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Inspiration for the Creation of Hobo's First Christmas
By Glenn D. Short

HOBO is a real live Bearded Collie otherwise called a Beardie. He is my companion and a loved family member. His home web page features stories of his life, information on Bearded Collies and frequent special holiday pages. 
The motivation for creating Hobo's First Christmas (The Land of CLAWS) came from our family's experience with another dog named Waldo. The story, or as much as I can fit into a single page, follows:
Waldo was brought home in a paper bag. I had picked him out at an animal shelter. I remember that my reason for the choice was because Waldo was the only puppy that didn't fear me as I looked through the bars of the various crates. He was a cute little fur ball, with lots of hugs and licks. The reason for the bag was that JoAnne, my wife, didn't want any animals. We had two children then, both under age 6, and that was enough for JoAnne to manage. But unbeknown to JoAnne, our eldest child Christine and I plotted how we would surprise Mommy. Who could refuse to accept a puppy?
Waldo soon grew into a small-medium sized shaggy black and white cute little boy. We lived on a corner, and were always afraid that the children would get run over by a car. But Waldo was the first to be hit. Scratch one of his lives, but he lived through it with only some fur missing. Waldo learned to stay out of traffic, and he began to keep our small son Carlton (who was walking at one year old) in the yard.
The kids and their friends treated Waldo like he was another friend. He would be dressed up in baby clothes, put in a buggy, and pushed around the neighborhood. If the kids forgot Waldo as they went on to another game, he would remain patiently in the buggy. As the kids learned new games and skills, so did Waldo. Waldo even learned to stay on a two wheel bicycle (with training wheels). They grew up together.
By age 2, Waldo was a neighborhood regular. Never on a leash, Waldo would go house to house. He had various kids and adults he would visit and receive treats. But as all boys do, Waldo decided that it was time to meet the girls. And he wandered farther each day. 
We moved to a different and smaller town when Waldo was five years old. He adapted well, but the local police and animal control had strict rules. "Leash your dog," they would say. Waldo -' leash? what is that?' So we began to use a leash and rope to keep Waldo home. This turned out to be impossible, Waldo was forever escaping to find adventure. 
We moved again, this time within the same city and had two more children (twins). Waldo now became the best friend of two more little children. He taught them to play games. Once again he was asked to dress up, this time in a Superman shirt. He climbed onto the roof one day, and jumped down (another life used). Maybe he believed he was Superman and could fly. But once again Waldo survived with only minor injury (mostly his pride I think).
As time went on, Waldo had many adventures. He had to be neutered after one escapade with two prize female poodles. This involved a half dozen policemen, animal control and the angry owners of the little ladies. It ended up, after a six hour chase around the city, with Waldo returning to the scene of the crime, jumping the four foot fence into the girls yard, and laying down exhausted. Even so, animal control shot Waldo with a tranquilizer gun (another life?).
Waldo wasn't discouraged. He found new games. There were always ways to escape the confines of our home. He must have been watching Charlie Brown and Snoopy as the Red Baron. Waldo lurked in the tall grass, sneaking up towards his prey. These were generally joggers, who were only afraid for a moment as Waldo lost interest after the initial shock. But one day someone fell off their bicycle from surprise - and the game had to end.
Things went on like this, never a dull moment, for Waldo until he was twelve years old. By that time he needed his now well worn Superman Shirt as he had lost a great deal of hair. It gets cold in Michigan in the Winter. As winter approached, Waldo still found pleasure of romping in the snow with the kids (by then we had five). He wouldn't run away so much, but would hide in the van so that he wouldn't miss a ride to the store.
Then one Christmas Eve, the kids were all exited about the prospect of the new toys they would get the next morning. JoAnne was making several last minute trips to the store. As the evening progressed, the younger children were all nestled in their beds. One last minute forgotten item had to be purchased. Waldo must have hidden away in the van, or maybe he ran to follow. His kids were important, and he must be involved with the shopping. Waldo would not come back that night . . he crossed over the rainbow bridge.

Waldo helps deliver presents
3/17/1977 - 12/24/1988 (as the clock struck
12 times to welcome Christmas)

As Waldo's first priority was his love for children, I know he is with Santa now. He would want Hobo to make children happy.

Postscript: On Christmas Day 1997, Teddy Bear said farewell to his family and went to live permanently with Santa at the North Pole.
Hobo lived with his family in Michigan.  He enjoyed Christmas and was always the center of attention.  He had a younger beardie brother named Checkers and another beardie brother Rags (who was a rescue) and a huge family of humans. Sadly for his family all of these best buddies pasted on after many years of happy Christmas days. Hobo was almos 16 years old when he left to help Santa on November 10, 2011 more than 15 years after this story was first put on the internet (one of the oldest and longest running of all stories on the internet). He never stopped loving Christmas. The very next Christmas, we recieved a surprise from Hobo... Then Rags joined him, but that is another story........ Hobo Snow

Trivia: Did you know that Hobo's First Christmas has been tranlated and published in magazines around the world in other languages? In the German Version he had to pretend he was an old English Sheepdog (I guess it is that Shaggy Dog thing again).

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