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 A Story for the Holidays
by: Terry Minda, Denise Scarott and Margret Meier



Part I

by Terry Minda [Florida]

"Oh my, oh my, oh dear, oh dear, the holidays are almost here!  Ebby, we have to start preparing right away, first for Thanksgiving and then for Christmas. It's such a busy time for us here at the bridge!"

"Oh Holly, I don't know how to prepare for the holidays here at the bridge. I was with my family last Christmas, so I don't even know what to do!"

"Don't worry dear Ebby, I've been here for three years, Baldor has been here for four and Balin has been here for twelve years.  We will show you all the important tasks we must perform to make our people happy during this holiday season!  We will have a meeting this very night with Angel Bo, who is the "chief" gatekeeper at the bridge!

It's an exciting time , we talk about how we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas & Chanukah & other holidays with our families on earth (and had lots of good things to eat and presents too) and how wonderful it will be when they join us again here at the bridge.

We tell stories to the unfortunate Bouviers who never had anyone to love them on earth. How splendid it will be when all the rescue people come to the bridge and hold and kiss every Bouvier who NEVER had a human to love!  You will see, it will be a wonderful holiday and we will teach you how to let your family on earth know you are still thinking about them and you are still with them!"

" But how Holly-- how will they know that I'm still with them??"

"Never fear Ebby dear, we will teach you., we will teach you....."


Part II
by Denise Scarrott  [So Africa]

When night arrived, all the Bouvs were gathered at the meeting place. For Mazel, Abbey, Que and Hagar who had all left the same family at various times over the previous year, Hobo, Xarrick, Agnes, Brody, Dos, Gern, Wout, Rory and Lolly it was also their first Christmas away and they sat close to Ebby, eager to learn. Suddenly there was a hush and a large black Bouvier approached. He walked with a quiet confidence and although he was black, his coat seemed to have a special shimmer.

A whisper went around the gathered crowd. "It's Angel Bo!" As he approached he seemed to glance over his shoulder. He still sometimes looked for Ruff who had been his mentor when he was a puppy and who had taught him so much. Ruff had arrived 10 years before Bo but he had crossed over Rainbow bridge some years earlier when Elroy, who had been the one who had rescued him when he was lost and starving and had given him unqualified love and restored his dignity, had arrived at Rainbow Bridge after a plane crash.

"This is a very special time of year," said Bo. "It is a time of joy but also a time when we are missed just that little bit more and we need to let the people back on earth know that we are thinking of them and waiting to take them across the bridge. We all come from different places and backgrounds and each one has special memories. Maybe we can tell what special things will make our people back home remember us.

I come from a land where Christmas is hot and sunny. We used to spend it outdoors. On our verandah we had wind chimes and I always loved the soothing tune they used to play. I know that my people will know that I am there if, on a perfectly calm night when the stars feel close enough to touch and the air feels like velvet against your skin and every one is quietly thinking their own thoughts, the sound of the chimes gently drifts across the still air, the notes falling like blessings on the people whom I loved so dearly. That will tell them that I am thinking of them and waiting for the day we can be together again. The day when I will lead the way across the Rainbow Bridge and hand the reins of gatekeeper over to my successor. Maybe someone else would like to tell of their special things.

Part III
by Margret Meier [Florida]

Lehua had been guardian to Expresso and Lattee on earth. and had lived MANY lives! When Expresso, still a puppy, crossed- over the bridge unexpectedly, Lehua chased after him, knowing he needed her guidance! Then they were so lonely for little Lattee they called her to join them, not realizing how much pain it would cause their Mom till it was too late!

"We will have to do something REALLY special to dry her tears this holiday season!" Ebby said to her sister, Kiki. Do you have any ideas?"

"I think I know how ," said Expresso."

"HOW?" Lattee asked.

"Well-- I remember Mom watching a movie called "The Blue Bird of Happiness". There was a part that said, Ďwhen you think of someone you LOVE, they are alive again in your heartí so maybe if we ALL think about our families REAL hard and the good times we had together, they will pick up our thoughts in their hearts. I think I heard uprights are telepathic!!"

"Oh children, what a good idea," said the wise Lehua.

Lattee and Expresso were playing and the elders had to make them settle down, because it was time for the telling of the holiday stories! Angel Bo cleared his throat, everyone became silent and ALL eyes were focussed ONLY on him! It was sooooooo quiet, you could actually hear a pine needle drop in the forest!!!

"You may start, Retro," said Angel Bo, in his magnificent deep baritone voice!

"Who me, BUT, BUT, your eminence????"

"Yes, Y-O-U Retro."

"But, but, Angel Bo, Sir, I'm NOT a Bouvier................"

"B-E-G-I-N Retro," said the Angel. "We are all equals here".


Part IV
Denise Scarrott [So Africa]

"Well, this was a special time in our house. As Christmas day got closer we saw all sorts of secret looks being exchanged, strange coloured parcels were to be found in all odd places and everyone seemed to be somehow extra happy. It was a very special time. I can make my people know I am thinking of them by hiding the Christmas ribbon," said the mischievous Retro.

"Can anyone tell us the real story of Christmas?" asked Angel Bo.

"I can," said Agnes.

"Go on then. Tell us," chorused the group

"A long time ago, about 2000 years (or 14000 years in dog years) Godís son was born. His Mom, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, arrived in Bethlehem on a night when there was no place to stay. They were told they could sleep in the stable with the animals and there Baby Jesus was born. The sheep and donkeys, cattle and goats were also there because it was their place too and under the manger was a big black dog. So actually the animals were the first to see Him, even before the shepherds or the wise men who followed a special star to find Him."

"Yes," said Hobo. "That is why there is a star on the top of the Christmas tree, the only tree which we are not supposed to "water". I can let my people know I am thinking of them by making the star shimmer when the lights are dim".

"I loved this special time," said Brody. "There were presents and we were allowed to rip open the paper for ourselves. My brother, Zorro and I would enjoy the special attention. I hope he will have a nice Christmas and know that I am thinking of him and my family and that they will not be too sad because there is one less present under the tree. I can let them know I am thinking of them by letting them feel me standing on their feet."

"Yes!" chorused all the other Bouvs. "We can all do that.!"

"I want to tell you about Thanksgiving," said Lehua. "It is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings enjoyed by America and its people. The table was always filled with special foods and I can still smell the huge turkey which was the best . Everyone shared in the special day, humans and dogs and it was a very happy time when, often, the humans ate too much!! Maybe I can let my people know I am thinking about them by making the TV flicker while they are watching the big game they always watch on that day!"

"How about you, Hagar? Was this time special for you?"

"Well, I lived in a Jewish home and so we did not have Christmas. We celebrated Chanukah. This is a special time for Jews when the Holy Temple was re-dedicated a long time ago after it was destroyed by war and we light candles for eight days in a special candlestick called a Chanukah Menorah to celebrate a miracle when a little bit of oil that should have lasted only one day lasted for eight days until more oil could be brought. We didnít have fancy decorations or presents but it was a very special time. I can let my Mom know I am thinking of her by making the flame on the candle flicker when there is no draft."

"Speaking of decorations," said Baldor, "Where I lived it was very cold at Christmas time and it got dark early. It was so beautiful to see the lights which people put in their houses, all lit up like fairyland. The humans would wrap up warmly while we enjoyed the cold weather and we would drive around to look at just how everyone had made their homes special. The shops also looked lovely and kids would be making snowmen and one year even made a snow Bouv. Maybe we can let the people know we are thinking of them by making the lights blink unexpectedly".

And so, long into the night all the Bouviers and honorary Bouviers swapped stories of their special times, their special people back on earth and their ideas for making their presence felt on these most special of days and all vowed to think extra hard of their families, sending them a special message. The youngsters all fell asleep one by one, dreaming of the life they had had and feeling just a little sad. When they were all asleep, the seasoned Bouviers all crept quietly away to prepare the special treats which they had long been planning to make those experiencing their first Christmas at Rainbow Bridge kind of special, too.

Then someone noticed a small lonely figure hiding in the shadows.

"Come here, little one," said Angel Bo.

A tiny brown puppy crept closer. "I have come from your Mom, Angel Bo. She found me in the street outside your old house. I was cold and hungry. She and Cody took me in and even gave me a name, Bobby. They did not know that I hadn't had any of my injections and even though they gave me my jabs the day they found me, I already had distemper. For a week I was fine. Cody and I played and I was so happy. Then I became really ill. They all tried very hard to make me better but it was no good and when they realized that I was just too sick, they decided to end my suffering. It was wonderful to feel loved and safe, even for such a short while. They told me to come and find you., that you would look after me and to tell you that they still love and miss you and now that I have met you and the others here, I know that I am safe again."

Part V
by Terry Minda [Florida]

With this tiny gift from home, reminiscing about the kindness of his earthly family, Angel Bo began to weep! The tears fell to earth, burst into snow flakes --- even in the strangest places like a place called "California". All the families who were grieving for a lost companion, were awed by the sight, and felt a feeling of warmth and love, and they KNEW their beloved Bouvier was with them again at this special time of year!

They seemed to feel the "inexplicable" urge (even those who vowed never to go through the pain of loosing a dear beloved Bouvier again) to open their hearts to another homeless Bouvier. It was a TRUE miracle! 

Bo grinned, this is the best gift of all -- honoring us all at the bridge -- loving us "so much", that our families are willing to share their special love for us with another Bouvier! Ah yes, Bo sighed, and they thought it was all their idea.... Don't they KNOW Bouviers are "forever!"......

And many homeless Bouviers, and their other little canine friends found wonderful forever homes, but that is a story for next year! < g >

Happy Holidays, and may all our holiday dreams come true, and all Bouviers live happily ever after....!

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