pet Policy. But parents were cheating. They were buying puppies, putting them under the tree, and signing his good name to them! The very thought caused an earthquake, as Santa hiccupped in horror.
"A list! I'll make a list," thought Santa. He was good at lists.
#1 No pets for Christmas, they are not toys!
But Santa, the Champion of All Listmakers, could only come up with that one entry. He thought HARD, then he chuckled, and started a new sort of list, and went back to work ho, ho, ho-ing all the way.
Christmas Eve came, Santa's sleigh was overflowing, and the reindeer snorted their eagerness. Off they flew!
At the houses were the pets snuggled warm with their humans, he dropped gifts of love, comfort, and fulfillment.
At the houses with pets outside, shivering forgotten in the cold, he dropped gifts of responsibility, compassion, and appreciation.
At Julie's house, he dropped gifts of intelligence, foresight, and education for the adults. And he let a cheery note:
After your parents open the special gifts I brought just for them, they will be ready to find you a puppy. They will take care of your puppy, since you are a child. You may help! From your parents' care of the dog you will receive the gifts of responsibility and compassion. You will learn to appreciate the gifts of love and comfort your dog will bless you with. And from that you will enjoy a gift of personal fulfillment like no other.
Years later, when Santa came to Julie's house, her Old dog thumped his tail in welcome. And curled up with the Old One was a puppy, greeting Santa with shining eyes. The Old Dog said, "My girl's parents used your gifts wisely, Santa, so I've been able to give dear Julie my heart and my love."
Santa kissed the Old Dog on the nose. Knowing there was no greater gift than a dear pet's pure love, he allowed himself a happy, all-is-well sigh, and then sailed on his way, shouting,
"Merry Christmas to all! And may love rule your life!"