From our very own fantastic and inspirational Author Paula Shene, here is a special Christmas treat!
The K-9 Boys and Girls are a pack of rescued dogs that discuss serious problems but with the wry wit of the 7-12 year old.
THE MORE, THE MERRIER
A Christmas tale
Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street
“Front and center, Head Elves. We have a large dream to fulfill, and I will need you all, young and old alike, to keep your pointy ears open and be on your toes.”
“Santa... are you talking about Mandy The Alpha Dog? That is a big, big dream and I’m not sure we can do it all by Christmas Eve.”
“When have you ever failed me, Gunter? Surely, Master Gunny, you will not fail me... no, not this year, please. You need to get all your Merry Band of Artisans together and get them on the road. There are thousands, no hundreds of thousands and we have little time to waste.”
"I totally am on this, Dude... umm... Santa, but sometimes we need more help, like, say, miracles... something we usually leave to the Big Guy.” Seeing Santa’s eyebrow raised, he quickly says, “All right, all right. I won’t tell you, I can’t. I’m just saying this is going to be hard.”
As he turns to go, he hears Santa murmur, ‘Don’t I know it. It was easier making the toys march.’’
“Master Gunny? How are we going to change people’s hearts? Most think this type of present is too much bother... and then they throw it away,” Pariel Serago muses.
“Ours is not to do or... well... there just is no ‘or’ in our case. We will do this, Pariel. Tell your wife to be ready to go in ten minutes. I have the rest of the troops to round up. I will be in the last sleigh when we take off. I’ll be seeing to it so we have no stragglers. You will be the lead sleigh. See you at the stable in ten minutes. Oh, and bring your young ones.”
Gunter, or Master Gunny as everyone calls him, shoves his hands deeply into his pockets, pulls his hat down over his pointy ears, and with his head down, walks into the whirling snow.
The drifts look like swirls ... icing on a cake fit for a child’s birthday. Beautiful... a white Christmas for all the boys and girls. But, he thinks, better find my gloves and scarf before take off. It's beautiful but wow, it is cold!
Ten minutes later, he watches as the Serago family rush through the stable door. Pariel is prodding his two younger sons while his wife, Pinde holds onto Maro’s hand. The daughters are poking and shoving behind their parent's backs until Pinde turns and gives them her special Mama Elf stare.
“Okay line up. Fin! Isil! Maro! Luti! Lari! Twee! No more time for foolery. We’re in the head sleigh and I don’t want to catch any of you falling off. The team of reindeer picked may be second stringers, but they're swift in their strides and tomfoolery will send you tumbling!”
“Yes, Papa but who will pull our sleigh tonight?” the children sing out, in perfect harmony...
"Dear for deer, "Papa sings back, “My little dears may each pick a deer of their own.” The children run, elbowing and poking, towards the reindeer.
“I’ve got Morwa,” sings Fin, “Ha, ha,ha!”
“Holi is my pick,” trills Twee.
“Nappe!,” Isil holds the high C note on the ‘e’ until Papa bellows, “ PLEASE pick a pack of pullers peacefully! All this peeping and piping is p... p...”
"Positively un - pleasant?" offered Pinde.
"Preee - cisely! Papa patted her on the back. "Proceed, my dears."
“I have Reni,” twitters Luti.
"Mine is Rane,” chirps Lari.
“Latte” croons, Maro, as he leads her to the sleigh.
"Dear wife, will yours be Zindal?"
"Of course, Sweetheart. Just as yours will be Sari, his mate. These two shall lead the others." She scans the stable area where the reins are kept, but does not see them. "Isil Aen Serago, where are the reindeer leads with the bells? It was your responsibility to put them away."
"Oh,oh... be right back," Isil yells as he bolts out the door, running for home where he had thrown the leads under his bed for safekeeping, thinking, I'll put them away tomorrow. Then he had started reading that interesting story on 'Reindeer in their Natural Habitat' and completely forgot the leads under his bed. Good thing I'm the fastest runner on our track team 'cause Mama used my whole name. And when she does that, I know she's annoyed.
"Finally, they're all asleep. It'll be a couple of hours before we reach our first center for pickup. If there aren't too many to pick up, we could let them sleep for a bit longer."
"Are we going to take them all or only the ones with problems? You know some people only want the perfect ones, Pariel."
"I know, my sweet Pinde, but Mandy's dream is about the 'dinged' ones this year. Don't worry, there will be more than enough to go around. Unfortunately, there always is more than enough. Just relax, the reindeer know where they're going.
If you want to nap too, while the little ones are snoozing, here's your chance." But, Pinde stays awake as their sleigh weaves the winds in the ways of heaven, trailed... by hundreds of sleighs dotting the air between the sparkling night lights of the stars.
"Okay, everyone, wake up. We've got a load and half here to pick up and get back to Santa." As all his darlings rub their eyes, Pariel continues, "Now, kids, I want you to be quiet. Mama says you are like that sometimes, though I've yet to see it, so now it is time to show me, because our pickups will be scared and need you to be gentle. Noises will scare them. And another thing, these all have homes already so no, you can't keep them."
"Yes, Papa. We know how to touch gently and speak softly. We promise." said the children, very, very quietly.
Night after night, for a week, until Christmas Eve finally arrived - when they turn back to Santa with their last precious load, if you had looked just right, at just the right time, you might have seen that caring caravan crossing the quiet heavens.
Christmas has come early to some of the children expecting their gift. Each night, when the Serago family along with the hundreds of other Elfin families returned to the North Pole, they found Santa awaits them. He took each load and fit it into his magic sleigh. It looked just like any of the other transports the elves used, but its magic was that it could easily and comfortably fit everything inside - from the hundreds of regular sleighs that arrived! Hundreds... ... to their forever homes, well, forever!
Each one of these precious presents, pets that had been 'dinged' by carelessness, cruelty or simple neglect, loving animals that had been victims of hurt they never deserved, every one of them now got a second, a better, chance at finding, at having and keeping... love.
They were going to homes where the children wanted them and would love them, taking care to feed and play and walk and sometimes clean up after because they were, after all, dogs and cats and birds and rats and bunnies, hamsters and all sorts of pets that children love.
"Mandy, was that Santa I saw leaving?"
"Yes, Sophitia, it was. He stopped for cookies and milk and to tell me it took a week for my dream present to happen."
"Did you ask him again for forever homes for all the abused animals?"
"Yes, Shadow. This year took a lot more time and he told me a secret but I can share it with you all."
"Mandy, a secret is something you're not supposed to tell, otherwise, it's not a secret."
"I know that, Snooper. But this is a different kind of a secret. This is a secret that needs to be told. Black animals OR white animals have a really hard time being adopted. People like animals with lots of different colors but not those colors."
"Well, Mandy, that ain't true. It can't be true. I mean, well, I'm black and white, and everybody loves me."
"Because you're so modest, Shadow? I didn't say black AND white, I said black OR white. Santa said he kept a white cat and a black dog. Also, a lot of the Elfin families took in bunnies and hamsters and snakes and rats and Guinea Pigs, Salamanders, and Geckos and some dogs and cats, too."
"Did you happen to notice, Mandy, Santa left three dogs in the living room."
"Three!? That means, we're seven now."
"Wake up Mandy, wake up! Are you okay? You fainted. You've been wanting more pups in our pack so I told Santa. I thought you'd be pleased. It was my Christmas present to you. Are you happy?"
"It was just a bit of a shock, Snooper, but this does make it a MERRY CHRISTMAS for all. You better take me to them. It's time for them to meet their leader."
For the further adventures of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street, meet us at