In place of my usual column I am using a poem written just for those new animal owners, written by a former member of Salt Lake County Animal Services, Kathi Prevost:

'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house,all the creatures were stirring, even Jim's new pet mouse.

The stockings were empty and thrown on the floor,

Their contents were being returned to the store.

The children were playing outside with their sleds,

Their other toys broken and strewn on the bed.

And Pa in his slippers and I in my cap,

had just settled in for a well deserved nap.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

but Suzy's new puppy with blood on her ear!

Faster than eagles we drove to the vet,

and seventy dollars was rapidly spent.

But her eyes how they sparkled, her tail wagged so merry,

"She really is cute," I said, "Even if she's so hairy."

And just about then I looked down at my pants, which were

covered with hair and a stain . . . please don't ask.

As we turned in the driveway, I heard a loud whine,

`Look at all Billy's presents, they're better than mine."

Get rid of the puppy, she's not too much fun.

I want a new toy, not that same boring one.

And placing my hand on the puppy's firm belly,

I took her inside, wondering what was so smelly.

"Oh, bad dog," I scolded, "You do that outside,"

and I thought of the times she would spend by my side.

We'd jog and play fetch, have a jolly old tug,

but now she needs feeding, and I must clean the rug.

So this is the way that we learn how to care,

by feeding, loving, forgiving and learning to bear

the good with the bad and the bad with the good,

Whatever the weather, whatever your mood.

And you'll hear me exclaim, when I fuss and I fret,

"She's my little puppy and I do love my pet."

- If you have a question about health, behavior problems, laws, etc., regarding wild or domestic animals, please write Leslie Kelson-Probert, Salt Lake County Animal Services, 511 W. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84123 or call her at 264-2247.