Jessie stomped down on the crunchy leaves and wagged her tail as she followed the path behind Santa. They were visiting Molly’s sister in Southern Ontario where the leaves were now red, orange and yellow. Jessie poked her nose at a particularly big one sending it scattering across the sidewalk. She hurried after it, caught it in her mouth and pushed Santa’s leg to get his attention.
“It’s nice to see you enjoying yourself, Jessie. Aren’t the trees beautiful?”
Jessie wagged her tail and then sniffed the air. She looked around and up high into the oak tree. Then as fast as she could she zipped to the tree and jumped up on the bark A deep roar came from her throat as she jumped around the tree trunk.
“Jessie, what is it?” Santa hurried over and looked into the canopy of leaves. “Well, my goodness, it’s a squirrel. Come here, little one.”
The squirrel rose its tail and chattered. It dropped the acorn from its tiny paws onto the ground. Cautiously, the animal came forward and jumped onto Santa’s shoulder. It chattered in Santa’s ear.
Jessie jumped down and sat on her haunches. She growled as the Santa talked to the squirrel.
“My, my. I see. I’m glad to meet you Herbie. I’m Santa Claus and this is Jessie. She’s really a good dog. Let’s see if we can make a new friend.” Santa held out his hand for the squirrel to jump on it and then held it down towards Jessie.
“Jessie, you’ve all kinds of friends at home. Can’t you make a friend of Herbie for me?”
Jessie lowered her ears and looked curiously at the squirrel. She wasn’t too sure about making friends. She used to love chasing squirrels but if Santa wanted her to make a friend of Herbie she would. She’d do anything for Santa.
Santa was now holding the squirrel in front of Jessie’s nose. She sniffed its fur and then licked it on its back.
Herbie jumped off Santa’s hand and onto Jessie’s back. He walked up to Jessie’s head and sat at the base of her ears.
Jessie sighed. Santa said she would be friends but she didn’t have to like it. She lowered her head so the squirrel could scramble off her head to the ground.
“Good girl, Jessie. Let’s continue our walk and leave Herbie so that he can collect his dinner.
Good-bye, Herbie. We walk this path often when were here. We’ll see you again.” Santa placed Herbie on the floor and watched as the squirrel scampered over Jessie’s paws and back up the tree.
Santa whistled at Jessie and she ran to follow Santa down the gold, and crimson path knowing they’d made a new friend.