• Barry KuKes

Talking about Pets: ''Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Animal Shelter'


Adapted from the Clement Clarke Moore poem

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

All creatures were stirring, even a mouse.

The dogs were singing carols on high,

As the cats and the rabbits let out a soft sigh.

The animals were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of family danced in their heads.

A pittie and rottie talked into the night,

praying to God for a future so bright.

And then there was Bishop, a 9-year old mix,

hoping and praying for a permanent fix,

For this Christmas would be his again times two,

here at the shelter with little to do.

Bishop had been homeless for over a year,

he didn’t like dogs that got too near.

His position on cats was no better it seemed,

thus stay in his kennel he would be deemed.

An hour before closing on this Christmas Eve,

a visiting couple were getting ready to leave.

But the man looked at Bishop and thought for a bit,

this sad little dog is ready to quit.

He said to his wife, “I think this is the one,”

she smiled and said, “But he looks to be done.”

But Bishop perked up and wagged his tail with glee,

And he looked in their eyes, and said please help me.

They took Bishop for a walk to see how he did,

as he pulled and ran on the grass he slid.

Onto his belly he laid on the ground,

the man petted his head and Bishop did sound.

A sigh of relief, but apprehension set in,

as the wife voiced doubt while holding his chin.

Bishop knew he just had to shine,

to win over the wife so he let out a whine.

She looked into his eyes and wiped a tear from his cheek,

and as he felt he had failed, she started to speak.

She said this poor dog needs a home today,

so let us adopt him and be on our way.

Bishop couldn’t believe what he had heard,

he kissed her face and pawed the man’s beard.

They hugged him back and petted his head,

as he cried with joy and tears he did shed.

A family would take him into their home,

never again would he be alone,

A carpet, a couch or maybe a bed,

he would sleep so soundly as he rested his head.

The staff at the shelter were happy and sad,

but Bishop would not miss the life that he had,

in a kennel alone and waiting for one,

a loving person to make him their son.

Finally it happened on this Christmas Eve,

as he jumped in their car and they started to leave.

But I heard him exclaim, as they came to a stop,

"Happy Christmas to all, and adopt, don’t shop!"


Barry KuKes is the community outreach director at Halifax Humane Society. He recently published a collection of his columns titled "Why do People Have Pets?" which is available at amzn.to/2RWr2d4

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