As Ms. Claus turned to shut the door to the mail room, she heard Lyra calling from the end of the hallway, “Ms. Claus, Ms. Claus…. so glad you haven’t left yet.” Finally catching up to Anya, she gasped, “I really need…. to talk to you.”
“Slow down Lyra,” Ms. Claus said. “What seems to be the problem?”
“The dogs,” she said after catching her breath. “Crosley doesn’t look so good, and I’m not sure about Mattie.”
Knowing how much Lyra loved her dogs, Ms. Claus opened the door to the mailroom. “Have a seat and tell me what the problem is. If it’s that bad, we need to call Santa and….”
“No!” Lyra exclaimed. “He’ll think I didn’t take care of them like before when I…”
“Lyra, he won’t because you came to me,” Ms. Claus stated. “Now, what is it?!”
“The dogs and I were taking a break in the Common Room by the fireplace when one of the elves asked me to come into the hallway to help her move a box, so I did. I wasn’t gone long, but when I got back, I could tell that Crosley had eaten something. Since I couldn’t see any left-over food or packaging, I sat down by the fireplace and relaxed. Both dogs were lying down, but about 30 minutes later, Crosley started to get sick. I cleaned up the mess and ran to find you. Something is terribly wrong,” she cried, anxiously rubbing her hands.
“Humm….” Reaching for the intercom, Ms. Claus called Vetter and asked her to meet them in the Common Room. “This sounds serious.”
“But Vetter takes care of the reindeer. What does she know about dogs?”
“Lyra, she is a veterinarian and knows animals. Let’s hurry so that we can meet her.”
Shortly after we arrived at the Common Room, Vetter came in with one of her assistants. Going immediately to Crosley, she examined his eyes, mouth, and listened to his heart. Then she turned to Mattie and did the same routine. Standing up, Vetter looked at Lyra and shook her head. “I’m glad you called me when you did. Crosley is definitely sick, but I think Mattie is fine. I sent my assistant to get a transport for both dogs so that they can be examined in my office.”
Within five minutes a team of elves arrived and lifted both dogs into an animal transport. After they left, Vetter turned to face Lyra. “You do know that dogs should not eat chocolate, right?”
“Of course I do,” responded Lyra giving Vetter a strange look. “Santa told me that if he allowed me to keep the dogs, I’d have to learn how to take care of them and I have.”
After Vetter listened, she patted Lyra’s hand. “Crosley’s breath had a sweet scent, and I think he might have eaten some chocolate, which you know can be deadly to dogs. It would help to know what he ate and how much. Can you try to find out for me?”
Lyra nodded her head sadly as Ms. Claus thanked Vetter.
Sitting down on the sofa, Lyra began to cry. “It’s my fault, just like before. But this time, Crosley is really sick, and I’m afraid he will die. What am I going to do?”
Slipping her arm over Lyra’s shoulders, Ms. Claus pulled the elf closer and let her cry. When the tears ended, Ms. Claus explained, “Remember, you were helping another elf, and we know Crosley’s reputation for getting into everything.”
Lyra blew her nose and then whispered, “Thanks Ms. Claus. I thought you might be mad at me for what happened.”
Taking the young elf’s face in her hand, Ms. Claus smiled. “Lyra, sometimes accidents happen. It’s what we do afterwards that makes a difference. So, what do you say we solve this mystery?”
Lyra looked around the room and said, “I guess we need to start here where I left the dogs.”
“I agree. You examine the back of the room; I’ll investigate the front.”
While inspecting the room, a few elves walked in and took seats close to the fireplace in the back. Ms. Claus heard them as they began to grumble.
“I thought you said that Doheny left chocolate fudge out for all of us by the fireplace,” remarked one elf, “but all I see is an empty platter.”
Walking toward them, Ms. Claus asked, “Did you say that Doheny left fudge out for a snack?”
As they nodded in agreement, Crystal spoke up hesitantly, “Sorry Ms. Claus, we didn’t see you in the corner.”
“That’s OK. I was looking for something, but I think you may have given me the answer. How much fudge did she leave out?”
“Well…. she made three large pans of her famous chocolate fudge this morning,” explained Crystal, “and I saw her bring a platter of it into this room and set it by the fireplace.”
“Is something wrong Ms. Claus?” asked TuTu.
Lyra had quickly walked up from the back of the room as soon as she heard the word chocolate. “That’s got to be it Ms. Claus because I was here around 11:00 with the dogs when one of the elves asked me to help move some boxes.”
“What happened?!” exclaimed the four elves in unison.
“Seems as if Crosley, one of Lyra’s dogs, ate the fudge before anyone could taste it,” explained Ms. Claus shaking her head, “and now he’s quite sick. Vetter is examining him in her office now. Thanks Crystal. I think she’ll want to know what you told me. Got to run.”
As Ms. Claus quickly caught up with Lyra, both of them ran toward Vetter’s office. By the time they arrived, Vetter had walked out of the examination room. “Well, you two were quick. What did you discover?” she asked taking a seat behind her desk.
Lyra quickly spoke up and shared Crystal’s information. By the time she had finished, tears were streaming down her face. “Will Crosley be OK?” she sobbed.
Again Ms. Claus put her arm around Lyra trying to comfort the elf.
“Crosley will recover,” stated Vetter. “Though chocolate can hurt and even kill a dog, we found out quickly what he ate. Now I know how to treat him. Imagine that, a whole platter of Doheny’s fudge. I don’t think any of us at the North Pole will forget this story,” she chuckled.
By this time Lyra began to calm down. “I’m so relieved,” she said, “but when can I see him?”
“We had to sedate Crosley so that we can pump his stomach and get rid of all that chocolate fudge,” explained Vetter. “Then we’ll give him the medicine he needs. Though Mattie is not showing any signs of being sick, we’ll keep both dogs overnight for observation.”
“Thanks Vetter,” Lyra said. “I appreciate everything you have done.”
“Relax Lyra, both dogs will be fine. Come back in the morning. They’ll be anxious to see you. In the meantime,” she said chuckling, “we need to remind all elves to keep snacks, especially chocolate, up high enough so that Crosley and Mattie don’t take anymore samples.”
As Ms. Claus and Lyra exited Vetter’s office, they walked calmly down the hallway. Finally, Lyra spoke up. “I guess I’ll have to tell Santa.”
Ms. Claus grinned. “I’m sure Santa already knows. News travels quickly at the North Pole.”
“I know he’ll be so disappointed in me and….”
Before Lyra finished, Ms. Claus broke in. “Not this time. The misadventures of your dogs had nothing to do with you. They brought this on all by themselves.”
As both began to laugh, Lyra turned and gave Ms. Claus a hug, “Thanks so much for helping me,” she whispered, “I don’t know what I would have done without your calm nature.”
“I’m always here when you need me. Now go find Santa,” Ms. Claus stated giving Lyra a playful push. “I’m pretty sure he would appreciate hearing your version of the misadventures of Crosley and Mattie.”
To read more about Lyra’s dogs please check out: New North Pole Residents, which was posted on March 9, 2020
To read more about Lyra please check out: How Rudolph Got His Red Nose, which was posted on September 2, 2019; Flying High, which was posted on July 29, 2019; and The Lost Elves, which was posted on February 3, 2020;
To read more about Vetter please check out: Virus Threatens Santa’s Reindeer, which was posted on March 30, 2020
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one next Monday. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until next week . . .
Illustration by FireMane Studio