By Jean Nave 

A Scottie's Christmas Story


Last updated 12/5/2023 at 10:51am

In 2011 my husband and I helped Aberdeen Scottish Terrier Rescue, an Oregon-based rescue group.

One day we were sent to Eugene to pick up two Scottie puppies. They had lived in a small cage, never getting out.

Scared and underweight, they came home with us. One pup quickly went to Washington. We kept the other, naming him Bernie. Initially he was terrified of stepping outside. But soon he discovered the wonders of the world.

Bernie's fears created challenges. Below is his story.

Bernie's First Christmas

"Arf, arf," said Bernie to the robin as it slipped just out of his reach.

Bernie, a young, black Scottish terrier, spent the first six months of his life in a small cage. He never saw the sun or heard a bird sing.

Then he was rescued! In his new home with two other rescued Scotties, Bernie learned about blue skies, bright sunshine, and many wondrous things.

He saw that his new brother and sister Scotties, Harry and Lola, were very happy.

"How can you sit there?" he asked Harry. "There are so many squirrels and birds to chase."

"I used to chase birds," said Harry, "but they simply fly away."

Bernie thought Harry was silly. "Let's dig," Bernie said. And off he went to dig a big hole.

One day Bernie's new mommy hung three fancy stockings on the fireplace mantel.

"What's that?" Bernie asked Lola.

"It's almost Christmas," said Lola. "Those stockings mean that good dogs get a lot of special toys and treats on Christmas morning."

"Good dogs?" asked Bernie. "What does it take to be a good dog?"

"That's easy," said Lola. "Just don't do things that get you in trouble."

Bernie stopped and thought. "Have I been a good dog? Has Mommy scolded me too many times?"

This was important. He had to think about this.

Bernie thought about Smoki, the cat. He loved Smoki. It was fun chasing him up a tree or making him race for the fence. But Mommy would yell, "Bernie! Stop! Don't you hurt that cat!"

Would Mommy remember how many times he chased Smoki? Would that keep him from getting treats at Christmas?

Bernie slipped outside to think some more. In the yard he saw that pesky gray squirrel he loved to chase. After the squirrel ran up the tree, Bernie would stand there and bark. Soon Mommy would come out and tell him to stop barking.

But Bernie loved to bark. Chasing the squirrel up a tree and barking at it was fun!

Would Mommy remember how many times he'd barked at the squirrel? Would that keep him from getting treats and toys?

That night, Bernie quickly finished his dinner. Harry was still eating. Bernie rushed to Harry's bowl, shoving him aside.

"Oops!" Bernie thought, and he backed away.

How many times had Mommy scolded Bernie for stealing Harry's dinner? But Bernie was always hungry for more! Why couldn't he have Harry's food?

"That is selfish," Mommy would say. "You should be nice to Harry."

Would Mommy remember how many times Bernie had eaten the last of Harry's dinner?

After dinner Daddy always gave the Scotties twisted pork chews that were yummy. Bernie quickly ate his chew and lurked behind Lola, trying to steal her chew.

"Oops, again!" Bernie thought. How many times had he taken Lola's chew and then been scolded?

Would Mommy remember?

"This is looking bad," thought Bernie.

The "Bad Dog" list was getting long. Bernie headed to a favorite place, Mommy's closet. Then he saw the slippers he had chewed.

Mommy really scolded him for that.

Now Bernie got really afraid. He knew Mommy would remember the slippers. Maybe he could hide them under the bed.

Was he going to have any Christmas goodies at all?

Bernie could hardly sleep. He kept thinking about Christmas. Would he get any of the good stuff?

Bernie thought, "I wanna do what I wanna do. But I wanna be a good boy too!"

Then Bernie ran out to the backyard. As he sat outside looking around, he saw the spot where Mommy's herb garden had been. "Oh no!" thought Bernie, remembering the day Mommy cried.

Digging is a Scottie's favorite activity.

Soon after Bernie came to live with his new family he found himself in the middle of wonderful smells and soft dirt. He was sure a critter was in the dirt. Dig, dig, dig. In no time he had a huge hole. "Look at what I've made," he proudly thought. "A hole ten times bigger than me!"

Then Mommy came outside. One look and she screamed. It was fall and her herb garden was ready to harvest. Every year she'd dry herbs and use them to make delicious dinners. But Bernie didn't know that. The stuff just looked like weeds to him.

Mommy didn't even look at Bernie. She just sat down and cried. Then she worked to save a few herbs. She never said anything to Bernie. But he knew he'd been a bad dog.

And now he knew there wasn't going to be a Christmas for Bernie.

Bernie didn't want to hear any more about Christmas. He loved his new home. He'd still get his pork chew every night. He'd still get to play outside and feel the wonderful sun on his back.

"Forget Christmas!" he thought. "I don't need anything more. I'll just sit and watch Harry and Lola get their treats. Maybe Harry will share with me."

On Christmas morning Harry and Lola were excited. Nothing in the world was more important to Lola than treats.

"Why are you so quiet this morning?" Mommy asked Bernie.

"Do you think there is something wrong with him?" she asked Daddy.

"This will cheer him up," Daddy said as he brought down a stocking with Bernie's name on it. It was filled with toys wrapped in Christmas paper, and oh, the smell of special treats!

Bernie didn't know what to do first, tear open a present or eat a treat. How did he get so lucky?

Mommy looked at Daddy and they both looked at their new Scottie.

Mommy said, "I know he's been a little rascal. But he has a wonderful heart. Christmas is about love, and we love all our Scotties."

As the Scotties enjoyed their Christmas presents, Mommy looked at her stocking feet and asked Daddy, "Have you seen my slippers this morning?"


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