Santa, Molly and Jessie walked down the main road towards the town centre. They were walking through the grounds of the North Pole’s Elvin Winter Carnival.
Jessie had never seen a winter carnival before. She was entranced by the sights, sounds and smells. There were so many interesting people to watch that Santa had to gently tug on the leash to keep her walking with him.
Santa led Jessie around the corner to Ice Avenue. Located on the periphery of the carnival, it held hundreds of ice sculptures. This year’s theme for the carvings was the polar bear, and sculptors from around the pole were in various stages of carving solid ice bricks into whimsical shapes. Jessie watched as lights from above shone down on the sculptures, making them look like they gleamed from within. She abruptly sat on her haunches, and panted as she watched a young boy carve a small ball. Two ice polar bear cubs sandwiched the ball. The effect was that they were playing a game of soccer on an ice field.
Jessie liked the sculpture, but she liked watching the boy more. She had always liked children and would have liked to have gone over to make friends with the boy, but Santa said “Later Jessie”. Jessie obediently walked away with Santa.
They walked down to the side of the ocean where a large tent was set up. Jessie watched as people of all kinds came out of the tent wearing bathing suits. They were wrapped in towels with boots on their feet. The people stood at the edge of the water waiting for Santa.
Santa walked up to a microphone with Jessie on her lead. “Hello, everyone. Welcome to the 150th annual North Pole Polar Bear Dip. These brave souls have agreed to take a dip in this freezing water to raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes. Let’s give everyone a hand.” Santa began clapping, followed by rigorous applause from the spectators.
“I hereby call the North Pole Polar Bear dip open. Swimmers, take your spots.” Santa raised his hand and then let it fall. As it fell towards the ground, Jessie watched as participants jumped into the icy water. There were hundreds of participants jumping in. As soon as they dunked in, they ran out and draped themselves in towels. She watched a second wave of swimmers run and jump into the water. To Jessie, it looked like everyone was having a merry time.
Although Jessie watched all of the contestants, she particularly watched the children. On the third wave of swimmers Jessie watched as one Elvin girl ran, and tried jumping into the water. She missed, fell, and knocked her head on the side of the ice. She slid into the water unconscious.
Jessie waited. Surely, the adults beside her had noticed. Jessie stood up. No one was going to help. No one must have noticed. Jessie pulled on the lead and tried to pull Santa over to the water. Santa leaned down and petted the dog and then continued to talk to a group of the spectators.
Jessie whined and pulled on the lead, but Santa was deep in conversation and didn’t notice the dog. He did notice when Jessie pulled herself out of her collar and sprang towards the water.
Built to run, Jessie was at the edge of the water in seconds. She jumped into the water, and pulled at the girls swimming suit, trying to pull her up onto the snow. She pulled, and pulled, but the fabric of the bathing suit was stretchy, and she found the fabric snapped out of her jaws. Fortunately, her efforts alerted Santa to the drowning girl. He bellowed at the closest men to the girl. One man reached down, and picked the girl up and carried her to the tent. Another, pair of hands picked the dog up, and carried her there as well.
Jessie struggled. She wanted to get down to help the girl. Molly ran up with several towels, and began wrapping, and drying the dog. “Sit still Jessie! Santa has gone to help the girl. You’ve done everything you could.” Molly kissed Jessie on the nose and fluffed her fur.
About 15 minutes later Jessie was drying by a heater. She and Molly waited on the inner edge of the tent for Santa to come, and tell them if the girl was alive. Jessie kept whining, and Molly couldn’t console her. Finally, they saw Santa walking towards them with a big smile. “The girl is going to be fine Jessie. You saved her life.”
Jessie wagged her tail, and yipped as Molly grabbed Jessie around the neck. “You’re a hero Jessie. You’re the hero of the carnival.”