ONCE upon a time-not so far from here -there was a little puppy called Laku
who had everything that small dog needs in order to live happily and beloved;
four strong paws, bright dark eyes, tale and a gentle heart.

Home by her breeder´s she had glad and safe enviroment with her mother and
her siblings. Laku loved people from the bottom of her heart. With their
paws they could take away a nasty splinter or give a pat. They gave her
nourishing food, warm place to sleep, toys and lots of love. So our small
puppy lived happily and grew and thought everything was going to be just
like that for ever.

One day it was her turn to move to home of her own. Her breeder had already
talked about that and Laku was full of enthusiasm. Though she was a little
afraid of leaving her mother and sisters, she was full of pride. She was
finally going to be a big dog who could bring joy to her new family.

Everything started quite right with the new owner. Laku got stronger and
had a beautiful fur, but her new owner wasn´t very gentle person after all.
While Laku was only a puppy she couldn´t be absolutely housetrained. When
se had ?an accident? her owner yelled to her and pushed her away more and
more often.

While Laku was so afraid she tried to pee behind furniture. Finally she
was put on the backyard in a leash. There she was shivering with cold and
darkness. She looked like the picture of misery. The snowlakes fell on her
fur and while she cried her loneliness her owner told her lowdly to shut

So Laku dreamed. She had heard at home of her breeder a tale of the Little
Match-Seller. She dreamed a tiny girl walking and looking through glasses;
table covered with snowy white table-cloth on which stood a splendid dinner
service and steaming roast goose. I wish I could eat like that sighed the
little girl in Lakus dreams and she lighted a match. It gave a warm, bright
light and damp pieces of old bred in Laku´s bowl became a nourishing meal.

In Laku´s fantasies the Little Match-Seller roamed through the streets and
looked with tears in her eyes to homes where people were sitting by large
iron stoves and played with they children and pets. How the fire burned
and seamed so beautifully warm! So the girl lighted another match and in
the dreams sweat warm blanket surrounded Laku.

In the morning of the Christmas the Little Match-Seller sighed, if somebody
could take me away from cold, pain and hunger. And she lighted the whole
bundle of matches. Laku´s dream became true, her breeder had heard in which
state she was and brought Laku back home to her mother and sisters. There
was no more cold, pain and hunger!

Though Laku was so weak in the beginning that she could barely hold her
head, her eyes shone like little candles and her tale shivered when somebody
pat her. She was so happy, because she was no longer being left alone.

Despite of loving and tender care, Laku´s little body didn´t get better.
Her guts and love to people didn´t lessen during her short life of two
years. This Chistmas while all the brightest stars are celebrating our
newborn Savier, perhaps Laku too has curled up beside the feet of the new
born Christ. Laku´s little heart is praising with the oxes, donkeys, herds
on the field and chorus of angels because love never dies.

Minna Karjalainen