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Charles the Clown Story Time

Danielle, The Girl Who Dreamed She Was a Dog Trainer
By Charles Kraus

   Danielle kissed her dad good night, hopped into bed and snuggled next to Herman The Toy Frog.  She closed her eyes and drifted off to dreamland.

   In dreamland, Danielle was a dog trainer.  People would visit her in her dog training shop and ask her to help their dogs learn tricks.  To sit, to stay, to fetch.

   One day, a man in a wheelchair came into her shop.   His dog, a very exited golden retriever, was with him.  The dog found Danielles shop very exciting.  His nose knew that many dogs had visited.  He raced around the room, stopping wherever he found something interesting to smell. 

   Would you like me to teach your dog how to roll over?  Danielle asked.


   No thanks said the man.


   How to hold out his paw for a shake?


   I don’t think so.  I was wondering if you could teach my dog to read.


   To read? 

That sounded very strange to Danielle.  Shed  never met a dog who could do that.

   Sometimes, when I'm in my wheelchair, I hold my dogs leash and he pulls me down the street.  Its very helpful.  But he never reads the cross walk signs that tell him when to go and when to wait.

   The man left his dog with Danielle and said hed be back at 4:30. 

Danielle looked at the retrievers dog tag.  His name, Gabby, was engraved in large letters.

   OK Gabby, Danielle said.  Come with me.

   She walked Gabby out the door, down the street and to the corner.  Cars and trucks and buses zoomed along the road.

   Danielle studied the traffic light and the walk/dont walk sign.  Looking at them gave her an idea.  Returning to her shop, she pulled two poster boards from her supply shelf.  One was red the other was green.  Red is at the top of the traffic light.  Green is at the bottom.

When its lit up on top, you have to stop.  When its lit up below, you get to go. She explained to the dog.

   Gabby looked puzzled. 

   Danielle drew a fence on the red poster.  Next, she drew a cat on the green poster.

   Gabby, when you see a fence, you STOP.   And when you see a cat, you GO after it.

That made more sense to the dog.

Danielle walked Gabby around the room and each time they reached the red poster board with the fence on it, she pulled his leash and told Gabby to sit.

Danielle placed the green poster over the red poster board.

   Oh look, a cat! she said to Gabby, trying to sound excited.  She lowered the green board to the ground and threw a treat just just past it. 

   OK! she said, and helped Gabby race to the treat.

Pretty soon, Gabby understood that he needed to stop when he saw the red, and go when he saw the green.

   Good Dog, Danielle told him.

At 4:30, the man in the wheelchair returned.

   Any luck teaching Gabby to read,? he asked.

Danielle and Gabby showed the man what theyd been up to.

   Wonderful, the man said, taking hold the leash.  Thank you for helping my dog learn to read traffic lights. 

Danielle had done enough dog training for the day.  She put away the poster boards, closed up her shop and went home.  She told her mom and dad about Gabby.  After supper, Danielle got ready for bed and snuggled with Herman The Toy Frog.   Her mom read Danielle’s favorite story, the one about Clifford the Big Red Dog. 

   Danielle still felt sleepy when she opened her eyes the next morning.  There was the Clifford book next to the pillow.  Danielle look at the book very carefully.  She had a great surprise: Clifford the Big Red Dog had turned into Clifford the Big Green Dog!  Now how could that have happened?