One day Petey, who was a puppy, said to his mother, “I’d like a boy for Christmas.”
His mother, who was a dog, said she guessed he could have a boy if he was a very good puppy.
So the day before Christmas, Petey’s mother asked, “Have you been a very good puppy?
“Oh, yes!” said Petey.
“I guess you’ve been good,” said his mother. “Anyway, you’re awfully little. I shall go out and get you a boy for Christmas.”
But when Petey’s mother came back, she looked very much worried.
“How would you like a soft, white rabbit with pink ears for Christmas?” she said to Petey.
“No, thanks,” said Petey.
“Don’t you want a lovely canary?”
“No, I just wanted a boy.”
“How about some guppy fish? They’re nice,” said Petey’s mother.
“I don’t like fish,” said Petey. “I’d like a boy.”
“Petey,” said his mother, “there are no boys to be had.”
“No boys?” exclaimed Petey in dismay.
“Not one could I find. They’re terribly short of boys this year.”
Petey felt as if he couldn’t stand it if he didn’t have a boy.
Finally his mother said, “There, now, there must be a boy somewhere. Perhaps you could find some dog who would be glad to give his boy away.”
So Petey hopefully started off.
It wasn’t long before he saw a collie racing with a boy on a bicycle. Petey trembled with joy.
He called out to the collie, “Excuse me. Do you want to give your boy away?”
But the collie said, no, he definitely didn’t, in a dreadful tone of voice.
Petey sat down. He watched the collie and his boy on a bicycle until they were out of his sight.
“I didn’t really want a boy on a bicycle anyway,” said Petey.
After a while, he saw a red setter playing ball with a boy. Petey was just delighted.
But he remembered how cross the collie had been. So he sat down on the sidewalk and called out politely, “Excuse me. Do you want to give your boy away?”
But the setter said, no, he definitely didn’t, in a terrifying tone of voice!
“Oh, well,” said Petey, trotting off. “I don’t think playing ball is much.”
Soon Petey came to a bulldog, sitting in a car with a boy. Petey was pleased, for he was getting a little tired from so much walking.
So he called out loudly, but very politely, “Excuse me. Do you want to give your boy away?”
But the bulldog said, no, he definitely didn’t, and he growled in Petey’s face.
“Oh, dear!” said Petey. He ran off behind a house and stayed there until the bulldog and his boy drove away.
“Well, who wants to go riding in a car? Pff! Not me!” said Petey.
After a while he met a Scotty, walking with his boy and carrying a package in his mouth.
“Now that is a good kind of boy!” said Petey. “If I had a boy to take walks with and carry packages for, there might be some dog biscuit or cookies in the package.”
He stayed across the street and shouted at the top of his lungs, but polite as could be, “Excuse me. Do you want to give your boy away?”
The Scotty had his mouth full of package. But he managed to say, no, he definitely didn’t, and he showed his sharp teeth at Petey.
“I guess that wasn’t the kind of boy I wanted either,” said poor Petey. “But my goodness, where will I find a boy?”
Petey went on and on. He saw terriers, Scotch terriers, Skye terriers. He saw foxhounds, greyhounds, wolfhounds. He saw pointers, setters, spaniels, beagles, chows.
He asked every dog politely. But he couldn’t find a single dog who would give his boy away.
Petey’s ears began to droop. His tail grew limp. His legs were so tired. “My mother was right,” he thought. “There isn’t a boy to be had.”
As it was getting dark, he came to a large building on the very edge of town. Petey was going by, very slowly because his paws hurt, when he saw a sign over the door. The sign said:
“I know what orphans are,” Petey said to himself. “They’re children who have no mother, and no dog to take care of them either. Maybe I could find a boy here!”
He padded slowly up the walk of the Orphan’s Home. He was so tired he could hardly lift his paws.
Then Petey stopped. He listened. He could hear music. He looked. Through the window he could see a lighted Christmas tree, and children singing carols.
On the front step of the Orphan’s Home, all by himself, sat a boy! He was not a very big boy. He looked lonely.
Petey gave a glad little cry. He forgot about being tired. He leaped up the walk and landed in the boy’s lap.
Sniff, sniff, went Petey’s little nose. Wiggle, wag, went Petey’s tail. He licked the boy with his warm, wet tongue.
How glad the boy was to see Petey! He put both his arms around the little dog and hugged him tight.
Then the front door opened. “Goodness, Dickie,” a lady said. “What are you doing out here? Come on in to the Christmas tree.”
Petey sat very still.
The boy looked up at the lady. Then he looked down at Petey. Petey began to tremble. Would the boy go in and leave him?
But the boy said, “I’ve got a puppy. Can he come, too?”
“A puppy!” The lady came over and looked down at Petey. “Why,” she said, you’re a nice dog. Wherever did you come from? Yes, bring him in.”
“Come on, puppy,” said the boy. And in they scampered.
A crowd of boys was playing around the Christmas tree. They all rushed at Petey. They all wanted to pick him up. They all wanted to pet him.
Petey wagged his tail. He wagged his fat little body. He frisked about and licked every boy who came near.
“Can he stay?” the boys asked.
“Yes,” said the lady. “He may stay.”
Petey wriggled away from the hands that petted him. Dickie was the one he loved best.
“But whoever would think,” said Petey to himself, “that I ‘d get fifty boys for Christmas!”