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In the introduction to “Your Story” …
Hi! Remember me?
Last year, the most amazing thing happened to me.
I lived almost all of my life in a department store, and every Christmas, I would be brought out of storage and put in a window as part of a display.
But that all changed when I wasn’t needed anymore. I was put back into the dark storage room.
Looking out a window, I saw a twinkling light in the sky, and I wished I didn’t have to be locked away in that room.
Then, I wagged my tail.
From there, a whole new adventure began.
That’s how I found my forever home with David and his mother, Christy.
Every day with David has been so much fun.
Recently, I heard Christy on the phone telling someone that with the holiday season approaching, she thought I might be able to spread Christmas cheer to those in need.
“I’ve seen what he’s done for David and me, so maybe he could do the same for others,” she said.
When Christy got off of the phone, she turned to me and with a smile said, “Buddy, how would you like to …”
“… become a therapy dog?”
Christy told David that she had just been talking with someone from the local hospital.
It seems that they had heard about Buddy over the past year and the positive effect he had on his new family.
The hospital’s pediatric section always seems to be full these days, and the holidays are an especially rough time for kids to be away from home.
The hospital administrator explained to Christy that recent studies were done on the positive physical and mental health effects and quicker recovery times for kids when a therapy animal pays a visit.
Christy began to do some research about the requirements of therapy dogs.
I met many new and wonderful people at my training sessions.
I passed my schooling with flying colors, of course.
I received my certificate and got a special jacket with a name on it, which I wore with pride.
The next day, I had an unfortunate accident.
While I was out playing in the yard with David, I slipped while I was running and injured my leg.
At the veterinarian, the doctor examined my leg and brought me back into the room where Christy and David were waiting.
The good news was that it was just a sprain.
The doctor wrapped a bandage around my leg and told my family that I would just need to take it easy for a few weeks.
Christy checked with the vet and I was cleared to keep my scheduled visit.
The day arrived, and I hobbled into the hospital with my bandaged leg.
The kids loved me, and it was amazing to see the smiles on their faces and have them gush over me.
A little girl who had her leg in a cast pointed at my bandaged leg, grinned, and said …
“Hey, we are cast buddies,” the little girl said, as she pointed to her leg to show that her cast and my bandage matched, although they really didn’t.
She reached down to scratch my head, and I realized that her arm also was in a cast.
“You are so cute,” she squealed, and I really wished that I could hop up into her lap for more attention, but then the nurse told her, “Jenny, say goodbye to Buddy. He will come back some other time to visit. You need to get your rest.”
As I sat by the door waiting for my next patient, I overheard the doctor talking to Christy.
They were whispering about Jenny, and I heard the nice lady doctor tell Christy that she had a long road to recovery. She was in a bad car accident, and she got the worst of it.
All of the kids became happy when I came into the room, so that was good. And the adults kept saying that they were so overjoyed that I brought so many smiles to the kids, so that seemed good, too.
But I wanted to help Jenny more and I did not know how.
I was having a lot of fun as a therapy dog, with my cool coat and patch, bringing all of the kids lots of smiles as they lay in their hospital beds, waiting for healing and the chance to go home.
But as I went from room to room, I could not help but think about Jenny and what she had to look forward to.
It has been almost a year since I became me, and …
Wait, the star. I wished on that star and I became real.
The magic twinkling star was it.
The star that helped me could help Jenny, too.
I began to bark loudly, and pulled David to the door like I had to go out to do my business. I needed to see that star.
As we broke through the door, I immediately looked up for the star.
I needed to see that star and make a wish for Jenny.
But the star was not there.
In fact, there were no stars, only clouds – dark, puffy clouds – and it was cold.
I was not going to be able to help Jenny at all, but then …
I looked up at the cloudy sky and began to bark, hoping to coax the wishing star out from behind the clouds, but it did not appear.
I perked up and wagged my tail for David’s sake, and we finished our visit.
But I knew if I wanted to help Jenny, I needed to learn more about the Christmas star.
For many nights after that, I looked for the star. Sometimes it would snow and I could barely get a glimpse of the stars between the falling flakes. Other evenings were crisp and clear, but there was no sign of the star on which I had wished.
Meanwhile, Jenny and I grew closer as the days went on.
One day as we made our regular visit to the hospital, there were signs all around of pictures with Santa.
I knew all about Santa from my time at the department store. I thought that maybe Santa might know more about the Christmas star.
To my surprise, when he came, he had a dog with him.
I yipped a hello and led them to Jenny so she could get her wishes heard first.
“I wish I could go home with Mom and Dad,” she said.
“The doctors and nurses here are working hard to make that happen,” he said.
He asked Jenny what else she might want for Christmas, and she replied, “Books with happy endings.”
I tried barking my question to Santa, but he didn’t seem to understand. I thought Santa would be full of magic and that he would understand me, so I was confused.
I yipped to his canine companion, “What about a wish on the Christmas star? Doesn’t Santa know about the Christmas star? I’m Buddy, by the way.”
“I’m Rags,” the other dog answered, “and the real Santa might know. My master Bob is one of his many helpers who brings joy to children throughout the season, helping find out what they would like for Christmas.”
“So how do I contact the real Santa?” I asked. …
By Charlie Moyer
“Surely you realize that we have to be very careful with that information,” Rags said. “Tell me what you want, and I can pass that on to my master. He evaluates the purpose of the request and decides if it is worthy of consideration. You must know that there are many requests for special favors. Santa is a very busy person this time of the year.”
I explained to Rags that I didn’t have any special requests for myself, or even for David and Christy. We were doing pretty good.
I remember life before I was adopted. I spent 11 months of the year in a closet. There is a lot for which I am thankful.
My concern was for Jenny. She had been in the hospital for some time and was slowly healing.
Christmas was a few weeks away, and I wanted her to have the cast off her leg and to be home with her family to enjoy all the festivities related to that special day.
I explained that if I could find that magic star that changed my life, I believed that I could make sure that Jenny would get her Christmas wish.
Rags promised to convey that to “his” Santa, but he cautioned that granting all wishes is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Still, he said, asking could do no harm.
I decided that the request for “books with a happy ending” could wait for another day.
David and Christy made rounds with me to the various rooms, visiting the children.
Listening to their health problems and trying to boost their morale, even a little, changed the mood in those rooms. I knew that I was good medicine for the kids. I also knew that I was just as much the beneficiary of all the visits as anyone; seeing expressions change in an instant was a reward I enjoyed.
Most of these days when we are making our visits, the time rushes by.
I have noticed that since I have been so concerned about Jenny, time has slowed down, especially after I leave her room.
Where is that star?
Leaving the hospital and going to the car was getting more and more routine, just as the drive home seemed to take longer. Arriving at the house, we entered the living room, where David and Christy hung up their coats.
I strolled over to my special rug and curled up, deciding I needed a rest. I did take a quick glance at the Christmas tree to be sure that all was in order.
Christy turned on the lights – and there it was. Right in front of me was a beautiful tree with a star on top. How did I not see that star?
Had Rags’ master got to the real Santa with my appeal?
With so much going through my head, I was getting dizzy. I settled down, and in my thoughts, I wished for Jenny’s quick recovery.
I could hardly wait for tomorrow’s visit, hoping we would find a change for the better in Jenny’s condition.
I just knew seeing that star and making that wish turned everything around.
In the hospital, I headed straight for Jenny’s room.
David tried to get me into the room at the end of the hall where we always started, but I would have none of it. I was going straight to her room.
What a surprise I got. …