In Search of Christmas

My newest book is a little story about Leo, Tadd, and Oliver – three will be rescue dogs from Minnesota who were rescued themselves and adopted by Mark and Jenny.

After bringing them home, the dogs were naughty. They were frequently into garbage and damaged small furniture, pillows, and pet toys.  Even when Mark or Jenny stayed home to make certain they had a home to come home to, the dogs still refused to behave. There were many moments Mark and Jenny questioned their decision to adopt.

Everyone survived their first year together and became a family despite the daily challenges. One day, Mark and Jenny met Scott – who specialized in training search and rescue dogs. “Many dogs just need something else to think about than destructive behavior, ” he told Mark and Jenny.

“Can they be trained for something so important?” asked Jenny.

“Any dog can be trained,” Scott said with confidence.

So began training. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver eagerly joined Mark and Jenny, learning new things. They bonded with each other and Mark and Jenny in a touching and new way. Soon Mark and Jenny noticed welcome improvements in the dogs’ behavior. After training and rechanneling their energy, they all came home exhausted, ready to sit by the fire, watch television, and have snacks before bedtime.

Several months after training began, the police chief called Mark and Jenny about a lost little girl. He asked if the dogs were ready to help. “We can see how they do, ” Jenny heard Mark say on the phone.

“While ice skating at an outdoor rink with her family, five year old Katie wandered off into a nearby wooded area. Her parents are frantic and asking for help,” Mark explained to Jenny.

When Mark, Jenny, and the dogs arrived, the dogs were allowed to sniff several pieces of Katie’s clothing. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver immediately began searching. After a couple hours, the dogs brought the little girl out of the woods to her eagerly waiting parents! Great day for everyone.

At home, the proud dogs curled up by the fireplace as Mark and Jenny celebrated Thanksgiving. Mark and Jenny talked as they ate turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Jenny turned to Mark, and in a concerned tone, said, “Mark, I think we have lost Christmas.”

The dogs perked up, ‘Lost Christmas?’ What did Jenny mean? The dogs knew they could find it. They are search and rescue dogs! After all, they found Katie. Leo, Tadd, and Oliver slipped into the bedroom and packed their harnesses full of pet food. They also gathered blankets and supplies to go in search of Christmas for Jenny.

The dogs heard a man on television saying all were welcome to celebrate Christmas in New York City. He went on to talk about a ginormous tree lighting at a center called Rockefeller. Maybe the dogs should look there. So they headed for the train station and rode the rails like hobos for many hours. Soon, they heard the conductor say, “Next stop, New York City!”

The dogs huddled closely together as they made their way from the train station. As they walked the busy streets, they saw decorations everywhere, heard songs playing and happy people talking quickly to each other. Then, they found a little lady sitting on a bench,  crying.

The dogs nuzzled her hand as she clutched a tissue that wiped tears streaming down her face. “Hello, beautiful dogs. I’m Emily,” she said. She showed them a picture of her toy poodle. “I came to New York to see the tree lighting and lost my precious little dog, Tiny.”

Leo, Tadd, and Oliver understood lost things. Tadd went looking for the lost little dog as Leo and Oliver sat close to Emily. It didn’t take long for Tadd to return, pushing through the mob of people everywhere. Emily shouted with excitement as Tadd appeared – carrying Tiny. Her sad tears turned to tears of joy!!

After finding Tiny, Emily said, “How about we watch the tree lighting together?” And they did. The dogs never saw such a big tree and so many lights! What a sight for them.

After, Emily said, “You have to come home with me, boys. It’s too cold out here for you. I have to feed you and let you rest. You will like it at home with me and Tiny.”  And so they all went to Emily’s home.

The dogs found their usual places by Emily’s fireplace. This time, they had a fourth dog as Tiny curled up next to them. That evening, Emily’s neighbors visited with presents, cookies, and holiday decorations to share with Emily. She had great friends who remembered her.

Tune in next week for Leo’s, Tadd’s, and Oliver’s continued adventures In Search of Christmas.



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