There are real holidays for dogs. Although, National Mutt Day has passed for this year (December 2nd), I decided to have a little fun with giving it recognition with the poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” using the story of Saint Roch.
Saint Roch was born the only child of a wealthy French nobleman around the 14th century. He had a red birthmark in the shape of a cross on his chest. After the deaths of his mother and father at the age of 20, he renounced his nobility and gave his inheritance to the poor. He eventually contracted the plague, and, not wanting to infect others, he set off into the forest to die.
While he lay dying, a hunting dog belonging to a count found him and began to care for him. Roch believed the dog was a gift from God. The dog would bring him bread every day and lick his wounds until he made a full recovery. The count, who later discovered what his dog was doing, befriended Roch and let him keep the dog.
‘Twas the night before Mutt Day, all through our dog house,
Snow was on rooftop; we’d nary a douse.
Dog stockings were hung on our roof’s eaves with care,
In hopes that Saint Roch soon would be there.
My sisters were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of dog biscuits danced in their heads.
Mama in her Auburn collar and I was, too,
Had settled our brains for a dreamy short snooze.
When outside our door there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
The doghouse’s front door was open and cold,
Yet, I stood like a sentinel at that threshold.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes did I see?
Saint Roch, saint of all dogs and more baby puppies!
“Now Daschunds! Dalmations! And Goldendoodles!
Terriers! Pugs! and all of you Poodles!
Boxers! And Hounds! All mixed breeds and more!
It’s your day to celebrate and your turn to soar!”
Saint Roch’s story is one to behold,
Since representing all dogs, it’s one to enfold.
And pass on to all breeds and all mutts alike,
To tell of his heart and his courage that night.
This might be the story of how dogs became,
Man’s best friend or at least some could claim.
A nobleman found himself alone in the woods,
Lost on his journey, hardships he withstood.
While alone in the woods, he soon became ill,
A dog soon appeared with some magical skill.
Because of this dog to whom “I now cherish,
I was taken care of and I did not perish.
This dog saved my life while I was alone
Supplied me with bread, licked wounds that were shown
Which healed me and gave me a brand new desire,
To look after dogs is what I then aspired.”
Born to nobility, tried to help others
He gave away all, to the dogs and their lovers.
So letting you know that “Tomorrow’s your day,
National Mutt Day, so go celebrate!”
And with that pronouncement he sped fast away,
We all in amazement were caught in a daze.
Saint Roch had just visited our little home,
We’ll not soon forget we’ve a day of our own.