Title: Lester the Dog Likes Treats

Date Occurred: Various dates including Saturday, November 30, 2019 and Sunday, December 1, 2019

Date Written: Sunday, December 1, 2019

Written By: Joel Kant


Some years ago, my daughter Carol wanted a dog. She did the begging a little girl does that usually would get her way. However, it did not work this time because my wife Holly had a cautious approach. A neighbor two houses from us had and still has a small black dog name Lester. Holly talked to Lester's owner, then got a bag of doggie treats for Holly to give to Lester. Holly would then go to visit Lester the Dog. Using positive reinforcement with the treats as a reward and with the permission of the owner, Holly got Lester to do simple tricks like roll over, bark at the word, "Speak," and shake a paw to a human's hand reliably.

Despite this success, after about a month had passed, Holly lost interest in training Lester to do any more tricks. That brought to an end her saying she wanted a dog.

In the years since, I would sometimes talk to Lester's owner as Lester was being walked. Whatever I really talked to the owner about, when I saw Carol after those visits, I would tell Carol that Lester had asked, "What happened to that girl who used to come by to teach me tricks and give me treats?"

Not amused, Carol invariably answered, "Dogs can't talk."

Lester is still around, healthy but not nearly the young dog that he used to be. Holly claims Lester is by far the most walked dog in the neighborhood. Without fail, Lester and his human owner go on their daily walk around the block or further.

Earlier this year during nice weather when I was outside on a Sunday afternoon, I saw Lester being walked. I went out to talk with Lester's owner. I mentioned that I had been to church earlier that morning. There had been dogs, cats, and even goldfish in a bowl brought to the service. Kids handled most of the animals, one dog about as big as the kid holding the leash so much bigger than Lester. To not feel left out, some other kids had brought stuffed toy animals instead. Katie was by this point much too old for that kind of thing, just watching from the sidelines.

Lester's owner caught on immediately that this was the annual blessing of the animals.

He explained, "Lester's not a Christian dog. He's going to doggie hell when he dies."

Yesterday was Saturday, November 30. Holly went shopping at various stores, getting some of her holiday buying done.

When Holly got home, she mentioned to me, "I saw something cute at Just-A-Buck. It was an Advent Calendar for Dogs."

Every year, Holly sets up a homemade Advent Calendar for Carol. It hangs on the wall. Many small metal cans are attached to a board. One can represents one day. One can is opened each day until Christmas. In each, Holly puts in a small piece of chocolate for Carol to eat. This is up on the wall right now as I type this.

There are cardboard versions of Advent Calendars for sale at many stores. My own parents would put these cardboard ones up when I was a kid. However, the chocolate in those is often of low quality. The way Holly does it, the chocolate is of higher quality. It is Lindt chocolate this year.

I would have thought Carol would have outgrown chocolate pieces in an Advent Calendar years ago, but it has become a tradition.

All the Advent Calendars that I had ever seen in my life had been for human children. It had never occurred to me until Holly had mentioned it yesterday that such things were made for pets.

About the Advent Calendar for dogs that Holly told me about, I asked, "What's in it? After all, chocolate is bad for dogs."

Holly answered, "Doggie biscuits."

We took two cars to church this Sunday morning. I went an hour and a half early to run my bible study. Neither Holly nor Carol wants to attend that. Holly came in her own car, bringing Carol along with her for the service itself that started at 10:20 am. After the service, Holly told me Carol was riding back with me so Holly could go directly from church to do grocery shopping.

As I drove home, Carol and I were going by Just-A-Buck, where every item is a dollar.

I suggested, "As a gag gift, let's go buy Lester that Advent Calendar for Dogs."

Carol said, "Okay."

After parking and going into the store, Carol found a display that had two Advent Calendars for Cats. The packaging explained a cat treat was behind each paper door. However, we could not find anything similar for dogs.

I found an employee and asked, "Do you have Advent Calendars for Dogs like you have for cats?"

He replied, "We did yesterday. We had just gotten them in. They entirely sold out in less than a day."

Carol and I left the store. Back in the car before even getting home, Carol had looked on the internet with her iPhone. She mentioned an actual pet store had Advent Calendars for Dogs.

However, then with disappointment, she informed me, "They cost fifteen bucks."

I replied, "That's about fourteen bucks more than I want to pay for a gag gift."

Carol reasonably replied, "I doubt a dog can learn the real meaning of Christmas anyway."

This evening, I saw Lester out getting his daily walk. I put on shoes and hurried out.

I told Lester's owner about the attempt to get the gag gift. He agreed it would be funny as a joke. I then mentioned the fifteen dollar one that Carol found that.

He said, "If you had paid that much, the joke would have been on you!"

Lester on his long leash seemed able to tell we were talking about him. He came over, looked up at me, and did that cute dog head-tilt thing. It was as if as if Lester was wishing I had gotten him the treats. Lester's owner gave a gentle tug on the leash. The two of them continued on their walk around the block as I headed back into our house.


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