by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.
In the darkness around them, the animals were starting to stare,
In the manger before them, something very different lay there.
They were tired and hungry, having worked hard all day,
Dinner for them, meant just a few mouthfuls of sweet hay.
Baah, baah, bleated Sheep, a wee bit angered and disgusted,
Until now, our shepherds, for food, could always be trusted.
Now all they wish, it seems, is to listen to angels singing,
While down in our stomachs, dinner bells are loudly ringing.
You should complain, brayed Donkey, not in any way meekly,
So hard I’ve worked today, even my feet lift most weakly.
Without rest and something I can quickly find to consume,
My aches and my pains will surely lead to my doom.
Now wait just a minute, interrupted the mooing of brown Cow,
Of all you complainers, I’m the worst off and I’ll tell you how.
I had finished giving milk today, indeed all that I had,
Then they asked me to give more, for this crying young lad.
Hrumph, grumped Camel, in an accent definitely from afar,
You’ve not walked across deserts, following some stupid star,
A blazing sun above and hot sand below, with nothing to drink.
This journey to nowhere, has brought us to the brink.
Well, suffice it is to say they were an unhappy, grumbling bunch,
Selfish, dissatisfied, perhaps violent, if ever it came to a crunch.
Was there nothing could be said, nothing to calm this unruly court,
Yes, just in time, spoke two creatures, usually not in this report.
A Dog and a Cat, rose from the spot where nearby they were laying,
And this said to the group spitting, bleating, mooing and braying,
You must understand with these humans we have been living
Much longer than you and therefore, this advice we are giving.
In silence, step up and at the babe in the manger, peacefully, have a look.
Despite their bad feelings, a few steps forward, the animals took.
And there, wrapped in ragged blankets, an infant lying on the hay,
Looked up at them, smiled radiantly, and melted their hearts away.
Even though so young and exceedingly small, they all could tell
That lying there before them was a friend and this they knew well.
Suddenly things were so different, they all quickly came to their senses.
Forgiveness, kind words and good deeds, soon mend broken fences.
Now sharing, with no grouching or complaining, a fine trend had come into play,
And for this we should be thankful, to all the fine animals on that first Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Pets and their People.
Barry Burtis is a local companion animal veterinarian. Past Pet Tales can be found www.baycitiesanimalhospital.ca