'Twas a Different Night: Christmas Homes for Every Homeless Pet

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
All the creatures were stirring, including the mouse
And the dogs big and little, the dogs strong and weak
The fish in their fish tank, the bright parakeet

The cats with the short hair, the cats with the long
The bunnies, hamsters, canaries singing their songs
Even geckos and boas, all came to the room
Knowing St. Nick was expected quite soon.

They nibbled the cookies, set out with great care
Careful to avoid getting milk in their hair
And gobbled up carrots left for reindeer.
They ate all the goodies, without caution or fear

For they knew they'd been good, both this year and last
And felt quite deserving of this late night repast.
Then they stretched on the carpet, and lounged on the couch,
"He's late," they complained, "that lazy old slouch!"

They had a proposal, a proposition to place
Before Santa Claus, and face to face
They wanted to meet him and exchange an idea
That did not seem outlandish, peculiar or weird.

But as the night lasted, as the candles burned down
They all grew exhausted, their smiles drawn to frowns
Until sleep took the creatures, both great and small
Except for one kitten posed prettily by the wall.

She'd napped most the day and was now fully alert
('Though covered with schmutz, some dark chimney dirt)
And too excited to sleep, she waited for Nick
To present their proposal, that big bone to pick.

She finally saw him, black boots from the flue
White beard, big tummy: jolly you-know-old-who.
And charmed by her manner, her sweetness and grace
Santa lifted this kitten up high to his face

He ho-ho'd quite gently, and asked soft as he could
Had she been naughty or had she been good.
To which she responded "Let's skip the ask!
Listen up, big fellow, I put you to the task

"The rest of the animals have fallen asleep
So this vigil is now mine alone to keep.
We've thought out this plan and now ask you a favor,
A change to your flight plan, one we hope you might savor.

"Instead of the trinkets, bright baubles and toys,
Deliver us, dear Santa, to good girls and boys.
There are millions of us homeless, in shelters we sit.
Use Christmas magic. In your red sack we'll fit.

"Then it's off to Chicago, L.A., New York City,
(Personally, I'm hoping for a trip to Tahiti!)
London, Paris, San Francisco, Rome --
Bring us to families wherever you roam."

Santa was touched by this most wondrous plan
But some things, he knew, where out of his hands:
The answer to the crisis in pet homelessness
Requires a change in human consciousness.

So he and that kitten now face us and plead
Please value these lives. It's the coming year's need.
Respect them and love them, treat them like treasure
They'll return those sweet gifts many times beyond measure.

And in some Christmas future, a true holiday
Every companion animal has a person for play,
And to love them, yes, and to honestly care:
Then true Christmas for all, for all a family to share.