Christmas morning... again. It had been a long time since Christmas Day had meant anything special to him; well over twenty years at least he reckoned. He didn't trouble himself to try and remember the last time he'd received a gift at Christmas.
When he awoke on a cold and friendless Christmas morning for the umpteenth year running he wasn't expecting anything exceptional from the day. With no family there were no presents for him to open, not for the first time. He felt a little down and out of the merriment loop almost everyone else seemed to be a part of.
He had not, though, reckoned with the presence of his recently acquired companion.
As he sat on the sagging sofa and tried not to think about how lonely and isolated he felt, the dog leapt onto the man's lap. He looked into the man's face with his deep, dark-brown, soulful eyes and tentatively licked the tip of the man's nose. Tears welled in the man's eyes as he saw in his dog's honest expression true, uncomplicated love and felt his chest swell and his mood lift.
His pet had shown him by way of one simple gesture that his love was the gift the man didn't know he had been looking for, let alone realise that he already had.
Christmasses would never be the same again.