Afraid of Santa

December 20th, 2009

My dog Buddy and I were out for a walk

When he came across, next to the sidewalk

A big plastic Santa about four feet tall

Wishing “Merry Christmas” to one and all.

    I didn’t give it a second thought,

But when Buddy saw it, be became distraught.

He started barking and growling in fear,

And refused to walk past (the Santa was too near).

    He kept on barking, raising such a constant din;

Anyone listening would assume he had good reason.

After all, dogs don’t just bark without justification,

It’s just that sometimes what they fear is in their imagination.

    Ours sometimes even barks at his own reflection

From which he thinks we need protection.

He barks when someone walks by the house outside,

And sometimes we never know what cause his imagination supplied.

    We’re trying to teach him to calm down and not bark all the time;

After all, what good are constant warnings without reason or rhyme.

We do want him to bark if there’s real danger,

But not just at every passing stranger.

    So whenever he barks, I talk softly and pet his head

To get him to understand that there’s nothing to dread.

Every time he barks, that’s what I do,

And he doesn’t bark nearly as often as he used to.

    But this time, I just couldn’t get him to calm down—

We had to cross the street and go around.

On the walk back, I knew we’d see Santa again,

And I wasn’t sure what, Buddy would do then.

    Sure enough, 15” later on our return,

As soon as he the Santa’s outline could discern,

Buddy started growling his deep, low growl.

I thought it wouldn’t be long until he started to howl.

     I petted and comforted him and tried to make clear

That the Santa wasn’t something that he had to fear.

I didn’t want to just drag him by by force:

I wanted to address the problem at its source.

     So I went up and touched the plastic Santa on his head

As I more comforting things to my dog said.

Eventually, he figured out that the Santa wasn’t a threat

And began his erstwhile fear to forget.

     He eventually got up the nerve to come closer and sniff,

Tentatively at first, but then close enough to get a good whiff.

He gave that Santa a thorough examination

And understood that it wasn’t a reason for consternation.

     We humans too are afraid of things that are new,

And when we come across them make a similar hullabaloo.

We’re afraid of things we don’t understand

Or when things don’t happen exactly as planned.

     Fear can keep us from moving forward,

And sometimes make us do things untoward.

But if we take the time to honestly investigate,

The resulting knowledge can our fears often negate.

     So Republicans, stop your growling

And take an honest whiff of the bill about which you’re howling.

Dems, let’s try to do a better job to explain

And convince the people who unconvinced remain.

     And fellow citizens, don’t be afraid of change:

Sometimes Santa brings gifts that at first seem strange.

But after you think about it, you might concede

That present was one that we really need.

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