Dec. 8th- Jessie gets a new coat from Molly Claus

Santa woke Jessie up early and they visited the deer. Although Dancer was still in the medical wing, he had talked to the other deer, and they were friendly with the dog when she came to visit. Jessie had a good time playing with the young does until Santa called her to his side. Jessie ran to catch up with him and looked at him curiously.
“You can play with the does another day Jessie. Molly wants to measure you for another coat. It’s been warm the past few days but you will need a coat when it gets really cold.”Santa pulled his coat on and looked at the dog. Jessie’s ears were down and her head and tail were pointed towards the ground.
“Now, Jessie if you want to stay with us you will have to have a coat. Let’s go girl.”
Jessie walked behind Santa. She was not happy. The coat she had worn earlier made her feel like a stuffed marshmallow. It had been over-sized and the hat had continually fallen over her face. She didn’t want a coat but Santa said she had to have one. She really liked living with the Clauses. If they said she needed a coat then she’d get one, but she didn’t have to like it.
It didn’t take long to reach the Claus house and Molly was waiting for Jessie. She had a variety of fabrics piled high on the long wooden table. Sitting at the table were several elves. They each had a box with scissors, tape, needles and thread. They smiled as Santa and Jessie walked into the room.
“We’ve been looking forward to making your coat Jessie. These elves are members of the Elvin Junior Embroiderers Guild. They are learning to sew so that they can make stuffed toys, blankets and clothing for our distribution centres. They’re here to help me make you a coat.” Molly gestured to the elves at the table.
Jessie tentatively wagged her tail and walked further into the room. She licked Molly’s hand and laid down on the floor, her sad eyes looking at the pile of fabric.”
Molly laughed. “You’ll feel better once we’ve made you a coat that suits you. Now Jessie I need your help. Come up to the table please.”
Jessie shuffled to the table. There was an empty spot on the end of the bench. She climbed up and sat down on the bench ande looked at the elf sitting beside her. The elf was a boy and he looked to Jessie to be very young. His cheeks had a babyish roundness and when he spoke he talked with a lisp.
“Hello Jessie. My name is Morgan. My father is Himley. I believe you met him earlier. He said you were living with Molly and Santa. I’m pleased to be helping you with your coat. I hope you don’t mind embellishments. I love bling.”
Jessie cringed. She didn’t like flashy things. She didn’t want to look like a Christmas tree or like a couch for that matter. If she really did have to wear a coat she just wanted something plain.
“Now Jessie we have a number of fabrics to choose from. I’ll hold up some of my top choices. When you find something you like bark once.” Molly pulled a roll of fabric from the table and held it up for Jessie. It was green and yellow with pink and purple polka dots.
Jessie shivered. There was no way she was going to wear that. She scrunched her mouth tightly shut and lowered her head.
Molly waited several minutes hoping that Jessie would bark. When she did not respond she looked at the fabric in her hand and then began to speak. “I guess you didn’t like that fabric. It’s too bad. You would have looked so cute in it. Maybe you’re right. We should have something to match Santa in the sleigh. You don’t want to clash with his suit on Christmas Eve. “
Molly reached to the bottom of the stack of fabric and pulled and red and green swirled fabric from the bottom of the pile. She held it up in front of her face so that Jessie could see the full effect of the swirling pattern.
“What do you think Jessie? You’d look like a little elf if we use this pattern.” She lowered the fabric so she could look at the dog.
Jessie’s mouth was securely tightened. She looked at the pile of fabric. Enough was enough. She was not going to look like a couch. She looked around the table and spotted a bolt of soft black fabric near the bottom. Black matched her fur. Besides, it looked like a warm fabric.
Jessie jumped down off the bench and determinedly walked around the table. She jumped and placed her front paws on the table in front of the fabric and then began pushing the fabric bolt with her nose. She then looked at Molly and pointed again.
Molly looked at Jessie. “You can’t want black Jessie. If you want a more neutral colour how about a zebra print?”
Jessie pointed to the fabric again and again. She then jumped down off the table and went to sit by the fire in the kitchen. She sat down with her back to Molly.
Molly sighed. “All right Jessie. We’ll use the black fabric.”
Jessie twitched her tail slightly and then closed her eyes. She’d rather be asleep then watch the elves make her coat. Within minutes Jessie was stretched out sleeping in front of the fire.
Molly and the elves pulled the black fabric from the pile and Molly took a second look. It actually was a good choice. It was thick and would be warm. She could also embellish it a little with rivets and crystals. She looked at the dog. Not too many embellishments. Jessie would probably not wear the coat if she didn’t like it.
Molly and the elves sewed late into the afternoon. Molly worked on the jacket, Morgan worked on the hat and the others worked on the shoes. It was almost supper time when Molly looked at the completed product. She was pleased. She hadn’t expected the design to turn out so well but the black leather like appearance matched perfectly with Morgan’s black ball cap and the elves rhinestone embellished boots. She thanked the elves, showed them out the door, and then went over to the fire. She gently shook Jessie awake.
“Jessie, your coat is ready. You need to try it on so that I can make adjustments to the sizing.”
Jessie slowly stretched then stood up and then took as long as she could to walk to the table. She climbed back on the bench to take a look.
The table had been cleared and sitting on it was Jessie’s clothing. Molly grabbed the coat and gently put it on the dog. She then tied the dog’s shoes and placed her hat on Jessie’s head at a jaunty angle. She smiled at Jessie.
“It fits perfectly and you look dapper. Have a look in the mirror and see what you think, but let me take a photograph first. It will make a good photo for our calendar next year.
Molly pulled out a digital camera from the cupboard and held it in front of her face. “Smile, Jessie.”
Jessie looked upwards towards Molly and did the best she could tolook pleasant look on her face. She waited as Molly took at number of pictures. She finally tired of the photo-shoot and jumped off of the bench. She held up her front paw and tried walking forward. The boots were actually comfortable and they didn’t trip her like the ones she had worn earlier.
Jessie trotted over to a large mirror and looked at herself. The black jacket was fitted around her torso and was quite comfortable. The boots had rhinestones on them. She wasn’t particularly fond of the stones but she could live with them. But, she absolutely loved the hat. It was a ball cap. She’d always liked ball caps. She still didn’t want to wear clothes but if she had to wear them this would be the set to wear.
Molly walked over to the mirror and leaned down to the dog. “Do you like it Jessie. We want you to be happy here. Santa told me you don’t like clothes but they really are necessary. If we need to we’ll make as many coats as we have to until we find one that suits you.” A tear slowly ran down her face.
Jessie  licked Molly across her face. She buried her head in Molly’s lap and turned it back and forth.
“Does that mean you like the coat Jessie”? Molly wiped the tear off of her face.
Jessie sat up and yipped once. She then chased her tail in a circle.
“I’ll take that as a yes. I’m glad we found a compromise. With your new clothes you’ll be the coolest dog at the North Pole.”
Jessie’s ears perked up. Molly had said she was the coolest dog at the North Pole. Does that mean there were other dogs living here? She’d have to explore later but for now she wondered if there would be eggnog for supper.
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Dec. 7th – Jessie meets Dasher

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Jessie by the barn.

Jessie wagged her tail excitedly as the barn door came into view. The barn was painted red and green and was as large as a football field. Santa had told her this morning that the barn was where the deer lived during the winter months. He was going to supervise the treatment of Dasher who had caught a naasty flu virus just after their last trip. Santa had told her that she could come as long as she didn’t chase the reindeer.

As Santa walked up to the doors, Jessie walked in circles smelling the ground. There were so many fascinating smells that she couldn’t register them all. She knew she would smell deer, but she hadn’t realized that the barn held other animals. Her sensitive nose told her that somewhere within the building that there were cows, horses, pigs, chickens and cats. There were other scents but Santa called her before her brain told her what they were. Santa held the open door to the barn and motioned for her to enter the building.

Jessie entered the barn and looked around in amazement. The exterior walls led to stalls for the various animals that lived in the building. The doors were open allowing the animals to freely walk and converse among themselves.

In the centre of the building was a green space that reached high up into the sky under a clear dome. High above Jessie could hear Prancer talking to young reindeer and giving them flying instructions. Down below there were exercise stations, grazing areas and a lake.

Jessie sniffed once again. Rabbits. Jessie loved chasing rabbits. She really didn’t know why. She never hurt the animals; she just liked catching them. She looked at Santa who was looking directly at her. No, knowing Santa’s love of animals it would not be a good idea to hunt rabbits in the barn. She had already begun to love Santa so much that she would do anything for him.

Santa smiled and motioned for Jessie to follow him. He was talking to an elderly elf dressed in a long brown robe. He carried a bottle of medicine for Dancer. The smell was so foul that Jessie  wondered how Dancer could take it.

Santa, the elf and Jessie walked down a long corridor which led behind the stalls. Jessie zigzagged from one side to the other as they walked looking around. Most were empty as it was the middle of the day and the animals were in the dome. In one stall, however, Jessie found a mare and her young colt enjoying a meal of hay and oats. Jessie wagged her tail and edged her head under the stall door. She would have gone in but Santa once again called her.

“Jessie, it’s best that you stay with us. Most of the animals are friendly but if the mothers think you’re threatening their young you may get kicked. Besides, I’d like you to come see the reindeer. If you’re going to travel with me on Christmas Eve the deer will need to get used to your company and Dasher could use a diversion. He isn’t well today and meeting you might take his mind off of his illness.”

Jessie reversed her way out from the stall and hurried to follow Santa. She continued to look into the various rooms but kept up with Santa and did not try to enter any more of the stalls.

Around a corner they came to the reindeer house. It was a large room divided into stalls with a wall of feed and water. There were grooming areas and bathing areas and a hospital wing. Santa hurried to the hospital wing and opened a door to a room with large glass windows looking into the reindeer house and out to the dome. Lying on a bed of straw was Dancer.

Mucus was flowing from Dancer’s nose and occasionally he sneezed. He breathed heavily. At the sight of the dog he looked up and snorted. He moved to get up from the floor.

“Dancer, stay where you are. Jessie will not chase you. She is living with us at the Claus house and I’d like it if you and the rest of the reindeer will become friends. I could use someone to sit with me in the sleigh on Christmas Eve and I’d like her to come.” Santa gently pushed Dancer down to the ground and felt his forehead. He took the medicine from the elf and poured it down Dancer’s mouth.

Dancer snorted and spluttered. He shook his head violently and snorted again.

“I know it’s strong medicine Dancer, but you have a bad case of the flu. We don’t want it to spread to the young ones. I’m going to talk to the vet for a moment. Why don’t you and Jessie make friends?”

Santa petted Jessie on the head and moved out in the hall closing the door. He stood in front of the glass window looking in while talking to the vet. He had a curious expression on his face as he watched Jessie and Dancer.

Jessie wagged her tail and cautiously came closer to Dancer. She licked Dancer on the cheek. Dancer shook his head and snorted. He backed away into the corner turning his back on the dog.

Jessie lowered her head and her tail. She had to make friends with the reindeer if she didn’t Santa wouldn’t let her come with him on Christmas Eve and she really wanted to go. She wondered what she could do to convince Dancer that she meant no harm.

She walked over to the food station and gave a sniff. Directly above her was a tap and a pail lay below it. It was empty. Water! Maybe Dancer would like water. That medicine must taste horrible and Jessie knew how to turn on taps.

Jessie looked around the room for a cloth. She couldn’t turn the tap with her teeth she needed something to pull on. She sniffed around and looked up onto the wall. Hung with reins and curry combs there was a towel. It wasn’t very big but it should work.

Jessie hurried over to the wall and began jumping up to try to snatch the towel from the hook. She was having a hard time reaching it, but was determined she was going to pull it down. Little by little she began pulling the towel down to the ground.

Dancer, from the opposite end of the room, curiously watched as Jessie jumped up and down again and again. When Jessie grabbed the towel and wagged her tail at him, he turned his back once more on the dog.

Jessie lowered her ears but walked over to the tap. She carefully pulled the towel through the spaces in the tap handle. When she was finished the towel was folded in half. She grabbed the two ends in her mouth and pulled. The tap loosened and a small stream of water fell down into the pail below it. She pulled again and a steady stream of water began filling the pail. She waited until it filled the pail and overflowed into a drain below.

Jessie excitedly wagged her tail and picked up the pail’s handle in her teeth. The pail was very heavy but her jaws were strong and she really wanted to please Dancer. She walked across the room trailing water behind her. She stopped behind Dancer, put the pail down, and yipped startling the reindeer.

Dancer rolled over and knocked over the pail. When he saw the water on the floor, and the water pouring from the tap, he looked at the dog. He walked over to Jessie, gently nuzzled her and then went over to the tap and taking a drink. He returned and licked the dog’s head before going to sit in the hay again.

Santa opened the door. “Good news Dancer, the vet says that you should be able to rejoin your herd in a couple of days. Get well. Jessie and I will check on you again tomorrow. Jessie, time to go girl.” He held the door open wide for her.

Jessie hurried out of the room and sat on her haunches waiting for Chris to close the door and join her. When he had shut the door he turned and looked at her quizzically. Where did you learn to turn on taps Jessie? It was a fantastic idea. Now that you’ve made friends with Dancer he’ll convince the rest of the herd to be friends with you. I’m proud of you girl. Now, let’s go home.”

Jessie wagged her tail and followed santa out of the barn. She couldn’t wait to come back and explore. Maybe dancer could introduce her to the rabbits.

Dec. 6th – Jessie learns Santa is the real Santa Claus

To Jessie’s delight, Santa and Molly prepared a feast for Molly’s birthday lunch. Jessie was stuffed and could barely follow Santa into the living room after the meal. She watched as he lit a fire in the chimney, sat on the sofa, and began snoring softly in the afternoon darkness. Jessie quietly snuck onto the sofa looking to see if he was going to object. When Santa didn’t awake, she turned around in a circle and laid down with her head on a pillow. Her snores soon joined Santa’s.

When Jessie woke up it was hard for her to tell how long she had been sleeping. She knew it wasn’t suppertime yet as Molly hadn’t called her. In any case, while she was sleeping, two of the Elvin people had come into the living room and were sitting at a table in the corner with Santa.

One of the elves was the elf she had encountered in the kitchen and she was wary of gathering his attention. She kept her eyes closed and pretended to be sleeping while she listened to Santa and the elves talk.

“So, you’ve updated the address database again Himley. I hope this will work out better than last year’s software upgrade. It cost us several million dollars to hire elves to re-input the children’s names and addresses that were lost. “Santa  pushed his wire rimmed glasses up his face and pulled the computer on the desk closer to him. He squinted and looked at the screen.

“Now Santa, you know that wasn’t our fault. The power went out when the upgrade was half way done and corrupted the data. The database upgrade has already occurred and all of the children have been entered. We’ve even upgraded the interface so that our agents can monitor both the ‘Naughty and Nice’ list and the ‘wish list’ more closely this year. We were very embarrassed when you delivered lipstick to Tommy Milkins. I guarantee it will not happen again.” Himley slammed his fist on the table to emphasize his point. He turned red when Santa looked at him quizzically.

Jessie looked at Santa. Jessie knew Molly called Chris Santa, but she hadn’t realized other people did as well. The only Santa she knew that people called by name was Santa Claus.   Could Chris be the real Santa Claus?

Jessie thought back to last year.  Santa last year had brought her a fluffy dog toy.  She had gotten a glimpse of the jolly man when she woke up while he was at the tree.  Chris doesn’t look like Santa Jessie had seen. In fact for some reason he looked younger every day.

Yesterday, there had been fine lines around his eyes and his hair had been white around the temples. Now his hair was fire engine red, and his face was soft and chubby. Chris looked nothing like Santa.

From across the room Santa looked at Jessie and smiled. He closed the computer. “I trust your instincts Himley. Just keep me informed if any errors are found with the data. Now, today’s a holiday. Why don’t you go and enjoy a meal with your family. The list will wait until tomorrow.”

Chris showed Himley to the door and said good-bye. He came and sat down beside Jessie. He petted her soft fur and rumpled her ears.

“Yes Jessie, I am Santa Claus or at least the latest Santa Claus. My family has been in the business for many years. Each generation hands down the position to the youngest son of the family. I know I don’t look like Santa but Christmas Magic transforms my appearance a week before Christmas every year. Santa Claus is my business name. Christopher Cringle is my real name.” Chris got up and crossed the room where he stoked the coals in the fire.

“You’ve always been a good dog Jessie, and when I saw in my magic snowball that you were homeless I set out to find you. I hoped you’d decide to come and live with us. I know you miss the lady you lived with before, but I hope you’ll be happy here. Maybe this year you can come with me on my Christmas journey. It’s a long night travelling by myself.

But, if you decide you’d rather live with a normal family I’ll find you one. I promised I’d take care of you and I intend to take care of that promise.” Santa looked directly into Jessie’s eyes.

Jessie was confused. Somehow Santa had known what she was thinking. It made her slightly uncomfortable, but she loved Santa and Molly. They had been so kind to her since she’d come to the North Pole. She had to make Santa know that she loved them and wanted to stay with them.

Jessie wagged her tail and began licking Santa across his face. She continued licking until Santa laughed and then protested. “Thanks Jessie but you don’t need to give me a bath. I’m glad you’ve decided to stay with us. I’ve gotten rather attached to you in the last couple of days. Now, let’s go sneak some eggnog from the kitchen.

Jessie smiled and jumped down. She couldn’t believe that Santa Claus was her friend. Today she felt like she was the luckiest dog in the world. A new home, a new life, and a kind family; Jessie had everything that she had ever wanted.

Dec. 5th – Jessie celebrates Molly’s birthday

It was 11:30 p.m. and Santa woke Jessie from where she slept in front of the fire. She dozily looked up at Santa, yawned, and turned in a circle to lie down and go back to sleep. She thought that it was much too late.

“Wake up Jessie! It’s Molly’s birthday and we’re going to celebrate. Let’s go outside and see what the elves are up to.” Santa pulled out a jacket Mrs. C had made for Jessie and gently put it on the squirming dog.

“Now, Jessie you need this jacket. It’s really cold out tonight. Even the deer are huddling together to keep warm”

Jessie was not happy but sat still for Santa. When he was finished she took a look at herself in a nearby mirror. She was adorned in red and green plaid from head to toe. Her outfit even had matching booties to protect her feet. Jessie hung her head low. She raised her legs up and down trying to free them from her booties.

Santa laughed. “I know the shoes are uncomfortable Jessie but they are necessary. You’ll get used to them. Now let’s go outside. Mrs. C. is waiting at the eggnog station.”

At the sound of the word eggnog Jessie’s ears perked up and she walked to the door as quickly as she could. She wasn’t used to the shoes and her movement looked like a combination dancing and wobbling.

Santa smiled when he saw the dog but didn’t laugh. Jessie had to wear the clothing to protect herself from the bitter wind. He didn’t want the dog to dislike the clothing any more than she did now.

Santa and Jessie walked outside the door and headed around the steel tree. Jessie stopped and looked around. There were so many elves surrounding them that Jessie couldn’t count them. There were big elves, little elves, young elves and old elves. Each of the elves seemed to be in a merry mood.

Wherever Jessie looked the elves were having fun. Some of the elves were building snow sculptures and snow structures. Others were rolling fruitcakes down a slope knocking down the snow creations. On a big stage several elves stood in front of a microphone. They held mugs of chocolate and were singing as loud as they could. The result was a large tinny noise that bothered Jessie’s ears.

Jessie shook her head from side to side. The little hat on her head slid down over her eyes. Jessie tried to pull the hat off using her front foreleg. She almost had the hat off when Santa chuckled, reached down and put the hat back in its original position.

Jessie sighed but was too interested in what was going on to worry about the hat. Directly in front of her was Mrs. C. She was standing at a little station where two were helping her dispense eggnog and sugar cookies to crowd. When she saw Jessie she smiled and chuckled.

“Santa tells me that you don’t like your coat Jessie. Well I can see why. You look like a couch in that plaid and you hat is way too big. I tell you what. We’ll pick out some fabric together and I’ll make you a new outfit tomorrow. Now, someone here likes eggnog. If you shake my hand I’ll give you a saucer full.”

Jessie’s tail wagged causing small tornados of snow flying behind her.  She sat down and raised her hand for Molly. Molly smiled and gave the dog her saucer of eggnog.

When Jessie was finished with the treat Santa petted her on the head. “Come on Jessie. It’s almost midnight and I always lead the count down to Molly’s birthday. This year you can help me. Come on girl. Let’s go up on the stage.”

Jessie wasn’t sure what Santa meant by a countdown but she would follow him anywhere. She walked with him up on the stage where a young elf dressed in sequins was holding a microphone. When Santa approached she handed him the microphone. Santa looked at his watch and then began counting down numbers. Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Happy, happy birthday Molly!

The circle in front of Jessie erupted with singing, toy drums, trumpets and an electric guitar. The noise was almost unbearable for Jessie, and she began to back away. Santa reached down to steady the dog. He held up his hand and the noise surrounding them ceased.

Santa began to talk to the throng “I’d like to thank Molly for her work this year, and for her continual love and support.”  Santa leaned over and kissed Mrs. C on the cheek.

“Now for what everyone has been waiting for. Let’s start the light show.”

Santa raised his hand and from somewhere out on the tundra beautiful music began to play. Softly, slowly lights in the sky began to ebb and flow in time with the music dancing in and out of the stars. Jessie watched as green, blue and purple ebbed in and out of view. The combination of music and lights were so beautiful that Jessie whimpered and leaned against Santa’s leg.

Jessie was happy Molly was having a birthday party.  She had grown to love Santa and Molly in the short time she had lived with them.  Somehow she knew that the next year was going to be happy for her.  Somehow, it seemed like this was a celebration for her too. To her it was a  celebration of finding a home and a family.

Jessie looked at the light show again.  Somehow she knew that this  was truly Santa Magic. It was full of love and caring and Jessie knew that this is where she belonged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One dog's Chronicles of a year in Santa Claus's life

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