The local animal shelter has come up with a new program called "Adopt a Dog for Christmas." Todd McCray decides his family should take a dog from the program for the week before Christmas. However, there is one big problem with Todd's plan. He is a 20 year-old, mentally handicapped, adult-child still living at home on the farm in Kansas with his parents and his Dad doesn't want a dog. Todd can be very persuasive so it doesn't take him long to convince his father that this is a good plan. George, his father, tells Todd that he will agree to the plan, but that Todd must realize Christmas ends on December 26 and the dog goes back to the shelter on that day. Todd understands and promises that the dog will be returned to the shelter.
While they are at the shelter picking out their dog, Todd asks the shelter director what will happen to the other dogs. He is very concerned when he learns that those dogs will spend Christmas in their kennels at the shelter.
It has been a McCray Christmas custom to hold an open house on the Sunday before Christmas and nearly all the families in their small town stop by. At that open house, Todd begins telling everyone about the shelter and the "Adopt a Dog for Christmas" program. Gradually he enlists enough families so that every dog is adopted for Christmas week.
Well, as you can imagine, in the week that "Christmas" stays with the McCrays, he worms his way into each heart, especially George's. George, however, is determined to teach Todd that when you make a promise who must keep it. George has also had some heart-wrenching experiences with dogs in the past and he isn't sure that he can survive giving his love to another dog.
There is no doubt that this is a Christmas story first, but it is also the story of a man struggling to be a good parent and a family that is fully supportive of each member. There are so many stories about dysfunctional families, it is wonderful to read about a real family working together to really help each other. If you are a read-aloud together family, a Dog Named Christmas was written for you! If you just want a Christmas story to enjoy, you will not find a better selection. If you get as caught up with George McCray as I did, you can read his story in the prequel, Christmas with Tucker. Be sure to add these to your bookshelf. Put them right beside Miracle on 34th Street.