Running through the streamers and balloons of Claus Park were dogs of all sizes and Jessie was exhausted. Molly had invited all of the dogs from the North Pole to come to a birthday party for Jessie. Almost all of the dogs in the town to come to celebrate. Molly was busy all day preparing food and welcoming guests. She let Jessie play with any of the dogs she wished.
Now that it was nearing the end of the day and the dogs and their families had gone home. Molly and Santa had retreated to the living room where Jessie was happily sleeping on the couch. The pair talked between themselves until Jessie woke with a big stretch and a yawn. She wagged her tail and trotted over to Santa to be petted.
Santa smiled. “I’m glad you’re awake Jessie. Molly and I have another present for you. Since, you’ll be living permanently with us, and traveling with me on the sleigh every year, we’ve decided that we should give you more sleigh riding lessons tomorrow. You almost fell out of the sleigh on Christmas Eve and I don’t want you to get hurt. Would you like to go for another ride?”
Jessie whined and barked excitedly. Since meeting the reindeer earlier she had wanted to get to know them better and make friends. Besides, she really wanted to go with Santa more often. If she needed more training she wanted it as early as possible.
Jessie sat on her haunches and looked excitedly between Santa and Molly.
“You’re lessons actually begin inside. You need to follow several rules . Do you think you want to ride on the sleigh again?”
Jessie barked and turned herself in a circle. She climbed up on the couch between Molly and Santa and smothered the pair in kisses.
“Excellent! Let’s begin. First, and foremost it is cold up where we travel. It won’t bother you as much as it does me because of your fur but it won’t won’t be enough to protect you all night when the temperature drops. Christmas Eve was warm this year. You must keep your coat on. You can’t take it off like you tried to this year.”
Santa reached behind the couch and pulled out a red fur trimmed coat and hat. It was embroidered with Jessie’s name and had gold buttons down the front. Black trimmed boots completed the outfit.
Jessie looked at the clothes questioningly. She didn’t like clothes but if she had to wear them to travel with Santa again then she would. Jessie jumped off the couch and sat in front of Molly, and waited for her to put the suit on her. When she was fully dressed Molly pulled out her digital camera and snapped a few pictures.
“Jessie, you’re adorable. Your picture could be on a postcard.” Molly smiled, her dimples dancing on her pudgy face. “If you don’t watch out Santa then Jessie will take your job.”
Santa smiled and cleared his throat. “Now Jessie, the second rule is this. You must never, ever, lean outside of the sleigh. If you lose your balance you could fall down to the ground. Do you understand Jessie You almost fell out Christmas Eve?”
Jessie moved in front of Santa and barked.
“OK, Jessie. The next rule is that you must never bark at the reindeer. If the reindeer get distracted we could end up in Egypt when we wanted to go to England. The final rule Jessie is that if anything happens to me when I’m in a house you are to come back to the North Pole with the reindeer. You are not to worry about me, or wait for me. Understand, Jessie?”
Jessie barked. She was not so sure about traveling by reindeer any more. Bone chilling cold, falling out of the sleigh, Santa going missing, all of these possibilities scared her. Yet, at the same time she wouldn’t be left behind for anything. If Santa was going on the sleigh so was she. Besides, the trip on Christmas Eve had been fun and she wanted to go with Santa every year. Jessie barked again and stood by the door.
“Tomorrow, Jessie. We’ll go tomorrow. I’m glad you’ve decided to come with me again . I’ve been hoping that you would keep me company more often” Santa took of Jessie’s hat and ruffled her fur. “Now, let’s have a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we fly.”