'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Nobody heard me stirring, (not even that darned old mouse).
I was headed to the kitchen with the utmost care,
Searching for the goodies I knew were stacked there.
I tiptoed round the corner with my eyes fixed high,
Searching for cake, cookies, candy and mincemeat pie.
The table was set with forks, spoons and knives,
Ready for tomorrow and the feast of our lives.
I searched the counter with stealth and real care,
Sure that some great goodies had to be there.
Then I spotted the treasure easily within my reach,
Chocolate cake and some cookies and a pie made of peach.
I got up on my back legs and stretched looking for more,
(With the short legs of a Basset, that's really a chore).
I was making my selection, nearly narrowed it to three,
Cream puffs, chocolate cake and cookies sounded fine to me.
And then I heard it, that strange sound from behind,
But not the scolding or "caught ya" masterful kind.
No, this was the sound of someone trying to sneak,
Tiptoeing carefully so the floor wouldn't creak.
I dropped from the counter and started to growl,
Then spotting the prowler I let out a howl.
The old man in red was so startled by me,
He tripped over a throw rug and toppled the tree.
I knew then I had him, this prowler big and bad,
I'd be the best watchdog my master ever had.
I chomped on his leg, then elbow and knee,
Just knowing the boss would be so proud of me.
I had the upper hand standing on his chest,
Not just a "good watchdog", I'd be the best.
I howled for my master, then growled more at the man,
Not just a short dog, I'm the "tough dog that can".
Then a light switched on and lit up the place,
And I knew it was "bad dog" by the look on dad's face.
He pulled me off the old man and told me to "stay",
Then helped up the prowler in a too friendly way.
"I'm sorry Santa" I heard the master plead,
"He's usually a good dog, yes a good dog indeed."
Did dad call him Santa? Good grief I've been had!
There won't be any presents for a doggy gone bad.
I hung down my head 'till my ears laid out wide
I'd wounded old Santa and injured his pride.
And, I was sure that any moment,
They would toss me outside.
Then the old man did something I didn't understand.
It caught me by surprise and proved he was truly grand.
He said "I don't blame him, he was doing his job.
And, I'm sure that he figured I was planning to rob."
Then he motioned to me and said, "Come here little friend.
I think we can be buddies, and my feelings will mend.
But there's something important I think I should tell.
I'm warning you now, so listen careful and well."
"I'll be coming back next year on Christmas Eve night.
It'll be after the lights dim and I don't want a fight.
I want you to be quiet and not make any sounds.
Just let me do my business then get on with my rounds."
"Then I'll leave you a little something under the tree,
And let you share my cookies and milk with me.
It'll be our little secret that I came and I went,
And Christmas will happen the way it was meant."
Then he tossed me a cookie and shared half his milk,
And he brushed off his clothing of velvet and silk.
Next he let out a chuckle then laughed from his core,
Slipped me a wink and walked out the door.
I heard sleigh bells ringing as he went on his way,
And he left me with something I remember to this day.
If the prowler wears red and his beard is all white,
Make sure it ain't Santa on Christmas Eve night.