T’was the night before Christmas, we sat down at last,

my goodness the kennels had filled up so fast,

every man and his dog travelled miles from all over,

to make sure their dog’s holidayed at Royal Rover.


For months preparations were made by the score,

You’ve never seen anything like it before.

Bookings were made and booking fees paid,

On a chart we kept records of where each dog stayed.


Then from just out the front came the sound of a horn,

where a courier dropped off supplies on the lawn,

Kibble and sausage, chook mince and treats,

Big bags of Schmackos (now that’s hard to beat.)


Staff came running quickly to pack it away,

Especially meat from the heat of the day.

Then off to scrub kennels the walls and the floors,

Repairs made to fences and some of the doors.


The lawns were cut short and the edges so neat,

The grass sprayed for bindi to save the dogs feet,

More rapid than eagles the regulars came,

Staff whistled and patted and called them by name;


Now Lila and Ninja and Kobi and bear,

Hallo Indie and Blackie, I’ll pat you wait there!

Each dog’s vaccinations all had to be sighted,

Try giving flea treatment to dogs so excited,


The regular dogs pulled their owners along,

some had blankets and toys and one carried a thong!

Each owner ecstatic that they got to see,

Where their dog would be housed and that playtime was free!

Some first timer dogs were a little bit sad,

but the regular’s “woofed” of the good times they’d had.

two were out for a run and I happily found,

That first timer “Metro” was bounding around.


He’d made friends with “Buddy” so slender and tall,

They played and they wrestled and ran for a ball.

Once I put them away, each dog lay on its bed,

And watched all the other dogs playing instead.


Owners were happy as they drove away,

That their dogs would be properly cared for each day,

We waved them goodbye and got back to our work,

We were so organised it all ran like clockwork.


A favourite chihuahua, no tooth in his head,

His tongue lolled from his mouth as he sat on his bed,

His owner was worried “he can’t eat on his own”,

And so we hand fed him like they did at home.


With every dog exercised bedded and fed,

fresh memories of playtime alive in each head.

Some went straight to sleep, some were just too excited,

they had been here before and were way too delighted.


So about 7.30 we finished our round,

The dogs all seemed happy they’d all settled down,

We pulled out the trolley and locked up the gate,

It’s Christmas tomorrow, we’ll see you at 8.



 A poem by Debby Berryman