Jessie turned her tail towards her body and curled in a ball. She was so hot that she no longer felt the soft snow falling down on her matted fur. She shivered, whimpered and thought back to her old home. The elderly woman she had lived with had been kind to her. She had always had a bed by the fire, fresh bones, and a warm lap to sleep on. When the old woman died suddenly Jessie had wandered into the streets of Thunder Bay looking for a new friend and a cool place to stay.
Jessie had been alone for several month. She had attempted to make friends with some people but had not found a home. Most people had been kind. Some had petted her. Some had given her donuts and meat, but no one had thought to give her shelter. Now that the weather was turning colder it was too cold to live on the street.
Jessie’s stomach grumbled. She forced herself to walk to the nearby trash and rummage through the scraps for something edible. She had her back turned to the street when a shadow appeared over her. She took a sniff. A male human. The scruff off her neck went rigid and then slowly softened as her excellent instincts told her that the man was kind.
Jessie wagged the tip of her tail, turned and looked curiously up. The man held a plate filled with the turkey and mashed potatoes. Jessie’s stomach growled even louder and her tail wagged furiously. The man smiled, and placed the plate close enough to Jessie that she could eat the meal without moving. He backed away and walked over to a pile of old tires. He sat down on them and waited.
Jessie, too hungry to be concerned with the man, ravenously gobbled up strips of turkey and gobs of mashed potato. She shakily circled the plate licking every drop of gravy until the plate shone. When she was done, she wagged her tail once more, lowered her head and walked closer to the man. She bowed her head and licked the man’s glove in thanks.
The man looked down kindly at the dog and chuckled. When Jessie cocked her head curiously he laughed. The sound boomed from the man’s chest and startled Jessie. It reminded Jessie of the trucks that backfired down by the edge of the town.
“You must be wondering who I am,” said the man to the dog. “I’m Santa Claus and I could use a resourceful dog like you to come and work for me at my warehouse. I run a toy conglomerate up north and the little people who manufacture our toys need someone to help keep our wares safe. So what do you say girl, will you come live with me?”
The man put the tip of his finger against his temple and scrunched up his nose. “I believe that my rattled old brain tells me that your name is Jessie. I once had a great aunt Jessie. She used to disco dance with a band and she only had one arm. But that’s a story for another day.” He smiled at the dog and motioned slightly for her to follow him. “Jessie, will you come live with me?”
Jessie cocked her head once more and turned her head from side to side. She thought about the offer. A warm warehouse to sleep in and tasty food to eat. Was this man as kind as he seemed to be?
Jessie looked Santa in the eyes. She had always found that she could judge a human by the way they looked at her. A man’s eyes revealed what was in his heart. Santa’s were a bright blue. They twinkled with good humour and softened when he saw the dog staring at him.”
“Please come girl. Mrs. Clause and I could use a good companion.”
Santa stood up and motioned towards a jeep several metres away. His shiny rubber boots squeaked as he moved.
Jessie raised her ears. She quietly moved closer to the man, and raised a paw to shake the man’s hand. Jessie and Samta Claus were now friends and Jessie was moving to the North Pole.