Jessie ran into Angel’s pen and enthusiastically licked her across the face. She whined and thumped her tail against the ground.
Angel patiently waited for Jessie to stop and when she didn’t she let out a low but friendly growl.
Santa laughed. He had been so busy lately he hadn’t had chance to visit the farm where Angel lived. Santa wanted Jessie to have friends and he had to check on the care of the sick animals, So Santa packed Jessie onto his snowmobile and headed out towards the outskirts of the village.
Santa was pleased that Angel and Jessie got along so well. He wanted Jessie to be happy at the North Pole and having friends would help.
“I’m heading in to check on Willy the polar bear. His paw got caught in a trap, and has a nasty infection. Why don’t you hang around here until Myles comes by Jessie,and then meet me at the veterinary clinic.”
Jessie perked up her ears and looked quizzically at Santa. She did not know who Myles was.
Santa smiled. “Myles takes care of the dog, and is training them to run on a sled team. Angel is the lead dog. It’s important in the north to have a dog team available in case of medical emergencies. Sometimes, they are the only way that we can reach some of the exterior parts of the village. Our machines sometimes aren’t as adept at finding things in blowing snow. Now, I’m headed off. Have a good visit.”
Santa strode off towards a building not far away. He wasn’t in the door more than a minute before a small man with red hair, crinkly skin and a pronounced stoop came into Angel’s pen.
“Time to practice on the sled Angel.” Myles stopped and stared at Jessie. “Another dog, who are you girl?”
The man circled around Jessie and looked at her with a frown on his face. “Big haunches, strong build, big paws…hmmm. She might just work on the team. Though, it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t tell me there was a new dog. ”
The man rubbed his chin and looked at the dog’s collar. “Jessie. So, your name is Jessie. Would you like to run with Angel on the dog team Jessie? We’ll give you a try and if you can keep up we’ll start your training a.s.a.p..
Jessie jumped up in a circle and thumped her tail on the ground. She came forward when Myles brought out a lead. He clicked the harness in place and then joined Angel to her. “We’ll try with just Angel today. The sled is very light,and the two of you should be able to pull it. Now Jessie, you need to take your lead from Angel. When she goes forward you go with her. When she slows, you do the same thing. When she stops you must stop on a pin drop. Okay, Jessie?”
Jessie barked and stood up. She nuzzled Angel’s back leg and waited.
“All right head to the building and back. Angel, not too fast. We want Jessie to get the feel of the harness, and the sled.”
Angel took off slowly and then increased her speed.
Jessie was startled at first by Angel’s smooth and quick movement. She was a quick learner but soon she was happily running at Angel’s feet. Her long legs spread out in graceful arc, and the pair picked up more, and more speed.
At the door of the far building, Angel gracefully maneuvered them in an arc and they circled back towards the dog play area. Very soon, Jessie and Angel had returned to Myles and were happily yapping and licking each other.
“Why Jessie, you’re a natural. I don’t know where they found you, but you’ll be a welcome addition to the team,” Myles smiled and rubbed his chin.
“Now wait one minute Myles,” called Santa. “Jessie is my companion. She’s just here to visit Angel while I was looking into Willie’s injuries. I hope she hasn’t interfered with your training.”
“Not at all. She’d be a welcome member of the team. She’d have to live here of course. But, you don’t get a dog that learns as easily very often. Are you sure she can’t stay here?” Myles frowned, and stroked Jessie’s back. He removed the harness from her black and hung it up on a hook on the wall.
As soon as the harness was off, Jessie backed away from Myles and moved to lean against Santa’s leg. She gently rubbed her head against his knee.
“I’m sure Myles. Jessie is a very special animal. It doesn’t surprise me she took so well to the sled. But, Molly and I would be heartbroken if she didn’t come home. We’ll be back to visit Angel though. Perhaps, you could use Jessie to help keep Angel in shape. She could come and run her around the paddock once in awhile. Would you like that Jessie?” Santa asked.
Jessie barked.. She was happy. She didn’t want to leave Santa and Molly. But, she didn’t have to. She could be Santa’s companion and a sled dog too!