Christmas Ghosts- tales with a twist

Scrooge was visited by ghost of Christmas past, present, and future to teach him certain lessons. Find out how the story unfolds.

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It was Christmas Eve, and Ebenezer Scrooge sat on his dilapidated wooden chair, a scowl on his face. He had just shooed away little neighborhood kids who had come along with their pet dogs to invite him for a ‘paw-some Christmas party. Scrooge was in no mood to celebrate or entertain anyone. “Pesky li’l brats!” he scoffed.

“Shut up, Bozo!” he yelled at his dog, who had been barking incessantly since the bell rang The dog whined, staring at the door with his large gloomy eyes.

Scrooge experienced a chilling visit from the spirit of his deceased business partner, Marley. “I did not understand the value of my pet dog as long as I was alive. I neglected my duties towards him, and as a result, I am unhappy in my afterlife. I don’t wish for you to suffer like me. My friend, you will be visited by three ghosts tonight, who’ll try to guide you to the right path. If you don’t mend your ways, karma will not be kind to you.”

Ghost of the Christmas Past

Later that night, Scrooge is visited by a scary looking ghost –Ghost of the Christmas Past.

“I have come to show you how neglectful you have been towards Bozo, your loving pet. I hope this rearview look at your life will help you mend your ways for the better”, said the ghost.The ghost speaks to Scrooge as he relays the following visuals to him –

  • You adopted Bozo, a Himalayan Sheepdog, on a whim, after looking at his cute pictures on an Instagram page! You prioritized his looks and overlooked his temperament, which was a critical mistake. You’re now unable to fulfill the exercise needs of your agile herding dog, who needs more exercise than other dogs to remain physically and mentally stimulated. You did not walk him enough, forcing him to channel his pent-up energy through undesirable behaviors such as lunging at people, destroying furniture, etc.
  •  You were unprepared for medical emergencies, and every time Bozo got sick or injured, you had to make frantic calls to your vet.
  • You paid little attention to Bozo’s nutrition – which messed up his digestion often.
  • You kept his food bowl full at all times, leading him to overeat –look at how much unnecessary weight Bozo has gained because you did not monitor food portions.
  •  You failed to train Bozo on acceptable and unacceptable behavior early on – you mistook setting rules with a loss of freedom.
  •  Remember how Bozo used to tug at the leash during his walks to take you wherever he wanted to go – you allowed your pet to assert dominance over you, forgetting that you were in charge!
  •  You left Bozo alone for long periods daily, no wonder he started displaying symptoms of separation anxiety.
  • You did not socialize Bozo enough. He has now developed a phobia of people, public places, and other dogs.
  •  You skipped the vet’s appointment often, choosing to self-medicate Bozo when he fell ill, causing his health to worsen.
  •  Your erratic walking schedule has often led Bozo to relieve himself at odd times and in inappropriate places.
  • You yelled at Bozo for chewing on the sofa cover. This negative reinforcement made him fearful of you but also made it difficult for you to train him to behave appropriately.
  • You neglected Bozo’s emotional needs – you brushed it off, thinking, “He’s just a dog!” He always tried approaching you for cuddles, pets, and belly rubs, but you booed him away.
  • Your mixed messages left Bozo confused – there were times you scolded him for hopping on your bed, and at other times, you encouraged him to do so. Your pet never got a clear message about what was acceptable and what wasn’t because of your conflicting messages.

A sense of deep regret washed over Scrooge as he saw how nasty he had been to furry friend.

Ghost of the Present

The ‘Ghost of the Christmas Present’ visits Scrooge next, offering solutions to all his past mistakes so that he can correct and redeem himself in the present.

  • Adopting a dog is no joke and requires sensible decision-making. Several factors need consideration. Do you have enough time to devote to your pet? Are you financially capable of handling the expenses you’ll incur on his diet, healthcare, grooming, etc.? Is your pet’s breed suited to your lifestyle and house size? Impulsive adoptions are why so many pets end up in animal shelters. Instead of jumping into a decision you might regret later on, take an inventory of the pros and cons and figure out how much you can handle.
  •  You may not be able to contact your vet all the time. Be proactive and have a contingency plan to protect your dog against unforeseen circumstances. Have a canine first aid kit handy, along with contact numbers for emergency veterinarians nearby.
  •  Remember that your pet’s diet affects his overall mood for the day.Feed him high-quality food to help maintain balanced nutrition.It might be expensive, but it is made from whole meats and vegetables and is healthier.
  •  With the help of your vet, come up with an appropriate diet plan for your pet based on his age, breed, medical conditions, etc.Always keep track of how many times you should feed your pet in a day and how much food you must give your pet at once.
  • Dogs are disciplinary animals and live to abide by rules. They need obedience training to understand simple things like not getting aggressive with guests, not peeing where they should not be, or scratching up furniture. Setting boundaries early on helps avoid problematic behavior at a later date.
  • Never let the pet walk you. You should be the one who’s in command and not the other way around.
  • Dogs are highly social pack animals that need to be around other dogs or humans.If you do not have time, hire a pet sitter to give your pet company.
  •  Most dogs have a lot of energy and curiosity that needs to find an outlet through exercise and mental stimulation. Take out time from your schedule to go on a walk with him and play with him. Offer him toys with hidden treats to keep him occupied.
  •  By socializing your pet, you expose him to a range of stimuli. Getting him used to meeting other dogs and strangers in the park, walking along the pavement, letting him sniff objects, etc., allows his personality to blossom into a well-adjusted one.
  •  Take your pet to the vet at regular intervals. It will make it easier to detect any abnormalities early, facilitating hassle-free treatment.
  • Walking your pet at fixed times of the day to the same spot, regardless of the weather conditions, can inculcate good potty habits in him.
  •  Positively reinforcing your pet using treats and praise motivates him to respond better to situations and stimuli.
  • Dogs are emotional beings who crave attention and affection from their human companion. Indulging your pet with some TLC will make him happy and strengthen the bond you share with him.
  •  Consistency with the enforcement of rules will avoid confusion in your pet’s mind and make it easier for him to follow your command.

Ghost of the Christmas Future

Nitya RamachandranThe final visit to Scrooge is by the ‘Ghost of the Christmas Future’, who shows Scrooge a glimpse of his future – a deserted graveside with no one around except his loyal companion Bozo, mourning but still on guard.

“The one loyal friend you can have in this treacherous world is your pet, Scrooge,” the spirit says.

“None of us can change our past, but we can change our future.

You need to change because you’ve unknowingly hurt the one who loves you the most.

You were biting off more than you could chew, and in doing so, you damaged your relationship with your pet.”

“What kind of a future do you envision with your pet—one that is troubled or filled with a profound sense of connection and joy? Trust me you will feel good when you start remaining calm and composed yet assertive towards your pet in situations that previously used to tick you off. The more consistent you become with appropriate responses, the more your pet will take notice and respond better to you. Your story could have a happy ending too, Scrooge.”

Scrooge then begs the ghost for a second chance, promising to change his ways.

He wakes up in his bed on Christmas Day, overjoyed and grateful.

He envelops Bozo in a warm hug and promises never to take him for granted again. To bask in the festive cheer and celebrate the Christmas spirit, he orders a customized dog cake, especially for Bozo, and takes him out on a long drive.

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