A Dog’s Prayer to Father Christmas by Karris Doyle, Aged 12

My name is Mr. West. I was born sometime in 2005 or perhaps it was 2006. I do not really know. What I do know is that in those days I used to have a loving family and a collar of my own with my name on it. I was told that I am a Pure Bred West Highland Terrier.

Then my life changed. I do not know why, but one day I was loved and the next was out in the cold with only my fur to keep me warm. I had no food and no bed. I walked round the streets for days. At night I slept, curled in a ball, anywhere I could find a little warmth or shelter. I lost weight, and got so skinny that my collar came off. Some people were nice to me, but a lot of them were just not interested, or even got cross when I asked for help. I remember a small child who gave me some of her lunch. I was so hungry that I snatched at it and the little child ran away crying. Another time a man tried to kick me. That time Iran away and I hid under a bush. I did not dare to move for a long time.

When I did venture out it was because a nice dog had come to say hello. Like me, she had no home and no collar. We stayed together for a long time. We went to the beach and splashed in the water. She showed me how to find food in the bins. We were always being chased by someone. It was not our fault that the bins made a noise, and some of the rubbish fell out. We were hungry, but nobody cared about that. They were upset because of the mess that we could not help making.

One night, we had found a shop doorway to shelter in. We settled down together, and my friend told me about a human called Father Christmas.

“If you are always good, he will do his best to get you what you really want,” she said. “The trouble is he is very difficult to find. He only comes once a year, on Christmas Day.”

Then we drifted off to sleep, cuddling up to each other to keep warm.

I was woken by the sound of my friend barking. She was being dragged off by a man who put her into a van. Then the man was coming back. I think he wanted to get me as well. I ran off as fast as I could, and did not stop until I could run no more. She had told me about the dog catcher. She had seen at lot of dogs caught and put into his van, never to be seen again. I was sad when I thought that she had now been caught herself. I hoped that she would be alright, but feared she might not be.

I hid under some bushes for the rest of the night. When I woke up, I carefully made my way back into the town. My stomach was hurting from hunger, and, whatever the risk of getting caught, I just had to find some bins and some food.

Life was like this for a long time. Living from paw to mouth, eating whatever there was, whenever and wherever I could find it, keeping an eye open all the time for any sign of the dog catcher. Finding places where I could sleep safely without being seen. That was what a dog’s life was like!

One day, I was walking through the town and I saw my friend. It was a great surprise. She was wearing a collar, and was with a young human. It made me very happy to see her again. I went over to talk to her. She quickly told me that when the dog catcher had taken her away he had checked to see if she had been chipped. She was. He had phoned her family, and they had come to take her home. It had been the answer to her prayers to Father Christmas, when she had asked him for her family to find her.


I stayed by her side for a while, but all too soon she had to go. Just as she was leaving, she told me to find Father Christmas and tell him what I really wanted.

Soon after that, the town seemed busier than usual. As I dodged through the legs of the people shopping, I could hear them saying that it was Christmas Eve. I started to search for Father Christmas. I was really desperate to find him. I ran all through the town looking, looking, looking. Along the streets, and even in the shops, until they chased me out.

There I heard the sound of children singing. That was unusual. I wondered what was going on. I found them in the big space in front of a tall building. The children were
gathered around a tree that had lots of little lights on it. In front of the tree, there was a fat man with a big white beard. He was dressed in red. I knew, I just knew, that I had found him. I had found Father Christmas. I sat and looked at him in wonder, and I prayed to him.

I used to have a happy family life. Now, I am on my own. I had people who loved me, a nice warm bed and a full tummy. I even had a collar with my name on. I don’t know if you can hear me, Father Christmas, but, if you can, please will you look after all the dogs in the world, and give them all families they can love. I know I have been naughty, eating out of the bins and snapping at the little girl, but I was very hungry and I didn’t mean any harm. You got my friend her family back, and saved her from the dog catcher. Can you do the same for me, Father Christmas?

“Please, if you can hear me! I don’t want to live like this, hungry, cold, alone, with no one to love. I want to live with my family again. If you can not get my first family, please can you find me another, so that I have someone to love again? I am only young dog,
Father Christmas, but surely you can help me? Please help!”

I wandered away from the children. They had stopped singing, and were going to their homes. I found a box and curled up in it. All night I stayed awake. My tummy was hurting again, and I was cold.

Suddenly, there was a child standing above me. She slowly bent down and gave me her hand to sniff. She patted me on the head, and then she said something that I had been waiting to hear for such a long time.

“Come along, little dog. You should not be out alone like this on Christmas Day!”

She picked me up and took me to a car. It was nice and warm in the car, and the car seat felt soft on my tummy. When the car stopped, she took me into a house. We went into a room with a big bath. She gave me a bath and then rubbed me with a big white towel until I was nearly dry. After that, I had my first brushing in a long time.

It was wonderful. I gave her big love licks, and she didn’t mind. She put some stuff on me that smelt a bit funny, but it stopped the itching on my skin which had been bothering me for so long. I was taken to the kitchen given the best dinner that I can ever remember.

If you are ever talking to Father Christmas, please tell him that, Mr. West says “Thank you for finding him his new family.”

Note: A while back, we were inKarris Doyletroduced to a young Irish girl named Karris Doyle. Karris lives with her Mum, two horses, two ponies and an assortment of furry and winged friends on a farm in County Waterford, Ireland. Karris is an avid horsewoman, but at the tender age of 12, she is also an imaginative and creative writer. We have invited Karris to be a guest author on our website. We want to thank Karris for permitting us to publish her work and look forward to it gracing our pages on many occasions. We hope you enjoyed this wonderful Christmas tale from the Emerald Isle. And we want to wish all our visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



  1. December 20th, 2007

    My congratulations to Karris on her story. It shows a deep understanding of a dog’s fears and hopes.

    On behalf of all Dogs I wish:

    Mr. West a long and happy life in his new home.
    Karris a long and successful career as a writer.
    All humans and Dogs a Happy Holiday, with Lots of Love, and Bountiful Bones.


  2. December 20th, 2007

    What a wonderful story, Karris. A very long time ago, when I was in grade school, I met Walter Farley, the author of the Black Stallion series which I loved. He read my horse story and told me to “keep writing”.

    Karris, “Keep writing” — you have a great gift.

    For all animals, a wish that they may have kind humans to care for, a safe and loving home for life.


  3. January 4th, 2008

    What a wonderful story. I love the fact that it is told from the animal’s point of view. Very creative. Please keep writing Karris, you have a gift.


  4. Rubi Andredakis
    March 17th, 2008

    This is an amazing story dear Karris. Keep on writing. You have a great talent and as far as I know you write wonderful poems too. Bravo and I wish you every best.
    Rubi-editor/Publisher of Creature Features -Cyprus

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