Ani’s Advent Invitation – You are never too old to be loved by Sally Cronin

Well, it snowed a bit here yesterday… not much, not even long enough for me to play out…and then it all disappeared. It is all very well her heaving sighs of relief, but I was looking forward to a long snowy walk! Still, she says that mysterious ‘they’ say we may have lots of snow this weekend. Mind, she says they often get it wrong too… But she’s got her hat and her boots by the door and that big fluffy coat that makes her look like a short-legged yeti… so I think she thinks they may be right this time…

I love playing in the snow. Quite apart from the fact that it might save me from having to have a bath before Christmas, it is really good fun. She plays out for ages when it snows and we walk miles. And while she throws snowballs for me and does things with the camera, I get to follow tracks and scents and everything is really different and exciting!

But it is always best when you can share. Sally Cronin is good at sharing… she helps lots of people on her website and, if you read about her dog Sam there, you’ll know she ‘gets’ the whole dog thing… You could read the new story she sent me too…

Image: Sally Cronin

You are never too old to be loved

by Sally Cronin

He was getting on a bit in years, his eyesight was very dodgy, and his hip was definitely causing him jip. His teeth were still okay; he still enjoyed his meat slightly chewy, instead of that pap that they gave the real oldies in this residence. And if truth be told, despite his advanced years there was still a little fizz left when it came to the ladies. In fact there was a rather saucy looking old gal in the residence four down from him, who despite the silver threads through her glorious mane of hair, still had a twinkle in her eye.

Making his mind up to make more of her acquaintance later when they were all out in the garden enjoying their daily exercise, he closed his eyes to have a quick nap before lunch. He dreamt of a luscious garden full of the scent of flowers, as well as the laughter of children as he chased them around the apple trees. Two hours later he woke with a feeling of sadness, knowing that he would never see those children again. They were grown now and had no thought of him as he sat alone in this place.

There were visitors, who came from time to time, but this was a residence for the elderly and whilst they were well taken care of with amusements laid on and so called enrichment programmes, they all felt the loss of being part of a family. They would talk about it amongst themselves when they were resting in the shade of the garden; out of breath from their recent exertions. They had to accept that they were not going to see the outside of this place again and had better make the best of it.

One day they woke up to see the garden covered in snow and some of the more elderly residents declined the invitation to go out for their usual daily exercise; choosing instead to huddle under the blankets and watch through the windows of their rooms. He, however, was made of sterner stuff. He remembered the fun he had enjoyed with the children; lying in the snow whilst they covered him from top to tail until only his head could be seen. He was not sure if he lay down in the soft snow now, that he would be able to get up again with his dodgy hip.

Tired from his time in the winter wonderland, he returned to his room and settled down in the old chair in front of the window. For some reason he felt incredibly sad; for once his normally sunny disposition was overshadowed by grief.

The next day the staff could be seen rushing around putting up shining decorations and the residents perked up knowing turkey and all the trimmings were imminent. You have to give credit to the woman who ran the place; she was a kind soul who was committed to giving her elderly charges the comfort and care they deserved. They all enjoyed her frequent visits to their rooms for a chat and a hug or two.

Somehow this year he found it difficult to get excited, despite loving the taste of turkey, ham and those little sausages wrapped in bacon. But his dreams each night of children’s laughter lingered throughout the day, and he felt incredibly sad.

The day before Christmas, he woke to hear people talking outside in the corridor. Not unusual certainly, but he kept hearing his name mentioned and there was something familiar about one of the voices… He moved closer to the door and tried to understand what was being said about him.  He heard the click of the latch and hurriedly moved back into the room; watching as the woman who ran the place entered with a tall young man.

“Hello Jack is that really you.” He stared at the stranger who seemed to know his name. He edged forward to get a better look and a hand reached out towards him.

“We’ve been searching for you since Mrs Jones died and we didn’t know where you had gone, I cannot tell you how happy we are to have found you.”

We, what’s this we bit?

Suddenly two very young children pushed themselves into the room and rushed towards me, throwing their arms around my neck. After a moment’s fear I surrendered to the wonderful emotions that surged through me as I heard their laughter; feeling their small arms choking the life out of me.

He looked up through rather bleary eyes as the young man knelt down and stroked the fur around his neck, a familiar smell immediately unlocked the memories he had tried to suppress during his waking hours. Memories of this man as a teenager living next door to his mistress, coming over when he was a puppy and playing with him, rolling around in the snow and teaching him how to make snow angels.

“You’re coming home with us Jack, would you like that boy, would you like that?”

To say that I was out that door like a whippet up a drainpipe, despite my dodgy hip, is an understatement. I was helped into a large box that hummed and sat between the two small children strapped into special seats. They both reached out to touch me, reassurance that it was going to be safe as we set off at an alarming rate.

So here I am on Christmas Day and I have just eaten a meal of turkey, basmati rice and vegetables with special gravy, no salt my new mistress said in her soft caressing voice. I have a lovely new bed which is in the same room as my two young friends, Billy and Grace. I lie there in the warmth listening to them breathing gently in their sleep, knowing that I am their guardian. I am filled with new purpose and strength; even my dodgy hip doesn’t hurt as much.

More than anything I feel young again and loved… You are never too old to feel loved.


Image: Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

Links for books

Amazon    Amazon UK    Smashwords    Goodreads

Social Media

Sally’s website – Smorgasbord   Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn

What’s in a Name

Sally’s Latest book  

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

Antlers are for Reindeer!

If you would like to help save Ani from a fate (she says) worse than death, send your Letters to Santa, festive memories, short stories, flash fiction or poems to the Small Dog. She will post them every day through December until Christmas.

She would especially like to hear from her four-legged or feathered friends (she has a special place very close to her heart for turkeys)… but she says that two-legs are better than none, so she will accept submissions from humans too.

To get in touch, please use the form on the contact page or email Ani at

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, Christmas, Dogs, Friendship, Love, Memories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

97 Responses to Ani’s Advent Invitation – You are never too old to be loved by Sally Cronin

  1. Wonderful – and thank you both – but my eyes are filled with tears, Sally. Happy tears for Jack and the wonderful woman who makes sure they have daily visits and enough food to eat and trips to the garden to brighten the end of their lives once they have found themselves alone for one reason or another.

    And sad tears for all of the dogs who will NOT be going home with families this holiday season – and for all the old folks whose lives would be brightened by a furry friend in old folks homes of their own, where pets are not allowed.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Just… beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AW…………. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  4. Oh this is lovely. I’m welling up! Hopefully Jack will have many happy years with his new family. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Ani’s Advent Invitation – You are never too old to be loved by Sally Cronin | Campbells World

  6. Darlene says:

    This is such a lovely story written by a master storyteller. Pass the tissues, please. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. bobcabkings says:

    Ani, it snowed here too, a lot, about 20cm. I think that’s almost enough for a small dog to burrow into.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh I was all choked up there, at the end. Put me in mind of my beloved kitty, Baby. She loved me so and I was completely wrapped around her paws. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wiping away a tear…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. that was heartwarming 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tarissa says:

    Oh, goodness! That was the sweetest story I’ve read in a while. And what an adorable picture of your collie…. SO CUTE! Thanks for sharing this Christmas cheer.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mary Smith says:

    What a lovely story – perfect. Do you have shares in Kleenex, Sally? I certainly needed them reading this.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. paulandruss says:


    Liked by 2 people

  14. A lovely story, Sally! Old doesn’t have to mean useless – Millie is 14 now (98 in dog years), and quieter and slower than she used to be, but that just makes her perfect for her new job – visiting human care homes and cheering up the residents!
    Just downloaded ‘What’s in a Name 2’.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Awwww! Sally, you always make me cry. Such a sweet story, I loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. dgkaye says:

    A most heartening story from Sally who is so gifted with her heartwarming story creations. Beautiful intro from Ani to Sally. And this time Sal, I had Kleenex near me before I started reading. ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ritu says:

    This is just such a beautiful story 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Eliza Waters says:

    Lovely story – esp. the happy ending. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  19. kanzensakura says:

    I love this story. A wonderful happy beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Widdershins says:

    What a wonderful story. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Jennie says:

    I am moved to tears. This is the best Christmas story, and thank you Sally! An old dog and Christmas. And, the children found him (it’s hard to type when tears blur your vision.). Merry Christmas, Ani!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Tina Frisco says:

    What a tearjerker, but such a happy ending. Feeling alone is devastating, especially during the holidays. I hope you receive many wonderful treats for posting this uplifting story, Ani. Thank you for sharing! You, too, Sally and Sue 🙂 Hugs all around ❤❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Adele Marie says:

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    Brought tears to my eyes, a wonderful story from Sally. Thank you, Sue, for hosting and thank you Ani too. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Ani (via Sue Vincent) sent out an invitation to send guest posts to fill her advent calendar.. I wrote her a special story.. You are never too old to be loved… if you missed it please head over to Sue’s to read. thanks Sally

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Really a beautiful story, Sally 🙂
    Lonely animals need homes yes, but not just in the Christmas. Much better when the family are back to normal and never as gifts for Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Oh, what a beautiful story, Sally. I am so glad that he got the love he deserved. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Sweet, sentimental, just a perfect Christmas story for Ani’s collection. Loved this one, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Lynda Jensen says:

    Bittersweet, beautiful story, Sally. I wish all the elderly dogs and cats without loving homes could find the joy of Christmas with elderly humans who could use the love of a devoted pet.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Ohh Sally, eyes full of tears. This is beautiful, thank you. ❤ XX

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Pingback: You're Never too old to be Loved by Sally Cronin

  31. Beautiful story, Sally, and so true – of all creatures, large and small, two legged and four. Thanks for sharing, Sue. <3.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Yes, tears in my eyes, my heart swells. Aging is not for sissies. But loyalty and love helps us all get a bounce back to our step. And being needed. May we always be needed. Wonderful story, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    More from Ani – and her human Sue 😉


  34. Carol says:

    Everything that x mgh x said…Pass the tissues please…

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Norah says:

    What a lovely post, Sue and Sally. It is true. You are never too old to be loved or to love. Such a warm teary-happy story for Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Deborah Jay says:

    That is so lovely, Sally, I’m selling up.

    Liked by 1 person

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