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Regino L Gonzales, Jr.

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Silent Samaritans: Punchy's Christmas Wish
By Regino L Gonzales, Jr.
Monday, November 26, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Regino L Gonzales, Jr.
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A story of compassion, a disabled stray dog's struggle to find a home and his simple wish for Christmas.

The day was hot and humid, I was tired and hungry and the pain in my mangled leg was becoming unbearable. I found a spot by the side of a small road to rest and let pass the pain on my useless leg and the craving for food in my empty stomach. The combined effects of exhaustion, pain and hunger will prelude a liberating moment - a dreamful sleep.

I and my four siblings were born in a small enclosed space underneath a cluster of high towers where humans lived. My early life was not so bad. Mother was sturdy and healthy and her breasts never ran out of milk for us siblings to suckle. Morning sunshine seeps into our small abode during the day and we were protected from rain by a canopy of roofs and solid walls.

I must have looked good when I was young because small children always come to visit me in my little space to give me food and cuddle me. It was a good life then. My siblings and I lived our early days in the care of little children during the day and of mother during the night.

Guided by their faith and devoted teachers, the humans in our neighborhood and in our land share a common respect for all living creatures. The little children and their elders are compassionate to our kind. Mothers of little children prepare food in the morning to be offered in worship to the holy men who pass by their homes and they did not admonish their kids from playing with us. I even heard from our itinerant buddies that when we run out of welcome in our present space, there is a temple where we can take refuge and be fed by pious men in orange garbs.

We were a family of stray dogs and our days were full of longing for a permanent keeper. Mother has lived her whole life moving from one abode to another, staying longer in a place where food is easy to come by then moving to another when it becomes scarce. I was lucky to have been born in the place where mother stayed long enough for me to learn to fend for myself.

Over time, my siblings moved to another place. Mother was the last one to go, leaving me alone in our abode. I stayed because of my children friends. For many moons, I played with them when they wake up in the morning and before the sun sets, after which they were usually fetched by their mothers to dine. They would normally bring me food after their meals then go back to their respective homes to retire.

When alone by myself, I passed time watching non-life objects steered by humans rolling along the roadway. I enjoyed chasing them and at times blocking one on their path forcing the human who steer it to halt its roll. I enjoyed the game and played it to the extreme. Until one night!

It was dark and I was napping in the middle of the road when a speeding roller came. The human who steered it was so tired and dazed that he failed to stop it before I could move away from its path. Its wheel ran over one of my legs. As it was already dark, no human was around to help me. My children friends were already asleep. I could only cry in pain the whole night.

I was brought to the healer by two women. The healer inspected my injured leg, shook his head and spoke to them softly. “The leg bones have been shattered…there’s not much I can do to mend them. I can cure the wounds but his mangled leg will remain useless. The poor thing will have to learn to walk on three limbs.” Sadness did befall on the women. After the treatment, they lifted me gently and deposited me in another protected space that became my new abode.

My children friends kept coming still but I could no longer play with them and provide them with the usual delight that they used to draw from my antics. With very limited capability to move, I became a total dependent on my sustenance from the kind people in the neighborhood. Desperation at my state transformed my once active life into one of simple hope for a merciful end. It was in that state that I began seriously pondering about the Divine One and His Messengers.

In my despair, I spent my days in communion with the Divine One pleading to be granted a painless passing or keeper who understands my state. The One must have heard my pleas as he sent his Messengers to me… in my dreams.

I met the Great Maiden from the North, who built a healing place for our big cousin, the elephant. Her heart was so pure that, when still a child, she cried when she saw an elephant wounded by a fast roller and pleaded to her father that the gentle creature be brought to a healing house. When her father told her that there is still no such house in the land, she devoted her life to building one.

…The Grand Dame from the Metropolis with a heart of gold. The Dame has built a sanctuary for our smaller cousins, the felines. Under her special care are blind felines that she rescued from certain death in dangerous areas in the metropolis.

…The Smiling Leader of the Metropolis who put up a sanctuary in the west for stray canines all over the land. Thousands of fellow strays have lived a contented life in the sanctuary.

…The Wise Monarch of the Land who wrote a book suggesting that the homeless among our kind can be trained and employed to do tasks that could not be done by humans. Promptly following the monarch’s suggestion, hundreds of canine strays were trained by his lords and employed to sniff bad drugs carried by evil men.

I have met countless more Messengers in my dreams. I would have preferred to stay in that world had my physical body allowed.

I was awakened by the clinking sound on the ground and my blurry eyes saw the silhouette of an aging man kneeling by my side. I struggled to rise then noticed a metallic bowl full of fresh milk laid before me.

In his sunset years, the man lived alone. Many times I saw him pass by my favorite resting spot. Sometimes he did look my way but more often he just proceeded with his walk unmindful of the small events that unfold over his path. My keen sense discerned compassion and sadness in his heart.

I learned from my acquaintances living on the other side of the big road that he once tried unsuccessfully to prevent many of our kind and our small feline cousins from being ejected from their place of birth in the compound of a great school where he once taught. But the law of the school prevailed- humans first before animals.

Some of the colleagues he had argued with in his time so believed more in the pursuit human knowledge before compassion of the animal kind. They were more in number and he lost. He argued that animals were also creations of the Divine One. They countered that a solution could be found from better human knowledge and the present ones living could be sacrificed in favor of a better solution for future generations of their kind. He lost again, from the sheer numbers of his antagonists. He argued that, like humans, the animals need food too and there is a lot to spare in the campus. They countered that food could be found elsewhere and the children of the elite knowledge seekers should not face the risk of the presence of stray animals in the campus. He lost again and again.

Upon retirement, the man left the campus defeated… but his resolve remained. “Compassion for all living creatures must come alongside with the pursuit of human knowledge”, he promised himself. .

The Man regularly fed me since the first time he brought me a bowl of milk. A kind storekeeper and her child sometimes helped him prepare food for me. My sense told me that he was trying to find me a permanent home and keeper. Deep in my heart, I know that he could have taken me to his room in the higher part of the tower if only our kind is allowed to live there.

He had also given me a new name- Punchy. I guess he must have picked up the name from a fist fighter, a man of compassion I once saw on a small moving glass. The fighter’s canine pet looked like me except that he still can run on four legs.

It has become part of my routine to wait for the Man every morning and struggle with my three legs to walk him to the point where he boards a rolling object. Along our way is a pack of our kind. They all have menacing looks and all very healthy. I always made it point to wag my tail in friendship and avoid looking into their eyes whenever they meet me.

I found contentment in doing the simple task of giving company to the Man every time he leaves. It never occurred to me that the Divine One had something better in store for me.

One day, while going back after giving company to the Man, I was met by the pack with friendly smiles on their faces. They gestured and lead me to a bowl full of delicious food placed at the door of a store tended by a young lady. I was scared at first until I noticed that the lady’s face resembled that of the Great Maiden from the North who came to my dream.

I ate the delicious meal with gusto surrounded by the members of the pack whose once menacing growls were now replaced by friendly smiles. The pack’s alpha particularly showed uncommon concern when he licked my injured leg. In the evening, when the lady tender closed the store and gestured me to come inside, I knew I was really home!

The twelfth moon is coming as the winds have been getting chillier. The birth of the Son of the Divine One will soon be celebrated with good tidings. In my new home, I am devoting my days showing loyalty and gratitude to my keeper and to my buddies. I am also communing with the Divine One to grant my simple wish…

To meet the Man who led me Home and, in my canine way, greet him a Merry Christmas.


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Reviewed by M. Rafferty 1/5/2008
A touching story. It spoke of warmth and courage. We only have to look in the soulful eyes of man's best friend and we will know the true meaning of loyalty. I enjoyed this piece.

Reviewed by Marigold Johnson 12/12/2007
A very touching story, Regino. Filled with warmth and understanding of the many plights of animals and humans alike. You have an exceptional compassionate heart. Gratifying read indeed. Keep on.

In Christ,
Reviewed by Jerry Engler 11/29/2007
This was a warm, fulfilling story, Regino. It's good both as a humanitarian animal story, and as a spiritual story. I always enjoy the cross-cultural implications of your work guided by thoughtful insight into the truth around us...Jerry
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 11/29/2007
You tell a fine story, Regino; with a noble message as well. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Jean Pike 11/27/2007
Regino, another fabulous story. So warm and wonderful and touching. I am always amazed at how beautifully you express the thoughts, feelings and compassion of animals. Well done!
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 11/27/2007
This is beautifully penned, Regino, such a powerful message encased in canine form. Imperfect canine form, mind you...but more loving, more compassionate than most two-leggeds. Definately a keeper.

Merry Christmas!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 11/27/2007
I truly enjoyed your story, Regino, and I truly hope many will read it and remember its profound message. Well Done!
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 11/27/2007

This is such a moving, heartfelt piece. As a disabled person myself, this one really hit my heartstrings; what a beautiful, inspiring write! Very well done; bravo!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D

Am saving this one to read when I am down in the dumps; what a pick me up!! WOW!!
Reviewed by Sheri Uy 11/27/2007
This is such a moving piece. Hope and courage unfold in each paragraph as Punchy wished and prayed hard for the simple basics of life following his unexpected disability. Contentment of the heart, pure love shines through in this one. Punchy will serve as an inspiration not only for people with disability but more so, for those who have good intentions and compassion and continues to give care to the likes of Punchy. God bless them! I hope he gets what he wishes this christmas. Thank you for sharing.

Be well,

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