BETTY STREET: Want the Truth? Ask a child


From the time she was a preteen, our daughter Esther wanted a Great Dane puppy, but don’t ask me why. Everything about Danes is big, from their size to their appetites to cleaning up after them—but she wanted one. Now that she’s on her own and she can afford one, she is ready to fulfill her dream. She will pick up her Great Dane pup in Klamath Falls, Ore., this coming Friday.

She ordered a couple of books for information on the proper way to raise and train a Great Dane. When the books arrived, she excitedly took them to her office to show her colleagues. Esther works for a social services group in Kellogg, Idaho, and she counsels children, some as young as four years old, and teenagers who have been abused. She hears many heartbreaking stories, but occasionally one of her clients will do something totally hilarious and she tells us a little about it.

One of her six-year-old clients saw the Great Dane books and Esther explained that she was getting a dog. Later that same day Esther sent the following text message to Gary and me.

“I just want you to know I got some awesome dog advice from my six-year-old today. She told me what to feed my dog, which is spaghetti, ice cream, cakes, popcorn and dog food. And that for exercise he can jump on the trampoline and use the big girl potty. So I know I got sound advice.”

I laughed so hard I almost cried.

The day following the text message, Esther phoned me and I asked for more details.

The little girl had offered to read the whole book to Esther, who was curious as to how a first-grade reader would handle a comprehensive book on the care and rearing of Great Danes. She said the child climbed into a chair and opened the book to the last page.

Well, duh. Where else do you start to read a book?

The little girl held her finger next to each line on the page to help her not lose her place as she carefully “read” the proper diet and exercise directions for Miss Esther’s new dog.

Then she concluded by telling Miss Esther what to do if the dog runs away. “You drive around the block a couple of times yelling the dog’s name out the window,” she said. “And if he doesn’t come, you give up and go home.”

The end.

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