I never believed the concept that animals didn’t have thoughts, feelings, or emotions. And one Christmas Eve, my beloved lab-retriever mix, Sandy, showed me that I was right.
It was Christmas Eve and my family was having a wonderful time. We had dinner, lots of conversation, and then time to open gifts.
At the time, we had three pets – Sandy and our other dog Jack, and Magic, our black cat. Each pet received a gift on Christmas morning. This was how it had been since we first got Magic.
After Sandy came along, we included her in this tradition, of course. She caught on pretty quickly after her first Christmas with us. Jack still doesn’t get it but enjoys the excitement of the day.
This particular Christmas Eve was held in our new home, whereas past Christmas Eves were spent at my uncle’s house. So my parents, my in-laws, my brother and his family, as well as my husband and I with our three daughters had a lot of exchanging to do.
Since this was the year we started this new tradition of Christmas Eve at our house, I didn’t even think about Sandy. She had her gift, of course, but it was in our closet. This was when we didn’t put gifts under the tree until after the girls had gone to bed because they still believed in Santa.
All of the kids are excited about their new toys, happily playing and laughing.Then I noticed Sandy. She was desperately looking around. I realized she was waiting for her gift. Her tail was slightly wagging and her eyes were hopeful. But I had nothing for her to open (she actually tore open the wrapping when she received a present).
Jack didn’t care but Sandy was absolutely crushed. The sadness in her eyes was unbearable. Her tail drooped to the floor. Before that night, I had no idea a dog could actually be disappointed. She got a treat, but it wasn’t the same.
After that Christmas, I always made sure she had a present for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Her eyes lighting up when I pulled the wrapped package from underneath the tree brought me as much joy as watching my girls getting excited over Santa’s visit.
If I had held any reservations at all about animals and how they relate to us, that Christmas Eve dispelled those doubts and made me love and respect Sandy (and all animals) more deeply than before.
Need more heart-warming Christmas tales and stories? Check out these splendid offerings from the MockingOwl fam!