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Dec. 3rd – Jessie follows her nose.

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.

Dec. 2nd- Jessie meets Mrs Claus

Jessie awoke abruptly wheels in the plane lowered. During the flight from Thunder Bay to the North Pole, she had slept happily beside Santa Claus

in the cockpit. Santa Claus had proven to be an excellent pilot and turbulence had only woken her once. Now, she jumped on the vacant seat in the cockpit, and looked out the big windows in the front of the plane. She yipped in surprise. They were taxiing down a road made of ice. It led past mounds of high snow directly into an ice fog.

Jessie looked at Santa Claus. He did not seemed concerned. Jessie whimpered and put the paws over her eyes.

Santa Claus laughed. “There’s nothing wrong Jessie. Just wait. Just past the ice fog is our home. Welcome to the North Pole girl.”

As his words faded the plane entered the fog, and Jessie raised her paw and looked out the window. The fog seemed to go on for ever, but after a long time the plane skidded to a stop in front of an ice blue building. All around the building people were busily pushing dollies onto waiting planes. The planes were all different and they were all from different countries.

‘We ship our goods from here to many countries where we store the toys in warehouses until the Christmas season,“ Santa Claus said. He unbuckled his seat belt and patted the dog on the head.

“Come on Jessie. Let’s go meet Mrs. Claus.”

Jessie wagged her tail and jumped off the seat. She followed Santa Claus as close as she could. She’d found a new friend and was not about to lose him in the hustle and bustle of the airport.

Santa Claus grabbed a cart and told Jessie to jump in. The dog complied and they began whizzing across the airport towards the north end. Jessie was smiling and her tongue was waving in the wind. They were going so fast across the airport that the people whizzed by. Everyone who saw them smiled and waved and said hello to Santa Claus.

At the North end of the building Santa Claus hopped down. Jessie followed and jogged past Santa Claus out the doors. She stopped in surprise. On the white tundra a large town was surrounded by clouds of fog. The fog floated just above the tops of the buildings hiding them from the view of the outside world. The buildings were painted in bright blues, reds and greens.

Santa Claus began walking down an ice road whistling a jaunty tune. Jessie jogged with him looking from side to side. There were lots of people but they looked different from the people of Thunder Bay. They had beautiful faces with rosy cheeks and two different coloured eyes. Their ears were pointy and they were rather small. Jessie was not a small dog but she wasn’t humongous either and the people were only about twice her size.

“The people here are known as Elvin people Jessie,” said Santa Claus. “I found them living in a village south of here when I built my warehouses and workshops here. Their stories say that their ears became more pronounced from listening for the Arctic Hare, Polar Bear and Wolves. They also say that the people had a hard time feeding themselves this far north and they became sickly. I believe that’s why they are so small. Over the past 100 years they have been getting larger with each generation but they still must seem strange to you. They are merry people though Jessie and if you don’t bark at them or chase their pet hares you should become fast friends with them.”

As Santa Claus talked, they reached the centre of the town where a park was laid out. Ice sculptures of animals and children playing surrounded a huge tree made of steel. It was painted green and lit up with thousands of mini LED lights. At the base of the tree was a small house. It was green and had gingerbread on the windows and doors. From a cracked window Jessie could smell the most delicious smell of cookies. She licked her lips and raised her paw to tap Santa Claus’s leg.

Santa Claus laughed a heartily and the door slammed open. From it emerged a blonde haired woman dressed in jeans and a red and green polka-dotted hoodie. She took one look at Santa Claus and frowned.

“Cristopher Cyle Cringle. Where have you been? You were only supposed to drop by Thunder Bay to visit your father for a couple hours. We’ve been swamped with calls from the warehouse in Florida. The hurricane has caused the warehouse to flood. The toys are safe but the workers need to know what you want them to do.” She stopped abruptly when she saw Jessie who had hid behind Santa Claus’s leg when Mrs. C had started berating Santa.

The woman’s face softened and she smiled showing a row of white teeth. “Who is that beautiful creature behind you Santa Claus? Is she going to stay with us? Bring her inside and I’ll get her some food. She must be hungry after your wandering about.”

Jessie wagged her tail and her ears perked up when the woman mentioned food. Santa Claus motioned the dog to go through the open door into the house.

Jessie happily pranced in and took a sugar cookie from the woman. The woman leaned down and began ruffling the dog’s fur, petting her and complimenting her.

Santa Claus cleared his throat. “Now, Molly you know that dad works on plans all year to help us at the plant. I know I’m late getting back but he had some really good ideas. Besides. It’s a good thing I was late or I wouldn’t have found Jessie. She was hot and starving behind the Moose Café. I gave her a meal and asked her if she wanted to come live with us. Don’t be angry Moll.” He lowered his eyes.

Jessie walked up to Molly and licked her hand. Molly looked down and smiled. I see that you’ve already made a friend Christopher. Jessie wants me to forgive you. For her sake I guess I’ll have to. She smiled again. “Jessie, let’s get you settled for the night. It’s already midnight and it’s way past a young dog’s bedtime. I’ve got a warm blanket for you and we’ll put it just out of reach of the fire. You should be warm and toasty there. Tomorrow you can explore the town.

Jessie yawned and then daintily walked over to the blanket. She turned around several times in a circle and then rested her head on a small pillow Molly had left for her. Soon she was snoring and dreaming of sugar cookies and little people dancing under the light of the moon.

December 1st – Jessie finds a home with Santa Claus

Jessie turned her tail towards her body and curled in a ball. She was so hot that she no longer felt the soft snow falling down on her matted fur. She shivered, whimpered and thought back to her old home. The elderly woman she had lived with had been kind to her. She had always had a bed by the fire, fresh bones, and a warm lap to sleep on. When the old woman died suddenly Jessie had wandered into the streets of Thunder Bay looking for a new friend and a cool place to stay.

Jessie had been alone for several month. She had attempted to make friends with some people but had not found a home. Most people had been kind. Some had petted her. Some had given her donuts and meat, but no one had thought to give her shelter. Now that the weather was turning colder it was too cold to live on the street.

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