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A Special Day for a Dog Memory and a Seasonal Craft Idea

October 9, 2019


October 9–A Special Day for a Dog Memory and a Seasonal Craft Idea


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


With the ninth of October falling on a Wednesday, my topic for this week’s WORDWALK post was quickly determined because my pet dog Prince was born on this day in 1962.  As you will read below, the puppy did not come into my life until eleven weeks later.  For seventeen-and-a-half years, this ten-pound Toy Manchester/Chihuahua was such an important part of our family that in 2012, I used his photo and story inside my Christmas card, the text of which I will share below.


Besides remembering Prince on October 9, this day is also a good time to begin a seasonal craft project–designing and/or making your own holiday cards for mailing to family and friends in December.  In recent years, I have turned to my sister and VistaPrint for the printing of my Christmas card with a photo of my current Leader Dog Willow and with the greeting written by me.  Creating your own holiday card makes keeping in touch with family and friends across the miles so much more enjoyable and personal.


Now, please read below my WORDWALK post from December of 2013, which includes a very memorable part of Prince’s story.


* * *


Making a Christmas Card:  Keeping a Christmas Memory of the Best Gift



By making my own Christmas card for 2012, I was able to keep a Christmas memory of the best gift which I ever received.  I highly recommend sharing such a memory fashioned into a Christmas card because I received more positive, nice comments about this Christmas card than any other card I have ever sent.  The comments from family members and friends across the miles gave me holiday smiles that lasted into the new year of 2013.


When my cousin Carole came from Florida for a visit from late November to early December of2012, we went to a local mall and arranged for my Leader Dog, Zoe, to have her photo taken with the nicest Santa.  Thus, I wanted this festive photo on the front of my holiday card and a photo of Prince, the pet dog about whom you will read shortly, on the inside of the card.  After I wrote the greetings and copy for the card, my cousin Carole was in charge of paste-up onto a master, as well as the photocopying.  “Jolly Holidays!” and “HO!  HO!  Ho!” were the greetings that were sprinkled around the photo of Zoe and Santa Claus.  The inside photo was one that I had taken in 1967.  For the photograph, I had placed a white throw rug over a round foot stool, which measured about 24 inches in diameter.  Wearing a red coat which I had made, Prince sat perfectly posed for this snapshot when he was five years old.  With this old photograph appeared the following text inside my 2012 Christmas card:


* * *


Fifty years ago this Christmas Eve, I received the best Christmas gift ever.  The gift endured for seventeen and a half years, and the sweet memory of this gift continues to sparkle.


By 1962, my paternal grandparents were no longer residing on the farm in Klondyke, Indiana: they had moved to the more modern house which was a short distance from our home in Blanford, Indiana.  On that Christmas Eve, while everyone—my grandparents, Uncle Charlie, my mother, my sister, and I—gathered in the living room of my grandparents’ home, my dad went into the basement.  A few minutes later, midst all the chatter, he returned with a small cardboard box.  At the perfect moment, a tiny puppy popped his head up from the box and displayed a wide, red, satin ribbon tied around his neck in a partial bow.  Surprise!  My puppy for Christmas!  The Toy Manchester/Chihuahua was black with a white stripe on his chest and a little white on three paws.


Having lost Little Prince, my beagle/terrier mix, that October, I had been unhappily dogless for almost three months and was really needing a dog.  Unbeknownst to me, my dad had selected the Toy Manchester/Chihuahua puppy for me two weeks earlier.  My grandparents had kept the puppy until Christmas Eve.  (Years later, I learned that they were somewhat sad to relinquish the puppy.)


On that first cold night when we left my grandparents’ house, I tucked my Christmas puppy into my rust-colored coat so that only his tiny face peaked out.  In his new home that first night, my new puppy whimpered—despite the ticking clock covered with a blanket that we placed in his bedding.  So, eventually, I decided I should sleep on the floor with the wonderful puppy.  Within a couple of days, I named the pup Little Prince II; but we called him “Prince.”


As I look back fifty years to this most treasured gift from my cherished father, I look ahead to next July 11 (2013), which will mark the 100th anniversary of my dad’s birth.


Since June 6, 2009, I have been blessed with another dog who is black—my third Leader Dog, Zoe, who continues to be an amazing guide and dear companion.



May the gifts of Christmas


bring you


sweet memories,


a happy present,


and a healthy new year!



With our warmest holiday wishes,


Alice and Zoe


(First posted on my Wordwalk blog on December 11, 2013)


BOOKNOTE:  The preceding article is one of the pieces in my 101-page book entitled THE CHRISTMAS CARRIAGE AND OTHER WRITINGS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON, which is still available on Amazon, as well as DBC 08305 on BARD of the National Library Service (for blind and visually impaired readers).  The settings of the pieces are from Thanksgiving through Christmas and into January.  From online sellers, the print book is $7.50.  For additional information about my book and for photos, you may also visit my author’s page:


With our best wishes to all WORDWALK readers,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


October 9, 2019, Wednesday



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  1. How nice to honor Prince on his birthday and in your past Christmas card, Alice! He was certainly royalty in our family for many years! The story of his special delivery on that Christmas Eve continues to be a joy to read and to remember. I’m always touched by the memory of Grandma and Grandpa Farm becoming so attached to that little black puppy in just a few days.
    Love, Mary

  2. Gina Amerman permalink

    Alice, I really enjoyed your post about Prince! I enjoy reading all of your stories, but who can resist ones about dogs? Keep up the good work! All my love to you and Willow. Fondly, Gina

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