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Marcia Miller-Twiford

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   Recent stories by Marcia Miller-Twiford
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Along Came Bridgett
By Marcia Miller-Twiford
Friday, December 05, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A Christmas story for the entire family based on a true event.

It was a warm day for the middle of winter, and the puppies frolicked on the dry and warm lawn while their mother and father kept close watch nearby. There was one puppy who wasn’t joining in on the fun her brothers and sisters were having. She was lying quietly under a tree. Suddenly she raised her little head, tipping one ear and then the other from side to side as if she was listening to something. And she looked as though she was watching something or someone that only she could see. Her mother grew concerned and padded over to check on her. When nuzzled, the puppy rolled over onto her back and wagged her tiny tail in assurance that everything was okay. Relieved, the mother gave her a loving nudge and went back to the group. The puppy had a visitor that only she could see. Her mother had walked right through the visitor without knowing it. The visitor looked a lot like the puppy who was a little bundle of white fluffy fur, but the visitor was larger, in fact, she was much larger than the puppy’s mother. They all had the same white fur, but the visitor didn’t have long silky fur like the puppy’s mother. It was short and a little curly. However the puppy thought the visitor was very pretty, and the largest dog the puppy had ever seen.

The visitor had come here on a mission. Her mission was to acquaint the puppy with the lady who was to be her new owner. The big dog knew the puppy had been feeling a little sad. Her brothers and sisters had found new homes and she hadn’t. The mommie dog had told the puppy it was okay, and she shouldn’t worry. The owners of mommie and daddy would be very happy if she could stay with them. However, the puppy somehow knew that she wasn’t going to stay here. There was some other place she was suppose to be. She’d always known that, but she didn’t understand why nobody had come for her. The real people kept talking about Christmas which was three days away. She knew she needed to be in her new home on that day.

Her two brothers were leaving tonight and her sisters were going to be picked up by their new families tomorrow. If she was going to be in her new home by Christmas Day, then someone should have come by now. Lots of people had been coming to the house to see the puppies and maybe buy one to take home. One man had come three times, and she really liked him. He played with her and he was very gentle. She got to sit on his lap and be petted while he told her how pretty she was. She didn’t know that the man had bought her the first time he came and now he visited to get acquainted so that she wouldn’t be afraid to leave here and go with him.

The big dog visitor on the lawn, that no one could see except the puppy, knew all about the man. In fact, unknown to him, she was the one that gave him the idea to look in the paper the day it ran the ad that the puppies were available. He’d been driving to his office that day, and she put the idea in his head to stop for a newspaper. He read the newspaper at work, for some reason turned to the Classified's, and then called right away to make an appointment to go see the puppies that night.

The visitor walked over to the puppy, sat down on her rear haunches and said, "Hi there little one. My name is Flo, you know, after the girl dog in the movie, All Dogs go to Heaven."

"Hi," the puppy replied, "I don’t have a name yet, I’m just a baby. I don’t even have a real home yet."

Flo felt sorry for the puppy. "Yeah, I know. But I don’t want you to worry. I know where you’re going and you’re going to be very happy there."

"Oh yeah? How come you know so much?"

"Well I’ll tell you little one. I use to live there, but I had to leave. There’s a man coming to see you tonight. He’s been here before and played with you. Remember? "

"Oh. is he the tall man who holds me on his lap, says all those nice things, and pets me?"

"Yep, that’s him. He’s the son of the woman who was my lady. She’s been really sad since I had to leave and he always does everything he can to make sure his mother is happy, so he’s gonna take you home to her for Christmas. But not tonight. You have to be patient a little while longer and then he’ll take you to this really nice place and it will be your new home. He'll take you home on Christmas Eve."

"Where is this place? Am I going to like it there?" the puppy asked.

"You’re going to love it. Lots of good food and fresh water. You’re too little to hold still for very long now, but when you are, she gives really good tummy rubs, and you’ll have lots of petting and cuddling too. About every two weeks you’ll get to go to this special place for a bath. They’re nice people too. I hated going there, but you’ll probably like it."

"How come you hated to go there Flo?"

"Well, it was the ribbons and the perfume, you see. I didn’t mind being given a bath or being brushed, that felt good. But the perfume made me sneeze and I hated those fancy bows. You just won’t believe it: green ones for St. Patrick’s day; pink ones for Spring; orange ones with little pumpkins on them during the Fall, and the worst ribbons of all were the ones they put on at Christmas time; red or green ones with little tinkling bells attached to them. Those bells about drove me crazy. But our lady understood, and as soon as I got home she’d take them off. You’re gonna have to get ribbons too, little one, because your hair is gonna be real long. That fuzzy fur you have now is gonna grow out and your new fur will grow in. There will be a part down the middle of your back and your new fur will reach to the ground. Boy, you’re gonna be gorgeous. You’ll need a pony tail at the top of your head to keep the fur out of your face. might as well have the ribbons too."

"Oh, I don’t think I’m gonna mind having ribbons in my hair; I kinda like the idea," the puppy told Flo.

"Well that’s good. Gonna make things a lot easier. Easier for you, and easier for our lady."

"Tell me more about this place I’m going to Flo."

"It’s close to a mountain, and it’s really pretty there. Lots of squirrels and rabbits to bark at, and lots and lots of birds too. But don’t bark at the birds, whatever you do. The lady has bird feeders and bird baths all over the place. She really loves those birds and doesn’t want them scared. Even Nicki the cat knew better. She told him no just one time and he remembered. He was just as happy to catch mice. Nicki, was really nice. We’re real good friends and play together all the time."

"Is Nicki with you where you live now?" the puppy asked. "Did he have to leave too?"

"Yeah. Nicki left a few months before I did. But it was really nice the way he was there to meet me when I got to my new place."

"I don’t know if I like cats," the puppy said.

"Oh, you will. Cats are cool, most of them."

"Okay, Flo, if you say so."

"Well, as I was saying, there’s lots of room to run around and play there. You’ve got five acres to roam about on. Nicki and I went everywhere together. But little as you are, I don’t think she’s gonna let you do much roaming. There’s four hawks who nest in a tree up on one of the hills. Those hawks would take one look at you and think you we’re a big, fluffy white mouse."

"I do not look like a mouse! Everyone says I’m pretty as a picture," the puppy proudly replied.

"That you are little one. You’re just about the prettiest pup I’ve ever seen, but you are awfully small."

The puppy lifted her chin, set her head at a proud angle and replied, "I’m supposed to be small, I’m a Maltese. Even when I’m all grown up I won’t weigh more than four or five pounds"

"How much do you weigh now?" Flo asked.

"I don’t know for sure, but I think about a pound and maybe a couple of ounces."

"Well, little one, our lady is gonna love you and that's for sure. You’re one lucky pup. I made a wise choice when I picked you. I’m half Maltese myself. My mom was a Maltese and she looked a lot like your mom. My dad was a Poodle. That’s why my fur is not as long as your mom and dad’s. Dad was a lot bigger than mom and that’s why I’m so much bigger than your folks. One of the reasons I picked you is because I look more like a Maltese than a Poodle. Our lady thought I was the prettiest dog she had ever seen. But just wait till she sees you. Boy, is she gonna be happy."

The puppy sat up, tilted her head as if she was really bewildered and asked, "What do you mean, you picked me? What did you have to do with it?"

Flo laid down alongside the puppy and said, "Lie down here alongside me,pretty one and listen."

The puppy nestled close to Flo, her little head on her paws, anxious to hear the story.

"A long time ago, even before your Mommie and Daddy were born, I use to live with people who had a lot of dogs. They were really nice people, and they treated me good. It was too bad, but they got in trouble with their neighbors for having so many dogs, and I ended up in the animal shelter. The same day I ended up in that shelter our lady was out looking for a dog. She was hoping to find a German Shepard. She grew up on a ranch and she had a German Shepard who was her best friend for a long, long time. I guess you could say they grew up together. She really had her heart set on finding another one, but when she walked into the shelter, she spotted me and the rest is history. I guess she felt sorry for me. I was really dirty, wet and cold, and I couldn’t stop shivering. I was shivering more because I was scared than because I was cold. There were all those other dogs there and they were all barking at the same time. I was so scared, I didn’t make a sound. I’d only been there a few hours, but I sure didn’t like the place. Our lady never did go looking for a German Shepard. I was in the first cage she saw when she came into the kennel. She took one look at me, opened the door to my cage, picked me up, kissed me and held me real close. Close enough that I could feel her heart beating. She was holding me really tight but I didn’t wiggle, or anything. I stayed really still and after holding me and petting me for a minute, she kissed me near my ear and said, "Well, look at you. You poor little thing. I promise you that you’ll never be cold, or hungry, or wet, or scared again."

"You know what, little one? She kept that promise too. Unless of course you count getting wet by accident once. Nicki and I were chasing each other and I tried to follow him when he jumped up onto the fountain in the front yard. He made it to the rim but I ended up having a bath.

Well, as I knew she would, our lady kept all her promises and I had the best life any dog could hope for. But then I had to leave and she’s been sad ever since. I already told you that Nicki had to leave before I did, but I know when she sees you she’ll get another cat. She believes animals are happiest when they have other animals around and she’s right. Knowing her as well as I do, she’ll probably go to an animal shelter to get one and come home with two or three. In fact, now that I think about it, Nikki told me just the other day that he had been poking his nose around and had found a real cute little girl kitten that was born just about a week before you were. I remember him telling me he was gonna find a way to let our Lady know that the poor little thing was at the animal shelter and that she should go and get it. Knowing Old Nik the way I do, he’ll make sure you have a kitten to play with. He knows that would make all of you happy. I think he said, yeah, he said, he thought he would also give her the idea to name the kitten Blossom, cause it would sound real cute along with your name. That’s another thing you have to look forward to, little puppy, your name is going to be Bridgett. Now then, that’s real clever of old Nick, Bridgett and Blossom, sounds real good."

"Why did you have to leave that nice place, Flo?" The puppy felt really confused.

"Well, I got old, you see. Our lady didn’t know how old I really was. The people who ran the shelter where she found me told her I was maybe about two or three-years-old. Actually I was seven. I spent eight great years with our lady and then my old heart just couldn’t take it anymore. I was all worn out. Oh, don’t be sad, little one, look at me now, I’m young again. When I left her, I knew I had to find just the right puppy to take my place. You were born on the same day that I had to leave. I was there when you were born. You couldn’t see me until now, but I’ve been looking out for you all this time."

"Gee, thanks Flo, but what are you doing here now? How come I can see you and nobody else seems to be able to?"

"Well, there’s some things I want to teach you about our lady, and I think it will be easier for you to understand these things if you can see me. These are things you gotta do for me and for her. I kinda spoiled her you know. For instance, I was really happy to have her and I never wanted to leave her side. I let her know in every way ho much I loved her. You’re gonna have to do the same thing. But I think a lot of what I came to tell you you’ll just do out of love for her. It’ll all come to you real easy, cause you’re gonna love her so much. Will you try to remember to let her know every day how much you love her?"

"I’ll try real hard Flo. I’ll try really, really hard. But, you know something? I think it’s gonna be real easy for me."

"Good girl. Now where was I? Oh yeah! If she goes somewhere and doesn’t take you with her, be sure you let her know how happy you are to see her when she gets back, but that will probably just come to you naturally. When the weather was nice, I'd  lie out on the deck or the front porch and wait to see her car come through the gate and up the driveway and then I'd wag my tail like crazy. Like I said, I came back to teach you some things, but now that I’ve gotten to know you a little bit better, I think you’re gonna do just fine all on your own because you’re a real smart little pup. You better go on now, little one. Everyone’s going inside. I’ll be looking out for you, for all of you, so don’t you worry." Then Flo vanished as quickly as she had appeared.

The puppy scampered to catch up with the other puppies and her Mom and Dad and they all went into the house. A short time later the nice man came to visit again. Just like he did when he’d been there before, he held her for a long time, petting her and saying nice things to her, and he told her he would be back on Christmas Eve to get her.

The days had gone by slowly but Christmas Eve was finally here. He came just as he had promised and she happily left with him. She was a little sad to leave her Mom and Dad, but she knew she had to go, and she was looking forward to meeting the lady Flo had told her about. She was just about as excited as a puppy can get. When they got to his car, the man put her in a box with a towel inside for her to lay on. She wasn’t too sure about the box, but the towel was soft and it was nice and warm in the car. The puppy remembered what Flo had said about not worrying, and knowing everything was going to be okay, she went to sleep. She woke up when they got to the new house, and the man carried her inside in the box and put her in his room where it was also nice and warm.

"Gee, I had my first car ride," the puppy thought.

She could hear a lot of noise coming from the room where all the people were. They were laughing a lot and pretty music was playing. From her place in the box she could see the lights from the Christmas tree shining on a wall in the other room. She was anxious to join in on all the fun, but she somehow knew that she should be really quiet. So she waited patiently and didn’t make a sound.

The people in the other room were opening presents. When they were through, the man said to his mother: "Mom, there’s one box you haven’t opened."

He got the box from under the tree and handed it to his mother. Inside were dog dishes, all sorts of toys, a book about raising a Maltese puppy, and at the bottom were the puppy’s pedigree papers. The woman knew right away what that meant, and she couldn’t hold back tears of joy. The man came to get the puppy and she was really happy to see him. The long wait was over. He lifted her out of the box, went into the room where everyone was gathered and handed her to his mother. The lady reached out for the tiny bundle, held it real close to her heart, looked at her son and said, " Oh, she looks just like a miniature Flo. Look at her; I can see Flo in her little eyes. She’s so beautiful. I’m going to name her Bridgett, because she'll bridge the gap that I’ve felt in my heart ever since Flo left us."

The puppy was overjoyed, and she gave the woman about a million kisses, all over her face. The woman laughed, kissed the puppy on the nose and cuddled her even closer.

"One of the lady’s granddaughters said, "Look Grandma, she’s looking at the Christmas tree."

"Yes, dear, you’re right. She is looking at the tree. I wonder what she’s thinking."

The puppy had turned her tiny head to see the Christmas tree and was thinking how pretty it looked and how happy everyone was. She turned from looking at the tree and put her little head on the lady’s shoulder, close to her neck, where it was soft and warm, and she knew she already had her own place in the lady’s heart, right next to the place that was reserved for Flo. But this was her own place and she was happier than she had ever been. She was home and she knew how much she was already loved.

The day had been full of a lot of excitement for a little puppy and she was very sleepy, so she took a quick nap. When she woke up, she yawned, kissed the woman and looked back at the Christmas tree. She was surprised to see Flo sitting under the tree. Flo was smiling and wagging her tail real fast. The puppy knew the people couldn’t see Flo, or hear them when they talked to each other.

The puppy smiled at the big dog and said, "Hi! You were right, Flo, I’m gonna be really happy here. How come you’re here? Are you visiting?"

"Well, little one, I just wanted to see how everything was going. I can see that everyone’s okay now. I’ll be going soon. I can see there’s no need for me to come back. Everything is going to be just great around here from now on."

"Gee, Flo, aren’t I ever going to see you again?"

"Oh, we’ll see each other again, little one, but not for a very long time. You and our lady, and Blossom, are gonna have a good, long life together. I’ll see all of you again someday. None of you need me now. You’re gonna be just fine. Happier than you can even imagine. And, I’m anxious to get back. I’ve got a lot of friends waiting for me. Nicki asked me to say Hi, and to tell you that Blossom will be here in a couple of days. She’s a real bundle of energy that one is. You’ll have a new friend to run around the house with. Gonna have a lot of fun, you two. Before I go, I want to ask you one question. Think really hard now. Take your time. If you could say just three words in people talk, what would those three words be?"

"That’s a very easy question, Flo, I don’t have to think about it at all." The puppy looked away from the tree where Flo had been, gave her Lady a kiss and thought, " If I could talk people talk, just three words, just once, right now, I’d really . . . really, really, really, like to say,
Merry Christmas everyone!"


© Marcia Miller-Twiford
Published in Stories Magazine 2005





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Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 12/6/2008
Hello Marcia,



Reviewed by Georg Mateos 12/6/2008
I talked to my dog everyday, because contrary to the common believing, I know he understood me and after a while I understood his language.
We only need to ask Mr.Ed for some pointers.
This story is much more than appropriate for Christmas, it is Christmas story all the way!


Reviewed by Flying Fox Ted L Glines 12/5/2008
This rocks, Marcia, ranking right up there with some of the stories by Albert Terhune. And a really neat way of saying "Merry Christmas"!!!

Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 12/5/2008
Marcia, this is so very beautiful--it brought tears to my eyes-thank you

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