Jessie woke to the sound of excited laughter. She perked up her ears, stretched her long back legs and then pranced towards the smell of bacon.
In the kitchen she found Molly frying up bacon and flipping pancakes on an antique stove. Seven of the Elvin people were chattering to Molly. Jessie couldn’t understand what they were saying, but Molly was listening from the stove and seemed to understand their chirping voices.
Out of the corner of her eye Molly noticed Jessie who was sniffing the delicious aromas in the air. Molly pulled a plate off the shelf and doled out pancakes, syrup and bacon. Jessie was in heaven. Her long tail snapped the ground and she held up her paw to shake Molly’s hand. Molly laughed and placed the plate on the floor.
Jessie gulped down the food and then pushed the plate across the room licking every last drop of syrup from the plate.
‘Leave the plate Jessie,” Molly said, “As long as you live with us you will have plenty of food. The girls and I are making samples of candy for this year’s treat boxes and it might be dangerous to have you around today. You’d eat everything.” She smiled and ruffled the dog’s fur. “Santa is in his office. Why don’t you go join him?”
Molly pointed to a large carved oak door. It was ajar enough that Jessie could just push her way through into the room.
Jessie cocked her ears, wagged her tail, and trotted across the office to Santa. He was sitting in an office chair and leaning back with his feet on a large mahogany desk. He was asleep, and as he slept he seemed to be mapping the country in his sleep; “Exeter 12, London 12:05, Kitchener 12:15, Toronto 12:30.” A large snort came from his nose. Jessie watched as a feather floated up off the desk and gently floated to the floor. She ran in circles chasing it downwards. When it landed on the ground she played with it for several moments until she got bored.
Jessie decided to explore the room until Santa woke up. She didn’t want to wake him. She’d just found a home and she didn’t want to lose it.
Jessie looked around the room. It was filled with objects that would entrance any child. There were trains, carousels, tops, blocks, dolls, robots, computers and all sorts of other toys. They were all piled haphazardly around the room.
Along one wall was a bookcase filled from top to bottom with books. Hanging from the ceiling were model airplanes and spaceships. Underneath the aromas of the cluttered room Jesse could smell a familiar smell. She raised her head and took a big sniff just to be sure. Eggnog. Jessie loved eggnog and the scent was very strong in the room.
Jessie put her nose down and began sniffing. She sniffed in circles all around the floor but she could not find a dispenser of any kind. When she moved closer to the bookcase the smell was stronger. She sniffed up and down the bottom shelves and then jumped up and leaned against the higher shelves. She could not find a pitcher anywhere. She continued sniffing along the edge.
At the very end of the bookcase she accidentally pushed a loose book off the shelf. As it fell to the floor the shelf began to split in half and move inwards. When the doors opened a large commercial kitchen appeared.
Jessie wagged her tail as several Elvin cooks stopped to look, When Santa did not appear behind her they went back to working.
Jessie, mesmerized by the smell of eggnog, began to wander around the room. Her tail was wagging as fast as a jet plane. She could smell gingerbread, chocolate, peppermint, shortbread and the eggnog that had drawn her to the room.
Jessie jostled around the room. She carefully tried to avoid the elves while looking for the eggnog. She was surprised when an elf in a large chef’s hat pointed at the dog and yelled in a small squeaky voice. “Dog hair in my kitchen. I think notl This will not do at hall. Who let the dog in here?” He jumped down off his platform and moved to catch Jessie.
The dog, who was frightened by the attention, began backing up while the elves approached her from the front and side. This left Jessie nowhere to go but backwards.
She ran back several feet and backed into a lever on the wall. The lever shifted and a large door opened above her. Flour rained down on the dog’s fur.
Jessie was even more scared, and was now sneezing from the flour. She rain around the room trailing flour into the chocolate machine and slid into the eggnog fridge. The fridge slowly toppled over and spilt eggnog pooled around Jessie’s legs. Her deep black and brown legs were now cream coloured and her hair was matted and masked in flour and liquid.
The elves tried to push the dog out the door, but Jessie was so scared, that she dug her claws into the floor. She was struggling against the elves when santa came into the room. He took one look at the mess and called the dog. “Jessie, come here!”
The elves released the dog and Jessie slowly walked across the room with her tail hanging down and her ears almost reaching the floor. She sat at Santas’s feet looking at the floor and sneezed once more.
Santa looked at the mess and sighed. He looked at the dog again. The expression in his eyes softened. The poor animal must be terrified, he thought. She looked so forlorn that he couldn’t help but fall a little more in love with the animal. She may turn out to be mischievous he thought but so was I when I was young.
Santa leaned down and gently pulled the dog’s chin up so that she was looking at him. He spoke softly. “It’s okay girl. When I was a lad, and my dad was running the shop, I put sneezing powder in the gingerbread. The elves had sneezing fits for a week. Let’s go get a bath and see if Mrs. C can get us some of our own eggnog.” He gently picked up the dog and walked out of the room leaving the elves to clean up the mess.
Jessie grinned and licked Santa on the cheek. It was at that moment Jessie knew that she had a forever home.