“I don’t like this, I don’t like this,” cried Stanley, “I want to see something nice now…”
“Like Christmas?” suggested Wolfgang. To his little friend’s nods, he covered him with his wings again and there they were, just at the moment when Santa Paws Shay crash landed in Tzu Kingdom.
Toys, gifts, teddies and treats bounced all around and the sleigh wheels buckled when it landed on top of Santa Paws, thankfully with him between the wheels and just banging his head slightly. Dogs of all shapes and sizes flew through the air in a terrifying display. How they all escaped serious injury Stanley would never know.
After a few minutes the doors flung open and Queen Coffee tore across the patio and to the sleigh where a motionless Santa Paws lay, calling his name.
Stanley watched and tried to think back to that night, even though it was a few years ago and he had forgotten some things. But, no, he was right. King Bailey ran to the sleigh too.
He turned to Wolfgang to ask but thought better of it. Without his presence in Tzu Kingdom Maisie and Beth were unaccounted for at present and he didn’t want to think about any more bad things. Anyway, this was the year that Bailey delivered the gifts, maybe he was getting changed into his Santa Bailey suit.
The scene dissolved away as Santa Paws and Team Christmas were carried and helped in to the Comforter Wing but there was still no sign of Bailey and they found themselves inside as Coffee, Mabel and Myrtle tended to the wounded. Stranger still, Coffee was in a scout uniform and not wearing the stunning green dress that had made her husband go “hubba”.
‘Paddy will be in shortly with his brother Mitch to fix the sleigh,’ he thought. But Paddy never arrived and the scene dissolved away once more.
Now, a party of dogs from Santa Paws Land had arrived and were talking with the Queen. They picked up Santa Paws on a stretcher and loaded him on to a plain, wooden sleigh, sprinkled some Christmas sprinkles and flew away above the clouds. They returned minutes later, taking the team in stages and flying them home.
“It’s really only good for firewood now,” said a small terrier called Pixie, looking over the Christmas sleigh as they took the final casualties away.
She went over to Coffee to comfort her.
“Shay will be fine in a few days and we can build a new sleigh for next year. Team Christmas will ride again sweet Coffee – it’s only one Christmas and, well, we didn’t have anything for the dogs-less-fortunate anyway. No, no tears, these things happen.”
“Look, let me talk to Embry, maybe you can come and spend a few days with us, bring Bailey too and he can talk with Shay whilst we have a Pamper Night. It will do you both the world of good. We have to get Bailey back to his old self…things can’t go on like this much longer, something will have to change, look at you my darling girl, your eyes are heavy, your ears are flat and there’s nothing of you...it's making you ill with worry.”
Stanley looked at Wolfgang, he didn’t know what was going on and he needed some straight answers.
“Wolfy, please, it didn’t happen like this, it doesn’t make sense. We delivered the presents and we went to Hotel Battenberg in Paris to see Louis the Canine Concierge and we flew over the River Seine and we ate snails, well spat them out, and Bailey was Santa Paws for the night and Coffee was so proud of him. I need to talk to my best friend, I want to see Paddy, back in today time.”
Wolfgang was melancholy too, he loved Coffee and Bailey after spending such a long time with them and this was difficult to watch, but there was worse to come.