Jessie scrambled under the table trying to avoid the running feet. She was in a hall in Toronto, Ontario attending the annual ornament sale with Molly. Every year Santa sold off the last year’s extra ornaments to companies from around the world. His ornaments were of such high quality that buyers flew in from places as far away as Australia and South Africa. The money raised was used for research for new ornaments for the next year.
Jessie peaked out from under the table. All she could see was legs and she was getting frightened. She had wandered away from Santa earlier in the day hadn’t seen Santa or Molly for over an hour. Jessie was frightened. She didn’t want to lose her friends. She decided that the only thing she could do was leave the safety of the table and sniff down the tables looking for either Santa or Molly.
The dog cautiously dodged a man carrying a tote bag full to the brim with ornaments and smelt the leg of the table. She smelt a definite hint of peppermint and ginger. Molly had been near the table sometime within the last few minutes.Jessie broke into a trot looking side by side for her friends. But nowhere could she find them. They weren’t at the refreshment stand, they weren’t at the conference table and they weren’t at the admissions area. The building was so huge that Jessie began to panic. She sat down on her haunches, raised her ears and let out a deep howl that could be heard throughout the building.
The people around her stopped their business and stared at the dog. “What’s a dog doing in here ?” asked one man. “Probably she ducked in when the door was open. Does she have a name on her collar?”
Well meaning people crept closer to Jessie to check her tags but the dog was scared. She howled once more and then bolted for the stage. She ran up on top of the platform where a blonde woman dressed in a Christmas red evening gown was showing porcelain angels to the crowd.
Not knowing what to do the dog hid behind the woman and shook. She lay down on the floor and hid her head in her paws. She sat there and whimpered until a kindly hand stroked her fur and lifted her head. It was Santa.
“Jessie, I’m sorry we lost you. One moment you were there and the next we were separated. I’ve been looking for you ever since. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t have left without you. I think maybe while were here we should put your lead on so that we can keep close together. What do you think, girl?”
The dog sighed joyfully and happily allowed Santa to put the lead on her. She hopped off the platform and followed Santa off stage to a little table where Molly was sitting adding up the revenue from the sale.
“If the sales keep up like this Santa we’ll be able to put the expansion on our research facility this year.” Molly looked up and smiled. ” I see you found our errant friend.” She leaned down and kissed Jessie on the head. “We’ve been worried about you.”
Molly sneaked a dog treat out of her purse and handed it to the dog when Santa turned to talk to a customer. “Just our secret, Jessie. OK?”
Jessie licked Molly on the nose as she laughed and planted herself firmly between Santa and Molly. She had no desire to explore any more. She had found a family and she was determined to stay with them. The sights, smells and sensations of the sale weren’t enough to make her move even if there were a fire. Jessie had found a home and a loving family and that was good enough for her.