"There's no place like home for the Holidays" is one Christmas song that always brings tears to my eyes. There have been more than a few Christmases spent far from home - the years I was in Alaska, Sure I threw some decorations on a tree, wrapped some presents and put some Christmas music on the turntable. It looked like Christmas, it sounded like Christmas,the roasting turkey smelled like Christmas - but without the people and pets I loved it did not feel like Christmas. On Christmas morning I would phone home, and if the lines were not totally clogged with other callers I would chat cheerfully with Mom and Dad, masking my loneliness with some amusing tales from life as a frontier nurse. Before long, my Dad would call out "Smokey, come say hi to Shiela!". As soon as he heard my voice the dog would start a chorus of silly barks. I could picture his little black body wriggling with excitement - Smokey, the stray dog my father rescued when I was ten. He was the constant companion of my childhood.
That was a lifetime ago. Smokey is a distant memory, but whenever I hear that song I recall how the little dog my father saved from certain death influenced my attitude to abandoned pets. We all need a Home for the holidays and beyond.