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Humor December 2015

Every Christmas Present was Gone… Stolen!

By Teresa Ambord

As I stood there with my mouth hanging open I wondered, how had we slept through this? Why hadn’t Mercy alerted us to intruders? Suddenly I had a horrible thought. Had they somehow taken my beloved dog? Lured her with treats?

I’d heard of people having their Christmas stolen right from underneath the tree. But I never imagined it could happen to us. With the kids grown, our household consisted of me, my invalid husband, and Mercy.

Mercy was our boisterous boxer puppy. She was a ball of constant energy. The moment I got up in the morning, Mercy would bolt out of her nearby bed, and go and go and go, full speed ahead, all day. By evening, Mercy was toast, and so were we. We’d crawl into our bed, and Mercy would collapse onto hers. She’d sleep hard all night, then get up and do it all over again, with little variation in her routine.

Having Mercy there gave my husband and me a great deal of comfort. She alerted us to unusual activity and was fierce when strangers came to the door. She was a wonderful watchdog… until she wasn’t. That was the night we were robbed.

As our first Christmas with Mercy approached, we were watchful. We’d had boxers before, and they’d always been fascinated by the tree, the packages, the dangly ornaments. To our surprise, Mercy seemed oblivious.

When gifts arrived, we placed them under the tree, and watched. Although they were wrapped, we could tell some of the presents were edible. There were cookies, chocolates, breads that smelled delicious. There was even a box with Mercy’s name on it, which rattled like Milk Bones. But Mercy paid no attention whatsoever. We were delighted. For the first time in years, we had an intact tree and did not have to keep the presents out of reach.

Three nights before Christmas, we went to bed, exhausted as usual. With her usual “huff” sound, Mercy fell into her bed and in seconds she was snoring. Soon, we were asleep too. Then, in the dead of night, I heard a noise somewhere outside the bedroom. I looked at my poor husband, who was in no condition to help if there was an emergency. I had to investigate the noise myself. Without turning on any lights, I tiptoed out and peered around. There in the moonlight I could see that every last Christmas present was gone. Not one remained.

As I stood there with my mouth hanging open I wondered, how had we slept through this? Why hadn’t Mercy alerted us to intruders? Suddenly I had a horrible thought. Had they somehow taken my beloved dog? Lured her with treats?

A quick check showed… she was indeed gone. My heart sank. Mercy was worth more than any amount of Christmas presents. Heartsick, I turned on the living room lights. There on the floor was a piece of ribbon from a present. A few feet away there was a scrap of wrapping paper, and then some glitter that had been on a package, and some more Christmas wrap.

I followed the trail, up the four stairs into the dining room, past the kitchen, through the laundry room. The trail ended at the back door. With my heart beating wildly, I summoned all my courage, flipped on the porch light, and jerked open the back door, terrified of what I’d find.

And there was the perp.

Mercy lay under her favorite tree, surrounded by packages… or what remained of them. Boxes and gift bags of every shape and size, lay strewn around her. They’d been chewed, gnawed, pawed, and looted. As I stood there looking at the guilty pup, I pictured it. I guess all that self-control she’d shown us had finally failed her, and she went berserk. She must have carried out the packages, one by one through the doggy door, pillaged each, and gone back for another, until there was nothing left.

Gone were the chocolates, the cookies, the breads, the candy canes, and four pounds of doggy bones. And every non-edible gift was also opened… just in case. The yard looked like the city dump. And right there in the big middle, was Mercy, looking very guilty and a little sick.

Thank heaven, nature took its course, and we did not have to have Mercy’s stomach pumped. She was lethargic, and not too interested in her own food for a few hours. But then, she was back, to her usual full speed ahead.

Of course, when Christmas morning came, we had nothing to open. Mercy had done that for us. We did have gifts to enjoy, the ones that Mercy did not eat because they were not edible. The trouble was, we had no way to know who had given us what. The gift tags had been destroyed. This would be the first Christmas ever that I had no way to send out thank you notes, and I was embarrassed.

Then I had an idea. Everyone who knew us, knew Mercy and loved her. So I sat down and wrote the story and sent it out to everyone, a sort of disclaimer. I included a card that said, “Thank you for the ???”

I also snapped a picture of Mercy, looking supremely guilty and sent it along, as if to prove my dilemma. I didn’t tell them that the picture was actually taken after Christmas. I’d stepped away from my easy chair to answer the phone, and when I returned, my powdered donut was gone and Mercy was asleep, with white dust on her chops.

These days, we keep the presents and many other things, under lock and key until Christmas morning. But I still want to know how she pulled off that canine caper, without a sound. In case you’re wondering why I named my dog “Mercy,” it came from one my favorite old hymns, “Mercy Rewrote My Life.” Of course I had no idea then, how true that would prove to be.


Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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