Santa smiled and looked at Jessie. “Where will we start girl? Do you want to eat first, or go play ball?” Jessie’s ears perked up at the sound of food, and Santa took it as a sign she was hungry. He led Jessie down a number of aisles deeper into the crowd.
As Jessie entered the food area of the carnival the most wonderful scents filled her nose. She sniffed the air and sat back on her haunches. In the stalls directly in front of them she could smell hamburgers, donuts and moose dogs. Jessie wagged her tail fiercely and nudged Santa with her nose.
Santa laughed and led them up to the hamburger stand. He purchased a burger for himself and a junior burger for Jessie. Santa then led Jessie to a bench and unwrapped the food for the dog. Jessie snatched the burger from Santa’s hand and then gulped it down in 3 bites.
Jessie wagged her tail with a thump and then began nudging Santa harder with her nose. When Santa ignored her and unwrapped his burger Jessie sat up and begged.
Santa ignored her. Eventually, when Jessie realized she was not getting the attention she wanted, she bopped Santa hand with her nose.
Santa dropped the remainder of his burger on the ground and Jessie snatched it up. She circled around the food as she tore into the meat and woofed it down. She finished the few crumbs she could find and then wagged her tail. She trotted up to Santa, put her head on his knee and licked his hand.
Instead of berating the dog, Santa sighed. He forgot that only a few short days ago Jessie was a stray and as a stray dog Jessie had known hunger. He knew that since they had come to the North Pole Jessie was obsessed with food. Santa didn’t really blame her. After all she had to have been resourceful to survive on the streets. But here, she had all the food she needed. If Santa and Molly weren’t careful Jessie would become overweight. Not the magic weight Santa gained every Christmas but real weight. He loved her too much to let her become ill.
Santa blamed himself. There were much better attractions at the fair that he could show the dog and tomorrow they’d enjoy some non-food fun. Santa petted Jessie on the head. “Let’s go girl. Time to go for a jog home.”