Merry Christmas, Bob

John woke up early on Christmas morning, one of his favourite days of the year. He got up from his bed, a mattress on the floor, and kept the duvet around himself as the heating hadn’t come on. He heard the soft patting of his elderly spaniel’s tail and smiled. “Merry Christmas,” he said to the dog, as he went through to the kitchen to put the kettle on. As he returned with his tea he brought a present for his pet, a new coat which he had been making out of some old pillow cases. The dog’s tail wagged again. As he sat down on the settee he lifted his pet up next to him and put the coat on over his soft fur. The dog rested its head on John’s lap and started gently licking his hand. “Did you get me anything?” John said to the happy little spaniel, resulting in more tail wagging. John gently got up from the settee and picked a lone present off of the floor, his present from the dog. It was a new towel for the bathroom, one which wasn’t covered in dog hairs. “Thanks buddy, I see you’ve been paying attention,” he said as he gave his friend a kiss on the head, followed by more tail wagging.

Normally on Christmas day John would go to church, as the people were always welcoming even though he knew none of them, but his dog, Bob, was getting frail, so he decided to stay at home this year. After getting dressed, making sure he had a big thick jumper as the gas was off, John treated himself to a few chocolates and admired the card on the table. It had come in the post from some random company but had his name on, so he displayed it proudly in the room which functioned as his bedroom, living room and dining room. John switched on the radio, looking forward to blasting out some Christmas tunes. He placed the new towel in the bathroom then danced into the main room, where he picked up Bob and danced with him into the kitchen.

The kettle was on again and John showed his furry companion what was in the fridge. John’s Christmas meal was there, a microwavable turkey dinner, so it was fortunate that the electricity had not gone off. Next to it was a pack of luxury dog food, some extra soft variety which Bob should manage to eat, but first it was time to do some reading. John loved reading Christmas stories to Bob. He always wagged his tail at the right moments and was happy to lick John’s hand during his favourite parts. They both had an appetite by the end of the book, so on went the microwave, filling the apartment with the smell of turkey and cheap gravy. Normally Bob would be on the floor whilst eating, but as a Christmas treat his bowl was on the settee next to his owner. John pulled a cracker, inside which was a bottle opener, then put the paper hat on Bob, who was happily eating his turkey-flavoured mush. The microwave meal tasted decent and John made fast work of it.

Bob appeared to be very pleased with himself, wagging his tail though his eyes were drooping. He spent most of the time sleeping these days, but John didn’t mind, he just picked Bob up and put him on his lap. John dozed off for a few hours, waking up when the radio went off. It was getting dark outside and the power had cut out. There was always a candle on the table ready, so John lit it and watched as Bob wagged his tail twice, casting shadows across the room. Bob licked John’s hand and closed his eyes, letting out a deep breath which sounded like satisfaction. John knew that Bob would not wake up. He looked at his companion and smiled, a single tear ran down his cheek, and he wished him a merry Christmas one last time. It was a good time for him to go; they’d both had a good day together. Merry Christmas, Bob.

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