One sunny June afternoon, Mrs. Claus and the elves were in the kitchen making suet treats for the reindeer, when she looked up and said wistfully, "I think I would like to see the pets at the Nebraska Humane Society."

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"Nebraska?" asked Santa from behind his Saturday Evening Post. "Well, let's go then!" They finished the treats together and prepared the sleigh. The reindeer were excited for an off-season trip.

A few moments later, the sleigh gently touched down in a field near the Nebraska Humane Society.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus went inside. Even dressed in summer clothes, all of the children recognized them.

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Together with the crowd of children, they went around to greet all of the pets. The most wonderful of all was a beautiful cream colored Doodle who cocked his head and smiled warmly at them all. " I would call you Cecil," Mrs. Claus said softly.

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As evening approached, the children were called one by one to leave with their families. Santa went out to prepare the sleigh and the reindeer for their trip home.

Mrs. Claus paused again in front of Cecil. He put his paw up on the gate and she put her hand on his paw. She turned to walk toward the exit. She came back to Cecil.

Santa was waiting with the sleigh and the reindeer, but Mrs. Claus knew he wouldn't mind if she took a few minutes to clear her head.

Summer was busy enough. Imagine having a dog to care for at Christmas time! Mrs. Claus was not sure the timing was right for a new dog. But if not now, when?

"Are you coming, Dear?" Santa texted.

"I really love this dog, Dear. What should we do?" Mrs. Claus texted back.

Santa knew just what to do. He kneeled next to the sleigh and began to pray. The reindeer took a knee and prayed too.

Inside, Mrs. Claus also prayed. "God, I just need a sign!" she said.

Mrs. Claus walked into Animal Outfitters, the pet supply shop of the Nebraska Humane Society, still praying. She came to the leashes. "We don't need a leash. We don't have a dog," she thought sadly.

Then, there it was. The most beautiful leash Mrs. Claus had ever seen. Among all the summery designs that June evening was a wonderous Christmas leash. It was Christmas tree green with running dogs wearing Santa hats. It was the only Christmas leash. It was the only one of its kind. A sign! The sign! Mrs. Claus laughed and texted Santa, "please come back!"

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They applied to adopt Cecil. They were, of course, approved. They bought the leash. They left together even happier than they had been before.

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And they are all still living happily together today.

-The End-