When Edwin Snout was a boy, he had a remarkable beagle for a best friend named Benji. Edwin grew up in his family's mansion without friends. The product of uncaring parents, all he had to love was his little dog. When Edwin was 15, Benji went to the Bridge. It changed Edwin's heart forever.
As he grew into adulthood and beyond, whenever he saw a person with a dog, he was filled with jealousy. He hated the people who owned them, and he came to hate the dogs too.
Now, decades later, two pups lived on the same street as Edwin. He was annoyed by their barking, and when one of them pooped on his grass, Edwin called the police and demanded that the dogs be confiscated. The families were upset that they wouldn't have their dogs for Christmas, but Edwin said it served them right.
Benji was dismayed by her former friend’s behavior. She came to me with an idea. Benji would pop into Edwin’s dreams and tell him that he would be visited by three spirits representing his past, present, and future. Benji wanted my help in recruiting the angels. The plan sounded familiar, but I agreed that I didn't think there were any copyright infractions.
On the appointed night, Benji appeared as a ghost in Edwin’s dreams wearing the chain Edwin had walked him with. He told his friend that three spirits would visit him that night to change his heart before it was too late. Edwin said he would refuse to go with any spirits and cast Benji from his dreams. It could not have gone worse.
Tommy Tunes visited him an hour later. He told the man that he would prove to him how much he had loved dogs in the past. The room dissolved around Edwin, and he found himself in his childhood bedroom. Young Edwin was sitting on his bed playing tug of war with Benji. The older man smiled at the sight.
Edwin's parents began fighting downstairs. Benji and little Edwin climbed under his covers and hid from the words. When Little Edwin emerged, he realized they had missed supper, so he went down to the large kitchen and made a sandwich.
Edwin shared his meal with his dog, and then they lay in bed. Edwin promised Benji that someday he would rescue all the dogs from the shelters and have them live with him in the big mansion. Benji gratefully licked his hand.
“I am no longer that boy,” Edwin said. Suddenly they were back in his bedroom. “I was young and thought I could change the world. I learned the hard way.” Suddenly Tommy was gone. Edwin blamed the nightmare on too many lunchtime shrimps and tried to sleep.
He heard a soft growl at the end of his bed, sat up, and saw Hattie Mae wearing a hat, a white dress, a yellow belt, and yellow boots standing on the comforter. “Let's go; I have people to see and places to be,” she yelled. Edwin refused to go, so Mattie relied on what she would do when she was a mortal dog. She sat and barked and whined until Edwin gave in and agreed to follow her wherever she went.
Suddenly a shelter appeared around them. There were five cages, and each one held a dog. The last pup looked so much like Benji that Edwin's heart skipped a beat. He asked Hattie what was to become of these dogs.
“They will be sent to the Bridge tomorrow because no one gave them home or loved them. Perhaps if you had opened your heart to one of them or their predecessors, they wouldn't be facing death tomorrow. When people shut their hearts to good dogs, this is what happens.”
Edwin cried that it wasn't his fault and kept doing it until he realized he was back in his bedroom. Standing at the end of the bed, representing the dogs that had yet to come, was me.
Edwin begged me not to show him what happened to him in the future, but I had no choice. I told him to grab my fluffy tail, and then we were transported back to the shelter, one day after he and Hattie had been there, as the bodies of the dogs on death row were being disposed of.
“No, no, no,” Edwin repeated, looking at the dogs. We went to a long-term facility where he lay dying alone. He took one more gasping breath, then expired. The room dissolved, and we were outside next to his grave with no flowers left on it. His name was written on the stone because no one can think of a fitting epitaph appropriate for a cemetery. And finally, Edwin saw his fate at the Bridge as a minion cleaning up after dogs until he did enough good that he could become an angel.
He begged me to tell him if his future could be changed, but I did not know. I slowly faded from his sight, and when he woke up, he was alone in his bed. He jumped up and went to the window. He saw a boy walking on the sidewalk. He asked him what day it was, and the boy told him it was Christmas Eve. Edwin still had a chance to be a good person.
Edwin went to the shelter before the dogs were euthanized and adopted every one then made the worker promise before any more pups were euthanized, they would call him, and he would at least Foster them until they could be found a good home. Edwin found his neighbors’ dogs that he had sent to the shelter and insisted that he be given custody of them so he could bring them home before Christmas. Normally this would not be done, but the worker just felt there' was something he could trust about Mr. Stone, and he released the dogs in Edwin’s custody.
The first family he returned the dog to was thrilled to have him back and told Edwin he didn't need to apologize. Mr. Stone promised to be a better neighbor and told the woman who answered the door that her dog could poop on his lawn whenever he liked. Then Edwin went to his other neighbor. Little Timmy opened the door, let out a cry of joy, and hugged his dog. Again Edwin apologized and told the boy his dog could stay at his house anytime and play with his new pups.
As Edwin and his pack walked down the sidewalk, Timmy smiled and yelled, “God bless dogs, everyone.” Edwin could not agree more.