2002 Articles

A Christmas Beginning

By: Liz Swearingen

My name is Samantha and as I looked around I wonder how this had happened to me. Only a couple of months ago I had a wonderful family, lots of toys and love. Then one day my Mom and Dad fought and Dad moved out of the house. Mom started packing everything up and talked with me about how she had to move to someplace called an apartment that didn’t allow pets. I had never thought of myself as a pet, but as part of the family. What did this mean?

Too soon, I found out what it meant. One morning, not long after that, Mom removed my collar and hugged me tight telling me she loved me. Then she took me for a ride in the car, my favorite thing. Only this time when Mom stopped the car, she opened the door and let me out but didn’t get out with her. I decided that I was supposed to go potty before we went on, and then get back in the car. I happily ran out in the grass and pottied, but as I turned around to return to the car I saw it driving away. I ran and ran as hard as I could but could not catch it. I tried to shout for Mom to come back but it did no good, the car just got further and further away.

Now it is December and it is getting cold and uncomfortable in this field that I now call home. There is a farmhouse and barn not to far away and since food is getting scarce I have decided it is time to get a little closer and see if maybe I can stay in the barn. I have not met the people, but I don’t trust them. I trusted Mom and Dad and it turned out badly. I am afraid to trust again. As I move closer to the barn I see a truck drive up and in the back is a tree. I remember a tree like that, Mom and Dad called it a Christmas tree.

The family from the farmhouse all pile out of the truck. There is a Mom and Dad, but there is also a little boy and girl. I am close enough to watch but they cannot see me. As I watch they take the tree out of the truck and the Dad puts it in a stand while the rest of the family laughingly calls directions out to him. When they are all satisfied, the Dad picks up the tree and they all go into the house. I remember the days when we had a tree in our house. Everyone was happy and singing to the pretty music on the radio. I got lots of pets and love, and one day I got a bunch of new toys. The house was all pretty and there were lots of people coming to visit me. I always did my best to entertain them, and Mom and Dad laughed a lot.

Remembering those days, I got up my nerve and went up to look in the window. With a tear in my eye, I saw the beautiful home and could feel the love and happiness of the four people who lived there. I turned away because it hurt too much not to be a part of it, and because I was afraid one of them would see me watching them. I went over to the barn and found a nice warm pile of straw that I could curl up on for a while. It felt so good and soft compared to the beds I had been using up until then. I must have fallen asleep because when I woke up, it was dark outside. As I wandered out of the barn I glanced over at the house and saw the tree in the window with all the pretty lights on it and lights all around the outside of the house also. Most of the house appeared to be dark so I decided to take a closer look. As I gazed in the window, the family was around the fire talking. As the Mom glanced up, she looked directly into my eyes. I was so scared, but I couldn’t look away. I heard the Mom exclaim “Oh no” as she rose and dashed to the door.

I knew I had to hide, but there was nowhere I could go quick enough that she wouldn’t see me. As she came out the door, I heard her calling “Puppy, puppy, puppy. Please don’t be frightened” I wanted so badly to turn and run to her but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t trust her. She turned and went back into the house and I knew I had missed my chance. I slowly began to walk away and then I heard her come back outside. She had simply gone into the house to get a coat, because it was cold. As I watched her she sat down on the porch steps and began to talk to me.

“Here puppy. I won’t hurt you. We had a dog until this fall. She was a wonderful and loving girl, but she got sick and is now at the Rainbow Bridge. She was a Samoyed, just like you. We miss her very much and I know that she sent you to us to love. That is the kind of thing she would do. She always put us before herself and would not hesitate to send us the best Christmas present she could. Her name was Zanadu and we called her Zan. She loved this place and would romp and play all day long with my children. They have been very sad since she died. I am sure Zan has seen that and wants us to be happy again and to let us know that she is happy and watching over us. Please come meet me, I think you will like me.”

As I watched and listened, I felt the love that this lady was sending my way. I didn’t know why and I didn’t understand how, but I truly wanted to meet her. It sounded as if she were calling me every time she said Zan, it sounded so much like Sam. I slowly began to approach her and she sat very still and held her hand out. As I got close enough to sniff her hand she still held very still and waited for me to put my head under her hand before she began to pet me. As she told me what a beautiful girl I was she laughed a little and said “well, I know you will be once we can clean you up!” After we got to know each other a little, she asked if I would like to meet the rest of the family. She had in no way tried to restrain me, but was leaving it all up to me. She invited the rest of the family out to the porch and they all sat very quietly and waited for me to come introduce myself.

After a while they invited me into the house and by this time I went gladly. They took me to the kitchen and put down a pan of water for me and asked if I was hungry. They put down some food and like the polite dog I am, I sampled it very delicately before I dug in. I wanted very much, to make a good impression on this family now. I wanted them to like me and eventually love me. I wanted them to be my forever home. If they would have me I would do whatever they wanted. They all sat on the floor with me and let me come to each one of them for a pet and snuggle. They put a bed down for me in the kitchen but when they all went up to bed the Mom asked where I was used to sleeping and asked if I wanted to come upstairs. I went with her and woke up in the morning on the bed between Mom and Dad. Yes, that quickly, they are my Mom and Dad. They were still my Mom and Dad that day as they bathed me. As the days went on, I became a real part of the family and on Christmas day, I got a new collar and lots of toys.

As I look back on that Christmas one year ago, I realize how lucky I am. I am one of the ones that got a second chance with a loving family. I will always be grateful to Zan because she trained this family for me and I am now sure, guided me here. I feel like I was specially picked by her to be with her family and look forward to meeting her someday at the Rainbow Bridge where we will play and talk about “our” family. Of course my family never learned my first name but came up with a name I think is the best every. My name is Santy Claws.